Let’s say 80% of your sales or more are on one channel. You could be leaving money on the table, especially during the busy holiday shopping season.
To maximize sales during peak season, you need to make sure your products are available where your customers are already shopping.
Yet many retailers don’t take advantage of selling on multiple platforms and miss out on opportunities as a result.
The key is to establish a multi-sales channel strategy, where you might be selling on your own website, brick-and-mortar shop(s), Amazon, Walmart, eBay, Etsy, Instagram, and more.
In this post, we'll take a closer look at what to consider when expanding the channels you sell on, along with how to maximize sales.
Why should you consider expanding to multiple channels?
Having a presence on multiple channels will make it easier for your business to be seen and for customers to buy from you. That said, there also are some challenges to consider as well before getting started.
Benefits of Expanding to Multiple Channels
1. Increased reach to new markets and potential customers
Selling on multiple channels allows your business to increase your customer reach and exposure by building your presence across platforms. This strategy can help significantly grow your revenue as well as build brand awareness.
2. Diversify and minimize risk
Having a presence across multiple sales channels can be a form of protection for your business.
Let’s take an example. You run a shoe company, and you currently sell through a brick-and-mortar shop in Chicago, your own website, Amazon, and Walmart. Retail sales have plummeted since the early days of the pandemic. However, let’s say your sales through your website and Amazon have increased by 200%. Because your business is diversified across multiple channels, you are able to absorb the losses from your retail store.
Challenges of expanding to multiple channels
While being on multiple channels has clear benefits, there are challenges to consider when setting up your strategy.
1. Identifying the right channels for your business
Not every sales channel will be right for you. When expanding into multiple platforms, you’ll want to select the sites strategically. For instance, if you don’t sell handcrafted goods, online stores like Etsy aren’t the right place for you.
When deciding which sales platforms to join, consider what type of place your ideal audience will likely search and buy. For example, if you sell luxury fashion accessories and never offer discounts, you might want to avoid being on Amazon since most shoppers on Amazon are looking for convenience and discounts (i.e. lower prices). Having your luxury accessories on Amazon could hurt your brand’s reputation and open your brand up to more knock-offs.
The more you know your customers and their buying habits, the easier it is to select the right channels for your business.
2. Consider platform fees, rules, and requirements
Each platform has its own requirements for what you can and cannot list. You also need to consider any channel-specific fees as well as customer service and shipping requirements if your business model can support it.
However, if you’re selecting the right channels for your business, the benefit of reaching more customers will likely outweigh the costs of selling on multiple platforms.
3. Managing inventory and orders across multiple channels
Inventory management is critical, especially when selling across multiple platforms. You’ll need to ensure you have enough of your products to fulfill your holiday sales across the different channels.
Additionally, you’ll need to consider that not every product will sell at the same rate on your different sales platforms. You’ll need to consider this when determining forecasts per sales site.
4. Keeping up with orders across multiple channels
In addition to increased inventory management, selling across multiple platforms during the holidays will require streamlined order management processes.
When you have orders coming from multiple channels, you need to have inventory and order management software, such as Linnworks, that allows you to see and manage all of your orders in one place. It can also help you save time, reduce errors, and allow you to provide a more streamlined workflow.
You may also need to hire and train more customer service staff to handle additional questions that come with expanding the channels you are selling on.
How to Maximize Each Channel You Sell On
Once you’ve determined which sites to use and how many, you’ll want to maximize how you use each channel to help boost your holiday sales.
1. Create a specific strategy for each sales platform
Customers shop differently on different sales channels. The more you understand what customers are looking for across the various sites and what information they need from you in order to click the buy button, the more successful your multichannel sales approach will be.
When examining sales sites, you’ll want to analyze each sales platform separately and set up a unique strategy for each one. For instance, you’ll want to ensure you’ve optimized your listings, addressed any barriers, have a customer service plan, and more.
2. Plan your holiday marketing campaigns in advance
Many ecommerce brands start their holiday marketing campaigns too late. The best time to start planning and strategizing is in the summer months.
For example, creating unique holiday-specific deals and offers across all of the platforms you sell on can go a long way. This approach can get shoppers in the holiday spirit and clarifies what you’re offering for the holiday season. It also can make it easier for your potential customers to shop since all the information they need will be in that one place.
3. Optimize your presence on each marketplace to maximize sales
The more you understand how to optimize your sales on each platform, the more successful you’ll be. To do this, you’ll need to test, tweak, and optimize to discover how to maximize your sales.
Getting quantitative data and feedback from your current customer base can help you identify what helps customers decide to buy from you on different platforms. Keep in mind that what works on one platform may not be as successful on another. That’s why you’ll need to test and tweak during this process.
To help gather user testing information, you can email surveys to your current customers and use social media.
Developing a multiple channel plan early can help you boost your holiday sales. There are ample opportunities to expand into multiple sales platforms. While there are many benefits to this strategy, it’s also important to consider the challenges before adding on additional channels.
Developing a strategic plan is critical. You’ll want to take time to ensure you’re adding the right sales channels and that you’re optimizing your presence on each one to help maximize your holiday sales.
This article was contributed by Americaneagle.com partner, Linnworks. To learn more Download The Linnworks Total Commerce Guide to Growth