Multi-channel eCommerce has been around for a number of years and now in 2021 it is arguably more important than ever before.
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Some business advisers are quite adamant that the best way to success is to do one channel and focus all of your energy on to that one channel. This advice might work for luxury or established brands but for the majority of small to medium sized businesses this is not often a sensible option in eCommerce.
In this article we will take a look at why even still in 2021 having a multi-channel eCommerce strategy is important for your business. The most obvious channels when it comes to eCommerce are the marketplaces Amazon and eBay. However these points still apply for whichever sales channels are relevant to your business.
Multi-Channel eCommerce Audience
Perhaps the most obvious benefit to selling on multiple channels is the increased amount of customer eyeballs on your product. Amazon.com is averaging around 2.5 billion visits a month and ebay.com is averaging over 900 million visits a month. No feasible amount of marketing spend to your own website is going to generate that potential for eyeballs.
Now whilst obviously not all of those visits are going to be looking for your products, the fact remains that Amazon is now the leading shopping search engine in the world, and if you are not on the Amazon or eBay marketplace you are missing out on sales.
Diversify Business Risk
An often overlooked benefit of taking your business to multiple channels is the security it provides to the business as a whole.
The best way to think of this, is if you imagined your business as a whole represented by a pie, and the various channels being slices of that pie. If your business only sells on eBay for example, then the whole of your pie is relying on eBay.
The problem with that is that eBay (or any other marketplace) can change their policies with very little notice. Similarly you can end up with listings getting removed or even accounts being suspended. Recently eBay starting pulling down listings of Dr Seuss books from their marketplace with no notice to sellers, which highlights this issue exactly.
The more slices of pie you have in your business, the more protected your entire business is from a problem on one of the sales channels you sell on.
Speed To Market
Starting a business and building a website is relatively easy in the 21st century. Driving traffic and sales to that business and website is something else entirely. The old saying of “Build it and they will come” does not apply to eCommerce websites. It is a crowded space with increasing amounts of competition and in order to get noticed most businesses are going to need to have a considerable marketing budget to get started.
This is where having a multi-channel eCommerce setup can really help speed things up in your business.
Getting setup on the eCommerce marketplaces is a very quick way to get your product to market and effectively you are borrowing someone else’s audience. The beauty of this is to an new business the costs to get started can be incredibly low, and in most cases you only pay fees once your product has sold.
Compared to starting on your own website where your marketing spend is dedicated to traffic with no guarantee of a sale. You can then use the profits from your marketplace sales to drive the marketing to your website, again leaving less risk to the business financially.
Building a Brand
Finally having a true multi-channel eCommerce strategy can have the side benefit of helping you establish your brand. Whether you have branded products or you are just a retailer, having clear branding throughout the web on multiple channels can have numerous benefits.
Primarily as we covered first, by having a multi-channel presence you are going to have more eyes not only on your products, but also your logo. The more often shoppers see your branding the more they are likely to build a trust with the brand and the more your name is going to be remembered by them.
Secondly the more presence you have on the internet, the larger you appear to your customer which not only builds more trust and reputation to a brand but also encourages them to want to get to know you better, especially if they have had a positive experience with you elsewhere online.
As an eCommerce seller in 2021, you have never had a wider choice of sales channels open to you, and never before has their been more of an audience shopping online than there is right now.
Embracing a multi-channel eCommerce strategy is what the smart businesses have been doing for years and are continuing to do into 2021 and beyond.
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