Thursday, October 24, 2013

4 Reasons Why You Should Go Multi-Channel Right Now!

We’ve written before about the importance of inventory to an eCommerce business. Simply put, it’s everything. If you have exclusive rights to a product offering or are the manufacturer of a brand that customers want, you have a MAJOR advantage in where and how you sell your wares, and for what price.

However, if you are like the vast majority of sellers out there (including us!) earning your living by negotiating great deals on products that other sellers may also carry, getting in front of customers wherever they shop is the key to growing your sales and your business.

In order to do this in today’s retail environment, you need to go multi-channel. Amazon, eBay, Rakuten, Newegg, and Sears are some of the largest shopping destinations in the U.S., and all of them offer a platform for sellers to list and sell their products. But what most sellers don’t realize is that they all offer something different, including perhaps most importantly, different customers!

It doesn’t have to be complicated, and it won’t cost you anything to get started. At the end of this article we’re going to give you a few tips on how to make it easy for your business to thrive on multiple sales channels.

First, let’s look at 4 reasons why you need to be selling on these channels:

1. Increase Sales

The main benefit of selling on a marketplace is obvious: built-in traffic. But did you know that this traffic is often unique to a particular marketplace? Every customer’s buying habits are a little different, and many prefer the comfort of shopping from a destination they trust, have an account with, or grew up with (looking at you, Sears!). Listing your products on multiple channels can get you exposure to customers you otherwise wouldn’t find. In addition, shopping behavior varies by channel, with some marketplaces like Amazon and Sears producing, on average, a higher number of items per order than others.

The plain truth is having your product in more places yields more sales. That’s the single biggest reason the number of sellers going multi-channel is on the rise.

2. Stay Competitive

If you are not listing your product on a channel where your customer might be shopping, you will miss out on a sale. What’s worse, your competitor may well get the sale that was waiting for you. Naturally, the early adopters of a new sales channel get to enjoy less competition until more sellers show up. It’s still early in the world of ecommerce marketplaces -- be the early bird that gets the sale.

3. Reduce Risk

Every channel is a little different. Fluctuations in traffic, changes to site layout, and/or seasonal merchandising focus can all invariably influence your business. You don’t put all your eggs in one basket (right?), so don’t put all your products on one channel!

In addition, market saturation on your particular product line can also lead to a decrease in sales and/or margins from what was once a profitable channel. Reduce your risk and diversify your channel strategy, and you may find you can actually keep prices higher and improve margins across the board.

4. Improve Inventory Turns

The best part of finding new customers is that you’ve found new avenues for your product line. For a seller with a wide breadth of items (or with seasonal merchandise), finding a home for the slow movers (or last season’s models) can put a strain on resources. Sellers with more outlets for product can improve the turns on their inventory and put that cash back to work for them.

So now that you've seen the value of listing product on these channels, let's take a look at a few tips on how to simplify your multi-channel expansion:

Use Fulfillment by Amazon to simplify your logistics and take the pain out of customer service. You can create a shipment of inventory to Amazon right from within your Seller Central dashboard and Amazon will generate your inbound shipping label. Once they receive your products, you’ve got Amazon fulfilling orders with its award-winning customer service and shipping management.

Automate your multi-channel fulfillment from eBay, Rakuten, Sears, or Newegg with AutoMCF. Any orders you get on these channels will automatically be sent to Amazon for shipment, so you never have to worry about manually entering orders or logging in to each system. Even more, tracking information gets updated on the order when it ships from Amazon, and inventory quantities will adjust across all of your listings for each product, which greatly reduces the chance of overselling! AutoMCF will help you increase your sales in a smart, scalable way.

Capture customer emails in one place with ReplyManager! Any product that frees up time to let us run our business is invaluable in our book. If you haven’t yet tried ReplyManager, give it a shot. They offer a 15-day free trial!


Mike Ugino is the co-founder of Sellbrite, the company that developed AutoMCF. For a better idea of how AutoMCF can help you grow sales, check out their recent case study.