Looking back at the last decade, the eCommerce industry has changed drastically.
Just a few years ago, websites were the primary sales channel for online merchants. Today, they have expanded horizons to new mediums and are generating revenue from both their online stores and marketplaces.
Multichannel retail is a very competitive industry that requires serious endeavor to at least have a chance to prosper there. Still, the benefits it is offering are far too persuasive, making more and more sellers move to multichannel retail. While many try and succeed, no less fail to get high results.
If you don’t want to leave a chance to such instances, this article will guide you through the main steps of creating a successful multichannel selling business. You will learn which challenges will lie in wait for you along the way, how to circumvent them, and which tools you should equip yourself with to have a real winning chance.
Let’s dive right in!
Why You Should Consider Multichannel eCommerce
The power of multichannel for eCommerce should not be underestimated.
Despite the dearest desires of retail merchants, when customers want to buy something, they do not go to online stores. Instead, marketplaces become their destination. Nearly 46,7% of all product searches start on marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and others. It speaks volumes about the importance of offering products on all these channels.
Further still, the growing interest in marketplaces is caused by another critical factor – customer trust. When buying online, the vast majority of customers don’t trust independent sellers. However, the situation changes if these merchants are offering products on popular marketplaces. Almost 65% of customers feel more comfortable buying from unfamiliar sellers on marketplaces. Thus, placing products on such platforms increases the chances of getting new customers and turning them into loyal ones.
eCommerce businesses should not ignore the need to expand to new sales channels. The decision to stay on their website will catch up on their revenue and ability to compete against other retailers. Today, online stores have become only a small part of a huge puzzle named multichannel eCommerce.
Choosing Between Marketplaces
With over a hundred marketplaces, deciding where to list your products is a tough task. Whether you will make the right decision influences the whole business. Selecting the wrong marketplace will result in time and resources waste. Hence, it is crucial to choose wisely.
This chapter will help you decide which marketplaces will be the best fit for your eCommerce business. Let’s jump into the overview of Amazon, eBay, Walmart, and Etsy, and comparison of their features and intended purpose.
Amazon is the leader of retail. Being the biggest marketplace in the USA and one of the most prominent worldwide, it grabs 49% of marketplace share on its native soil. If we look at the worldwide sales, almost 5% of all them accrue to the marketplace. With over 20 million monthly visitors and 20+ product categories, Amazon offers a lot of opportunities for online merchants who are looking for new sales channels.
The reasons to choose the marketplaces are numerous:
- Being a highly recognized retail name, Amazon makes customers feel more relaxed when making purchases from sellers they do not know.
- Amazon has its own search engine and, if you know how to optimize your product listings, it increases the chances of them showing up at top positions in search results. Moreover, Amazon listings often show up at top spots in Google search results.
- Amazon is even great for merchants who don’t want to deal with warehousing, packaging, and shipping. Amazon FBA takes care of all the above tasks. You only need to ship products to the Amazon warehouse, and the marketplaces will take care of its storage, shipping, customer service, returns, and much more.
Amazon is the most suitable marketplace to sell such products as apparel and accessories, cosmetics, electronics, home and garden décor, kid toys, and pet items. At the same time, the platform is a highly competitive place for sellers, as there are 2.5 million merchants there. Amazon also sells its products, so you need to compete against both other merchants and Amazon itself.
Fees are another important factor to consider when choosing marketplaces. Amazon chargers merchants with a few types of fees. If you decide to use an Individual Seller Account, you will need to pay for each item sold, from 5% and up to 45% depending on product category, and $0.99 for each sale transaction.
Professional Seller account has a monthly subscription fee of $39.99. It is great for small and medium businesses. Also, some additional product categories are only available for professional sellers.
eBay became popular thanks to its auctions with the bidding feature. Over the years, it grew to be one of the most popular marketplaces among customers. Today, the number of active quarterly customers has reached 180+ million.
The marketplace went viral among customers thanks to the diversity of listed products. You can find there anything – from rare collectibles to vintage cars and even yachts. And these are just a part of the benefits that the marketplace is offering:
- eBay does not limit merchants on what they are allowed to sell. You can choose to offer brand new and used products, e.g., something that you no longer need or some unique items. If you are not sure about the price of an item, you can opt into the auction features and wait for customers to offer their prices.
- eBay’s global shipping program allows merchants to operate worldwide while not having to deal with the international delivery ordeal.
- You can set up an account and start selling on eBay in mere minutes. Built-in tools help to manage orders and stock.
Just like any other marketplace nowadays, eBay is a crowded platform, which makes it challenging for sellers to prosper there. It is an ideal place to offer vintage collectibles, rare books, paintings, and everything that falls into the category of unique items.
eBay charges sellers for each product insertion and for insertion into each product category. Based on the seller account (Starter, Basic, Premium, Anchor), the amount to pay varies from 10 to 25 cents. Each account has standart number of fixed price listings, from 250 to 10.000 listings for standart listings and 200 to 1.000 for auction-style insertions. Sellers also pay a final value fee for each product sold, which varies from 0% to 12%.
When it comes to the biggest online retailers in the USA, Walmart is in second place, right after Amazon.
Walmart marketplace is frequented by 100+ million monthly users. Unlike other platforms, this marketplace is very picky about who is allowed to sell. Every merchant undergoes an examination, after which Walmart shares its verdict. Still, with 35+ product categories and millions of customers, it is worth trying your luck to become a seller there. Here are a few more reasons to consider it:
- As a seller, you don’t need to pay a subscription fee. Walmart only charges a referral fee from 6% to 20%, depending on the product category.
- Walmart is not so crowded as other marketplaces, making it easier for merchants to compete against each other.
- A dedicated mobile app allows you to participate in mCommerce, which is especially important today as 49% of customers use mobile phones for shopping.
Office supplies, gadgets, home, and kid items have the highest chance of being successful on Walmart and generate a lot of sales. If you are dealing with these types of products, consider this marketplace.
As Walmart strives to offer the lowest prices, it controls merchants so that they won’t offer lower prices on other marketplaces. If you are found guilty, Walmart can apply penalties or even ban an account.
Unlike some other marketplaces, Walmart does not charge merchants for setting up an account. The only fee paid is the referral fee, which varies from 6% to 20% depending on the product category.
Etsy is another prominent marketplace with 45.7 million active buyers worldwide. The platform is a great place to sell handmade products, vintage items, and craft supplies. If you are dealing with such products, Etsy will become the best place to sell them. In addition, the marketplace offers other benefits:
- Etsy has a lot of dedicated customers who go there in search of unique items. Becoming its seller, you automatically get access to the vast customer base.
- By optimizing product listings’ names and descriptions, it is possible to increase the chances of getting them to first places in search results. SEO works miracles on Etsy.
- The marketplace offers a user-friendly system and allows creating your stores within it with a high level of customization. You can add your brand logos, banners, use brand colors to maintain style consistency across all sales channels.
You can find many product categories on Etsy. Still, some of them sell better than the others. These include jewelry, home accessories, kid toys, and closing.
Etsy is a fee-intensive platform with the listing fee for each product being $0.20 USD. There is also a transaction fee of 5% from the total product price and payment processing fees, which is 3% of the product total price and 25 cents.
When you are trying to choose the marketplace for your business extension, don’t limit yourself with a single choice. Based on the products you sell, you can select a few or even all of the above.
How to Sell on All Marketplaces Simultaneously
After you decide to sell your products on multiple marketplaces and engage in multichannel selling, you will need to take care of product listings and orders. On average, the creation of a single listing takes 15 minutes. If we talk about dozens of products, you will have to spend hundreds of hours adding them to different marketplaces. The only thought about it might be discouraging to pursue the idea of multichannel selling.
Luckily, you can automate your work with a single platform – Sellbery. The solution uploads listings to marketplaces, social media channels, and Google Shopping and keeps the data across channels in sync. Sellbery updates data every 15 minutes so that if someone buys the last item in stock on Amazon, the product will become out of stock across all sales channels. This way, you will avoid penalties for stock shortage and unsatisfied customers.
Benefits you get with Sellbery:
- 16 integrations with top marketplaces, social media, shopping engines, eCommerce platforms
- Single platform for multichannel eCommerce management
- Fast synching of data between all sales channels
- In-depth cross-channel analytics with interactive dashboards and graphs
The best thing you get with Sellbery is a lot of free time that you can use to explore new marketing strategies, study competitors, analyze trends, and come up with exciting selling propositions.
Top 10 Hot Tips to Become a Successful Multichannel Merchant
Every day marketplaces sell products worth billions of dollars, which makes them very attractive for online sellers. The competition is fierce and requires you to put in an effort to stand out. If you want to know what makes a seller successful in multichannel selling, the below tips will help you.
- Choose marketplaces carefully
- Study all costs
- Adjust pricing
- Start with bestsellers
- Product information
- Inventory management
- Customer support
- Social proof
- Native ad tools
Though multichannel selling entails selling products on various platforms, you need to pay close attention to your target audience. Make sure that the products you are selling will be welcomed by the marketplace’s visitors.
Allowing third-party sellers to list their products, marketplaces charge them with different types of fees. These can include subscription cost, referral fee, listing fee, etc. Dedicate time to studying rules of a particular marketplace.
To cover all the expenses and generate revenue, you need to adjust your prices for each marketplace based on the fees you need to pay. When providing free shipping, which allows to attract more customers, you need to price in this sum. On the other hand, you should not put too high prices as you won’t be able to compete with other sellers offering similar products.
If you have a vast assortment of products, don’t try to list them all on the marketplaces. A better strategy is to start with your bestsellers or products that have the highest chance of attracting customers’ attention.
Product information should answer all the questions that customers might have, including dimensions, properties, features, and much more. The more accurate the description, the higher the chances products will sell better on marketplaces. Provide high-quality photos of products and, if you don’t have the necessary equipment and skills to make them, consider hiring professional photographers.
The best way to keep customers happy is to make sure that you list only in-stock products. Stock-outs and product shortage is the fastest way to get disapproval from shoppers and, in some cases, penalties from marketplaces. When using Sellbery, you won’t need to worry about this important part of multichannel eCommerce.
Customers should not feel neglected before, during and after they make a purchase. It is a good practice to always answer all questions, provide additional information, even if you can get it only from a manufacturer, and quickly address all the issues that arise.
You should not underestimate the power of social proof. Product reviews and customer feedback are an integral part of the multichannel selling strategy. By encouraging customers to share their feedback, you will make your online store more reliable in the eyes of potential customers. Just make sure that asking for reviews doesn’t contradict the policies of marketplaces you are working with. The best and safest way of getting positive reviews is to provide the best services.
Customers like to get their products within days of placing an order. If your business is a part of Amazon Prime, you should abide by its rules. The same goes for other marketplaces. You need to make sure that all products are packed, shipped and delivered in the time promised.
Almost all online marketplaces offer built-in advertisement tools that allow merchants to promote their products. Amazon, eBay, Walmart, and Etsy – all provide such functionality.
The main benefit of using native ad options is the higher conversion rate that they are offering. That’s why it is recommended to invest in such promotions, especially at the first stages of becoming a multichannel seller.
Become a Multichannel Seller Today
eCommerce is projected to continue evolving in the years to follow. The best decision you can make for your business right now is to move to the multichannel dimension. By offering products on different platforms, you will allow customers to shop at the mediums of their choice. With the right tools, your road will be smooth and will lead to the revenue increase.