E-commerce businesses are fighting for consumers’ attention at an extraordinary rate. In an industry that’s already heavily saturated, hundreds of emerging digital channels have made it increasingly difficult to stand out, writes Simon Kelly, solutions manager, Apac at ChannelAdvisor.
Yet, connecting to a diverse pool of customers across multiple platforms is not impossible. Those with the right multichannel strategy will win in this volatile e-commerce climate.
Still, it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. It’s about knowing who your customers are and which channels they use, thoroughly understanding each channel’s requirements and streamlining consumers’ pathway to purchase.
Let’s take a look at some of the best practices of winning brands in the multichannel e-commerce space.
Best practices for multichannel e-commerce
Whether you’re just starting out or optimising your existing multichannel strategy, diversifying your e-commerce presence is most successful when you:
- Connect to the right channels. Who do you want to reach? Which KPIs do you want to influence? Which channels will help you get there?
- Market at the right time. Increase visibility and put your products front and centre in the eyes of consumers. Invest in digital marketing and retail media to maximise your presence in each channel.
- Sell where consumers shop. Prepare your channels for sales. Whether through digital campaigns, marketplaces or social media, clarify the path to purchase so it’s easy for consumers to find you and complete their purchase.
- Fulfil customer expectations. Achieve automation and scale with the right fulfilment options. Many marketplaces now offer fulfilment capabilities for added compliance, increased conversion and greater expansion.
- Optimise with data and analytics. Test everything from assortments to ads to product descriptions. Continue what works and eliminate what doesn’t to maximise the use of your budget and fuel long-term success.
Diversify your channel presence
There are numerous options for diversifying your online offerings, from direct-to-consumer (D2C) sales to third-party marketplaces to social commerce. The key is deciding which option(s) make the most sense for your brand.
Many long-time B2B companies are starting to directly engage with consumers for numerous financial, logistical and brand-related benefits. In the face of economic downtimes, D2C offers resiliency, as well as:
- Increased revenue from new customers.
- Consumer trust from direct brand relationships.
- Higher quality data from first-party interactions.
Marketplaces like Amazon, Ebay and Walmart now make up more than 67 per cent of global web sales. They help you reach larger audiences, test demand in new markets and try out new products. But to achieve marketplace success, you need:
- Seamless integrations with the right marketplace(s) for your brand.
- Product data that meets marketplace requirements.
- Consistency across all sales channels.
- Fulfilment and delivery plans.
- Advertising to drive traffic and visibility.
Even after a successful launch into a new marketplace and meeting its specific requirements, succeeding in the space means defending your position. One of the best ways to do this is by monitoring performance and conducting benchmarking.
Most brands use wholesale channels like retailers to sell their products online. To fulfil orders, they can either ship inventory to retailers or dropship through suppliers. Regardless of the method, it’s not something to simply “set and forget,” as changing consumer behaviours and supply can impact your brand reputation. It’s important to regularly monitor your retail partners for share of digital shelf, product availability, pricing, content quality and product reviews. If products aren’t visible on the shelf, consumers can’t purchase. If the price is incorrect or content quality is poor, conversions will go down and reviews will be negative.
Social media sites are now a very important part of the consumer journey. From Facebook and Instagram to TikTok and Snapchat, these sites are key research and discovery channels for younger audiences. In fact, 60 per cent of 18-to-25-year-olds have discovered products they’ve purchased on social media. That means brands must be there to meet them. The key to helping them convert is creating clear paths to purchase with buy now options and links to your site or preferred retailers.
Digital marketing campaigns put your products directly in consumers’ line of sight. But if your ads send traffic to pages where shoppers can’t buy (e.g. a showcase website or out-of-stock page), you’re missing out on sales. Shoppable media makes digital campaigns shoppable, ensuring clicks go to pages with in-stock products for purchase. That way, you can increase conversions, create better consumer experiences and strengthen retailer relationships from any digital campaign on any channel.
The fight for visibility in an increasingly crowded landscape doesn’t have to be overwhelming. ChannelAdvisor helps brands and retailers streamline the consumer path to purchase and improve digital campaigns across retail media sites from Amazon to Ebay. With ChannelAdvisor, you can streamline your e-commerce operations, expand to new channels and grow sales – all from a centralised platform.
Contact us today to chat with one of our e-commerce experts.