Multi-Channel Selling – Is It For You?

Multi-Channel  Selling


Multichannel selling has become a popular “buzzword” around the internet – so let’s start by defining our term. When you ell product on a website, that is a ‘channel’ where you are selling. You could have started selling on eBay, Amazon, Etsy or your own website. Regardless of where you started – that was your first Channel. At some point in your business growth, you will want to begin expanding and selling your items in more places. Very simply put, you will become a Multi-Channel Seller.

Now that we have defined what it is, let’s talk a bit about why you should consider this. Theoretically, if you had perfect SEO (Search Engine Optimization) then as buyers went to Google to search for products, they would find yours wherever you had them listed.

The first problem with that theory, however, is that ‘perfect SEO’ doesn’t’ exist. Google constantly changes the algorithm for their search engine; at least four major updates just in the last few months. (Do the words Panda, Penguin and Venice ring a bell? Those are a few of the recent names for Google search updates or changes).

The second problem with that theory is that not all shoppers start at Google! Many of the larger channels have their own core group of shoppers that prefer shopping at that particular website. They won’t go to Google to search for your products, they will go to their preferred channel. In other words, if your products aren’t available on that channel, you won’t get the sale no matter how great your SEO is.

So should you list your product on EVERY channel out there? Of course not. This is where knowing your ideal customer comes in; as well as a little market research about the individual selling channels. You need to know who your ideal customers are and where they prefer to shop. Once you find them – make sure your products are there in front of them. Always make it easy for your customers to give you money.

Next do a little digging for statistics. If a site has 121 million active customers (Amazon) you should probably be there. If it is a smaller niche site, not so much. There are smaller niche selling sites that are a great place for exposure to the exact customers you are looking for, and there are others that have so few customers you will be wasting your time.

My thinking on this matter has evolved. I used to believe that as long as there were no listing fees, why not list on every site out there. But until there is a truly affordable program to remove inventory on the smaller sites as soon as it sells on another platform, I think that is a waste of time for the solopreneur. Taking time each day, or even after each sale, to manually update 3 or 4 other channels is just too time consuming and confusing. Invariably something will not get updated and lead to a cancelled order and an unhappy customer.

So once you have decided what other channels to sell your items on, now begins the search for a multi-channel solution to help manage your inventory. We’ll cover that in a future article.

 

This guest post is by Kat Simpson. Kat is a respected as a trusted eCommerce speaker, educator, and entrepreneur, Kat Simpson has been a successful eCommerce merchant for over 10 years; is a Certified eBay Education Specialist and Gold Level PowerSeller, who also maintains stores on Addoway, Bonanza, Buy.com, and iOffer. Currently Kat is the co-host of popular weekly eCommerce Podcast eCom Connections with Karen Locker of Luna Jardin and Mommysbazaar.

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