With the increasing number of online marketplaces and social media platforms, it’s more important than ever to understand how to sell across multiple channels to reach a wider audience and drive sales. So, let’s dive into the world of multi-channel e-commerce and discover how you can expand your business and maximize your revenue.
What is Multi-channel E-commerce?
Multi-channel e-commerce is the way of doing business that targets customers through various channels. It is a strategy of using multiple channels to get a more extensive reach and increase conversion rates.
Multi-channel e-commerce has changed the way we shop online. You can now shop from any device at your disposal, such as a laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
While has been around for a long time, multi-channel e-commerce has become more prevalent in recent years with the growing scope of social media and mobile devices. It can cater to both B2B and B2C businesses.
Why Multi-channel E-commerce is Growing
Multi-channel e-commerce is the future of the industry and is the next big thing in retail. There are two key factors that have driven the emergence of multi-channel e-commerce.
Firstly, it makes sense for brands to leverage a multi-channel approach if they want to make their products available to consumers anytime and anywhere. Secondly, it has become crucial for brands to be present on different social media platforms as customers spend much of their time. Now, let’s have a look at how it upholds brand reputation and image.
Increases brand visibility
Multi-channel e-commerce allows brands to increase brand visibility by being available on different platforms. It also allows e-commerce businesses to reach more customers
Helps meet customer expectations
A multi-channel e-commerce strategy helps meet customer expectations by providing them with multiple platforms. The company can also optimize its inventory more efficiently and sell more products to the same number of customers. This way, they can get what they want and when they want it.
Increases sales margin
A multi-channel e-commerce brand helps increase sales potential by targeting customers on different channels with customized content.
Omni-channel Vs. Multi-channel: How to Know the Difference
Let’s look at the distinguishing features of the two e-commerce strategies.
Omnichannel e-commerce is a retailing strategy that combines physical and digital channels to market and sell products or services. Multi-channel e-commerce is a retailing strategy in which the retailer uses different channels to reach customers with the same product or service.
Omnichannel e-commerce is a customer-centric approach to online shopping. It means that the store is available on all possible platforms and that customers can buy from whichever platform they prefer. Multi-channel e-commerce is centered more around the product or service.
Multi-channel e-commerce is also a business-centric approach to online shopping. In an omnichannel environment, customers can purchase products through any channel they want – online, offline, phone, etc. In a multi-channel environment, retailers will use different social media platforms to sell the same product. The store offers products for sale on more than one platform, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is available on all platforms.
What is the History of Multi-channel E-commerce?
Multi-channel e-commerce is a relatively new concept developed over the last few decades. It started with multi-channel retailing, which was about selling in more than one store.
In 1994, the first multi-channel e-commerce company was founded. The company was called Cyberian Outpost and focused on selling hardware and software online. It all started with the internet, followed by mobile, and now we have virtual and augmented reality. E-commerce multi-channels have been on the rise since this company’s foundation.
Why Should I Consider Getting Into Multi-channel E-commerce?
Multi-channel e-commerce is the future of retail. But why should I consider getting into it?
The benefits include making your products available to a larger audience. It also helps you increase customer engagement with your brand and offer better customer service. Some other benefits of Multi-channel e-commerce are-
- It provides a more personalized customer experience, leading to higher customer satisfaction rates, increased brand loyalty, and, ultimately, higher conversion rates.
- Creating a multichannel e-commerce business is easier than ever, with cheaper options available. A study suggests that one can start with as low as 30 USD per month.
- Multi-channel e-commerce is the sole destination for retail businesses, as it relies on third-party sellers for outreach and recognition.
How Multi-channel E-commerce Works
Multi-channel e-commerce is about taking advantage of the best practices of every channel to optimize your business. It is about understanding which channels are best for you.
The multi-channel e-commerce approach is a complex process that requires an organization to make significant changes to its business processes and infrastructure.
5 Top Multi-channel E-commerce Platforms
The top multi-channel e-commerce platforms are WooCommerce, Magento, Big Commerce, Shopify, and Volusion.
WooCommerce is a free, open-source WordPress plugin created in 2011 by Automattic. This plugin allows users to sell products on their WordPress site. It also has a large community of developers who develop extensions for WooCommerce to add new features and functionality to the platform.
Magento is an open-source e-commerce platform first released in 2008 by Varien Inc. It is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms today because it is easy to customize and has extensive features available for extension.
BigCommerce is an all-in-one multi-channel commerce platform first released in 2012 by BigMachines LLC. It is a SaaS platform focused on building and managing any E-Commerce store.
Shopify is a multinational e-commerce setup started in 2006 in Ottawa, Canada. It aids users in marketing, shipping, payments, and customer engagement tools. In April 2002, it made its way into last-mile logistics with Swyft, a digital logistics startup based in Toronto, Canada.
Volusion is a leading E-Commerce solution specializing in offering multi-channel business software platforms. It is headquartered in Austin, Texas, and was founded in 1999 to 2022.
Top Solutions for Multi-channel E-commerce
The e-commerce industry has evolved increasingly in the last few years. Traditional retailers are now competing with online stores. All these changes have led to an increase in the demand for multi-channel E-commerce solutions.
These factors help identify the areas where one can utilize the Multi channel approach.
Multi-channel e-commerce inventory management
In e-commerce, it is more complex than it seems. Many solutions are available for managing inventory across different channels, but some are better than others, depending on the situation.
Fulfillment and shipping
The main aim of multi-channel e-commerce inventory management is to ensure that the company has an accurate count of the items on hand and to manage product availability across different channels. One way to fulfill these criteria is by using machine learning algorithms to predict product demand.
Many different types of channels can be utilized in multi-channel marketing, including
- Email Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- SEO/SEM Marketing
- Content Marketing
- Video Marketing
These channels are all critical for a company’s success and should be used to maximize the return on investment.
Returns management is a process in which customers can return products for a refund or exchange. Returning an item can be a tiring experience for customers and retailers. However, with the proper return management software, it can be a smooth process for both parties.
There are many solutions that e-commerce companies are using to manage their returns. Some companies use an integrated approach, which includes pre and post-purchase returns management. A multi-channel e-commerce management assists in making the return process less complicated.
Tips for Multi-channel E-commerce Marketing
Use dynamic retargeting across your channels
Retargeting is a robust tool in digital marketing because it allows you to market to people interested in your product or brand. Dynamic retargeting is a powerful way to ensure your marketing message reaches the right person at the right time. It also provides that you have all the opportunities.
There are many ways of implementing dynamic retargeting across your channels. You can implement it on your website and social media accounts. You can decide how to use it and what channels you want to target.
Contextualize your marketing message for the targeted audience
A marketing message contextualized for each channel is more persuasive and compelling. When creating a marketing message, you need to sort out your audience. For example, suppose you are using social media to promote your product. In that case, it is best to use videos or images with only a few words because people lack the time or patience on social media.
Synergize your marketing and sales across channels
A multi-channel marketing strategy is about finding the right balance between your online and offline channels. It’s about using your resources to increase customer acquisition, retention, and conversion rates.
To create a successful multi-channel marketing strategy, you must ensure that you pay attention to all your channels. You need to optimize the content on each channel for the best possible results.
Integrate customer ratings and reviews across other channels
Reviews and ratings are significant influencers in the multi-channel e-commerce industry. It is essential to integrate customer ratings and reviews across other channels.
Market to prospects, not channels
A multi-channel approach to marketing is the key to success in today’s digital age. Marketers should refrain from segmenting their customers by channel to get the best results. Instead, they should focus on the customer needs and market them accordingly.
Leverage user-generated content
User-generated content is an integral part of the marketing strategy for any company. It’s a way to build trust with consumers, and it also helps to make your brand more relevant in customers’ lives. You can use user-generated content for your marketing efforts by requesting the customers to submit reviews of the product or service.
The easiest way to get started with user-generated content is by creating an online community where customers can share their feedback on different topics related to your products and services.
Consider event-triggered marketing
A successful multi-channel e-commerce marketing strategy should be event-triggered. Events are a great way to get people’s attention. Retailers should identify events and trigger marketing campaigns to promote their products. They can be used as triggers for marketing campaigns that will help the company reach out to a larger audience and allow them to show them their products and services.
Link channels together
Multi-channel e-commerce marketing is about linking all the channels together so customers can get a seamless experience. It will help if you map your customer journey and then figure out what you need to implement.
Align email and social media efforts
Email is the most common way for customers to connect with brands. Brands should not only offer ‘email-only’ services but also make sure that they create a social media presence. Social media channels allow interaction with customers and provide customer service.
Bank on your site’s internal search data
You should apply search engine optimization and other digital marketing tactics to all channels. The first step is ensuring that your site has good internal search data. You must optimize your website for SEO and utilize other digital marketing strategies such as social media, email marketing, etc. With the help of multi-channel e-commerce marketing, customers can easily find what they are looking for in terms of products.