How to make managing sales, product inventories, and customer interaction across multiple channels easy
“Communication is at the heart of eCommerce and community.” – Meg Whitman, eCommerce innovator and former President of Hewlett-Packard
In our mobile-centric, hyper-connected digital age, consumers have a wealth of choice when it comes to conducting product research, sourcing brand information, and buying products or services, which of course means that to thrive in eCommerce, selling your products, managing your inventory, and meeting your customer requirements across multiple channels is essential.
In fact, a recent study discovered that a sizable 48% of all online product searches start on popular marketplaces including Amazon, eBay, and Etsy. Moreover, when it comes to renowned marketplaces, 65% of consumers feel comfortable buying from merchants they have never heard of before.
It’s clear that in addition to your website and various social media channels, there is a wealth of opportunity in online marketplaces when it comes to eCommerce. But, while each of these touchpoints provide opportunities to grow your audience, boost sales, and increase conversions, managing each outlet to its fullest potential is easier said than done.
To lend a helping hand, here is a guide to managing your sales, inventory, and customer base across multiple channels.
Key online marketplaces
We’ve established that managing multi-channel marketing and sales is the way forward for the modern eCommerce business – and we’ve also confirmed that marketplaces such as Etsy, Amazon and eBay offer a wealth of opportunities when it comes to attracting sales and boosting customers.
That said, if you’d like to expand your reach even further and leverage valuable channels that are currently rising in popularity, these three lesser-known marketplaces could prove particularly fruitful to the growth of your budding empire:
- eCrater: This emerging eCommerce marketplace boasts the opportunity to list an unlimited number of products in an infinite number of categories.
- Atomicmall.com: An eCommerce space that offers auction or fixed-price selling with zero listing fees.
- Sell.com: A classified-style eCommerce marketplace that is continually rising in consumer popularity.
Before you decide on the marketplaces you are willing to commit to outside of the realms of your website, mobile applications, and social media channels, you should ensure that they meet your commercial needs and align with your brand identity and business goals. If you choose to sell on a channel that gives you little autonomy concerning the data you have access to and the way in which you present your products or services, this could be detrimental to brand awareness and customer loyalty. So do your research and choose wisely.
Multi-channel sales management
47% of consumers who engage with merchants on 10 or more channels tend to purchase from their favorite merchant’s site at least once per week. In contrast, just 21% of consumers who engage across one to four channels make a weekly purchase.
That said, one of the core elements of a seamless multi-channel eCommerce operation is the ability to manage your sales activities and initiatives across a range of channels and consumer touchpoints.
For the best possible chances of encouraging conversions and ensuring consistently healthy sales across multiple channels, brand consistency across all touchpoints is key – but you must also treat each outlet individually at the same time.
While this sounds confusing, the concept is quite simple in practice: you should ensure that your visual assets, including your imagery and logo, are present across all channels, in addition to your brand story, style, and tone of voice. But while you may integrate or link to your other touchpoints, focusing on the data specific to each channel will help you to drill down into its individual performance and make improvements or optimizations to boost engagement and sales where needed, strengthening your overall sales portfolio as a result.
In addition to this, and this is a fundamental rule: concerning content, you should always avoid duplication across channels as this could result in penalization from search engines like Google, providing detrimental to your brand image and overall SEO rankings.
To offer your target consumers a seamless experience across channels, you need a solid, sustainable strategy, Our omnichannel marketing tips will give you the information you need to get started.
Multi-channel inventory management
Regardless of how superior your multi-channel or omnichannel marketing efforts may be and how well you optimize and manage your various touchpoints for sales, if you don’t keep a handle on your inventory, things could start to unravel rapidly.
When it comes to inventory management and order fulfilment, the most common issues boil down to:
- Customers ordering an item only to find out post-purchase that the item is out of stock.
- A customer buying a product online and heading in-store to pick it up, but it’s not there when they arrive.
- Stock fluctuating between channels. For example, there are four pieces available through your website but the same product is out of stock on eBay.
Each of these issues can seriously damage your brand’s reputation, stunting its sales and growth in the process. But we live in a digital age where .
In the the modern world of eCommerce, multi-channel inventory management software empowers businesses to track, manage, and organize various consumer purchases inventory sales, content, and production across multiple channels, all from one central location.
Nowadays, eCommerce businesses no longer have to rely on Excel spreadsheets, fragmented processes, or pen and paper to store critical consumer data, view stock levels, keep their affairs fluent, and so on – now this can and should be achieved through the use of digital tools, dashboards, and technology.
When it comes to multi-channel inventory management, using the right software will:
- Allow you to synchronize your inventory activities across all key channels.
- Help you avoid overselling items and going out of stock through smart real-time insights and forecasting.
- Reduce delivery times and make your fulfilment efforts far more cost-effective.
- Give you access to key insights across channels that will allow you to enhance your sales strategy, optimize your marketing and product content, and make your overall operation far more efficient (and, therefore, profitable).
Inventory management software will not only help you to manage your eCommerce empire across multiple channels but it will also allow you to scale your business overtime by offering you access to the insights, metrics, and tools you need to manage your most valuable business activities, centrally.
For more priceless insights on insights on the seamless delivery and management of your products, study our guide to eCommerce store shipping and fulfillment.
Multi-channel customer management
33% of Americans alone state that they will consider switching companies after just one single instance of poor service. In the digital age, customer service is vital to any eCommerce business as consumers have become more demanding and empowered than ever before.
To ensure you are able to satisfy the needs of your consumer across multiple channels, you will need to offer a consistent level of customer experience (CX) across all channels. Not only is it important to ensure that every channel available to your customers is well-designed and easy to navigate, but you should always play to your strengths, selling only through touchpoints that you know you are good at operating through.
In addition to this, you must train each of your customer service agents to handle complaints, fulfill requests and respond to customers across every available channel or touchpoint. Essentially, if you need someone to cover or assist with an urgent issue, if everyone is equipped to help in professional, effective, and efficient manner, you will maintain exceptionally high standards across multiple channels.
While it can be a challenge, offering your products across multiple channels will help set yourself apart from the competition and be where your customer is. When it comes to managing your sales, product inventories, and customers on a range of touchpoints, there is no substitute for a robust, intuitive multi-channel eCommerce software.
To find out more about how our state-of-the-art and easy to use multi-channel eCommerce software can help you grow your business, take a look at our full rundown of features and benefits.