Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Shopify have all made it easy for online sellers to start multi-channel selling but successfully expanding your business while selling on multiple sales channels is a different matter. We’ve enlisted the help of multi-channel eCommerce software expert Expandly to explain everything you need to do to expand your eCommerce business successfully.
Growing your eCommerce business
If you’re an eCommerce entrepreneur, you’ll be eagerly planning local recognition, national significance, and global expansion - and adding more sales channels to your empire will likely be a part of that strategy. But multi-channel selling on its own isn’t enough to take your eCommerce business to the next level; to do that you’ll need to combine sales channels, traffic, customers, sales, and time. How?
Expanding your visibility
To expand your business, your business needs to expand.
First, let’s start with the obvious, multi-channel selling. Over half of online shoppers begin their journey with online marketplaces (such as Amazon and eBay) when shopping online. Multi-channel selling expands your online presence - catching these customers wherever they’re starting and ending their sales journey.
Once you’re listing on multiple sales channels, the next step is to begin expanding globally. Use online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay to offer international delivery options and then progress to international marketplaces and regional websites.
Next, you need to bring visitors to your sales channels by marketing using PPC advertising, social media, and industry publications. Don’t worry if that doesn’t immediately result in sales - the more a customer comes across your brand, the more they will recognize your brand and think of you when they next need to buy.
Ok, so you’ve expanded where you’re selling online, now you need to increase where you appear on those sales channels.
There are many eCommerce SEO optimization tips and resources out there, but an excellent place to start is optimizing your website and products descriptions with relevant keywords, fast-loading images, and item specifics. Once you’ve got the basics, you can begin exploring blogs, high-quality backlinks, and first-page worth content.
Mobile shopping (or m-commerce) is on track to becoming as popular as shopping on your PC this year - making mobile optimization crucial. Whether potential customers are browsing on their phones at work or checking out reviews while on the high street, if your website is slow or, even worse, doesn’t load, you’ll miss out.
Finally, online marketplaces, such as Amazon and eBay, offer tools to increase your visibility among their search results. Join fast shipping programs (such as eBay Guaranteed Delivery and Amazon Prime) to receive better search result placement and fast shipping tags, use PPC advertising to mark your products as “sponsored”, and pull out all stops to win the eBay our pick box and win the Amazon buy box.
You’re selling on more sales channels, you’re topping the search results on those sales channels, and you’re getting more visits to your listings. Now you need to convert those visits.
The customer is still your number one priority, and you should not forget this. 80% of customers will pay more for better customer service, and 74% of millennials would leave a brand following lousy customer service. Create a seamless and enjoyable customer journey by listing without errors, processing orders quickly, delivering on time, and being quick to resolve issues. It will help convert and retain customers, while also improving your ratings and stars.
On the topic of the customer, the worse way to derail an otherwise flawless customer journey is sell out of a product or, even worse, oversell a product. Maintain accurate inventory management records across all of your sales channels and keep on top of your minimum re-order points to avoid going out of stock.
By this point, you’ll be seeing an increase in sales orders, which also means an increase in deliveries. Ensure that your shipping standards or times do not drop by processing orders quickly, streamlining your shipping process, bulk printing labels, and considering outsourced fulfillment.
Maximizing your time
You did it! You expanded your businesses onto multiple sales channels, made efforts to increase your visibility, and worked hard to raise conversion rates. But now you need to keep on top of a growing empire.
Are you completing certain tasks because you always have done? More than likely. Tasks such as bulk listing, process orders across sales channels, and sending sales orders to Xero can all be done a lot quicker with eCommerce software.
eCommerce software makes growing your eCommerce business easier and less time-consuming. As an expanding online seller you should consider:
Multi-channel management software that integrates your sales channels, shipping carriers, and accounting software into a single platform - allowing you to list, progress orders, manage your inventory, print shipping labels, add tracking information, run reports, and send sales orders to Xero.
Cart/browse abandonment software that sends automatic emails enticing online shoppers that came, looked, and left before converting, back.
Cloud accounting software (such as Xero) to make accounting easier.
Inventory management software that works across your sales channels updating your stock levels and preventing you from selling out.
All of this is a lot to manage and process, which is why reporting becomes all the more critical. Knowing which products are well (and not to well) on which sales channel and at what time of the year can save you a lot of time and expense when planning your eCommerce strategy. Maintain manual reports or ensure that your eCommerce software allows you to create standard and customized reports.
Multi-channel selling is a big and exciting step for your eCommerce business - it means that you're growing. Do it well by using the right software, learning from the experts, and following these simple tips.
About the author
Niki Tibble is a writer for multi-channel eCommerce software Expandly - the tool integrating your website, marketplaces, shipping carriers, and Xero account to make expansion easy.
Find out more with a free 14-day trial with Expandly today.