Published by Abbi in Amazon, Multi-Channel
These days selling your products on a singular platform is not enough. Consumers want the ease of multiple options. It may be important to make sure consumers are seeing your brand vision through your own website. However, the reality is almost half of all consumers will start their search on a marketplace platform, like Amazon or eBay. This is why it's so important to look into the prospect of multi-channel selling - making your products available not just on one site, but on as many different platforms as possible.
Consumers are a lot more likely to trust established marketplaces than brands they may not know. In turn, they are more likely to trust a brand that is tied to an online marketplace. When starting out, it can be really helpful to utilise consumers trust in big marketplace websites, like Amazon, as a way to build up trust in your company and brand loyalty.
Third-Party Sales (Amazon)
Whilst people may think that sites like Amazon dominate the sales on their marketplace platforms, it is actually not the case. Data from Statista shows there is an almost even split between the amount that Amazon sell themselves and the amount that third-party retailers sell. If used correctly ie by making sure your products are SEO ready or using tools like Sponsored Ads, you can make sure that extra traffic is driven specifically towards your products.
Social commerce is an increasingly growing market and one that all ecommerce businesses should be looking to take advantage of. 30% of online shoppers are now saying they would be likely to make a purchase from a social media platform. Selling your products through social media sites, like Facebook, Pintrest or Instagram, has a number of distinct advantages - the main one being its availability and reach. In this day and age, almost everyone with internet capabilities has some form of social media. This means you would be targeting someone whilst they're visiting a site they would be on anyway.
It makes sense that the more platforms your product is on, the more items you are likely to sell. So what could be the potential problems stopping sellers from upgrading to a multi-channel approach?
On the main two marketplace platforms, Amazon and Ebay, selling fees can range from 5 to 20% depending on the category of the product. Whilst this may seem like an unnecessary expense for those who normally sell directly to consumers, it inevitably works out as good value.
On your own website, there are plenty of additional costs to take into consideration - AdWords, social media advertising, in house development and of course, the time those all take. With platforms like Amazon and Ebay you are paying the premium for having a high volume of traffic and having everything set in place for you. As Amazon and Ebay account for 44% of all online sales, that is a significant amount of potential sales you could be gaining.
Sellers also shouldn't be worried that using marketplaces will drive traffic away from their own sites, as research has shown that it targets a different set of consumers, so you won't be eating into your own sales.
Keeping stock in sync
One of the biggest concerns for online retailers selling across multiple channels is making sure they don't oversell. Due to the constant nature of the internet it is almost impossible to manually keep track and make sure the stock for all platforms is in sync. However, it is extremely important to do so, as selling something that is out of stock can lead to customer disappointment and ultimately negative reviews.
Unfortunately, the only way to reliably do this is by using automated software. However, there are lots of different programs that can help you with this - if you don't want to invest in paid software to help with this, there are also some free and open source options, albeit with slightly more limited functions.
As you can see from the above, the benefits heavily outweigh the negatives. Whist it may require a little more hard work and effort to start selling multi-channel, it can also help boost sales massively, as well as really helping you brand visibility gain traction.