The ecommerce sector is competitive — and to succeed, you need to stand out. But how is that possible?
Adding new sales channels to your ecommerce growth strategy is one of the most effective ways you can take your business to the next level. The growth of ecommerce is increasing rapidly, estimated to reach $5 trillion in 2022 and $6 trillion by 2024. By anticipating your customers’ preferences, you can ensure your products are always visible, no matter which channels your customers choose to shop on.
As we move into 2022, adding new sales channels should be high on your business priority list. In this post, we’ll take a look at why expanding to new sales channels is so important, with 76% of consumers citing convenience as their top priority when choosing a retailer, according to research from Linnworks on the effortless economy. We also discuss which channels you should be considering, and how to seamlessly integrate all of these to ensure that your business meets customers where they want to shop.
Why Should You Expand to New Sales Channels?
Adding new sales channels to an already extensive collection might not be on your to-do list. But it definitely should be. Customers expect convenience. They also expect seamless experiences and the ability to shop in the online environment where they spend their time. Brands are making these customer expectations a priority — according to a survey conducted by Linnworks, 96% of retailers say the pandemic has accelerated their adoption of sales channels.
Some of your customers will prefer to shop on marketplaces, while others prefer to make their purchase directly on a retailer’s own website. Others want to see product suggestions organically as they browse social media. Making sure that your ecommerce sales channel strategy can meet the individual needs of each customer is the best way to maintain the visibility of your brand and products in a saturated market. Do that, and continued growth will follow.
The Advantages of Multichannel Selling
As consumer habits shift, ecommerce retailers need to adapt. Multichannel selling enables you to meet consumer demands for convenience and a seamless shopping experience, no matter which platform they use.
Multichannel selling helps you move your business towards Total Commerce — where retailers make commerce effortless for the customer no matter where they choose to shop. As well as helping you to connect with existing customers, implementing sales across more innovative channels like new marketplaces and social platforms can help you connect with a whole new audience.
Each retailer will find the key blend of sales channels that work best for them. It’s important to remain agile, be open to experimentation and seize the opportunity to explore the potential of new sales channels as they’re launched. Integrating a growth mindset into your sales strategy is one of the best ways to not only maintain but improve your success.
You’re probably already using some of the most popular sales channels, but it’s always worth keeping your eye on what else is out there. As consumer preferences change and new channels are launched, you may decide the time is right to add other sales channels to your business strategy. Let’s take a brief look at each of these sales channels:
- Direct to Consumer (DTC)
- Social Commerce
- Buy on Google
- Business to Business (B2B)
Direct to Consumer
Direct to Consumer (DTC) gives you complete control over the selling process and will often form the cornerstone of your selling strategy. DTC channels allow you to fully control the customer journey and experience.
Customers may find your brand or products on a marketplace and then move to your own website or app to complete their experience. Showcasing your brand identity and other products through your own site allows you to offer a carefully curated customer experience that can’t be achieved through third-party selling sites.
A disadvantage of DTC channels is that it can be harder to reach new customers or branch out to market your product in other locations when you rely only on this strategy. So, while ecommerce sites should always include an element of DTC sales, it’s always most effective when combined with other channels like marketplaces and social commerce.
Marketplaces like eBay and Amazon are often the first place customers start looking for a specific product — with, according to Linnworks research, 90% of customers use this technique to gain a good oversight of what’s available before they make a purchase.
Marketplaces allow you to reach a far wider audience than is possible through your DTC channels alone. But, as we touched on above, you can’t control the customer experience or journey as tightly as is possible with DTC sales. This means a poor interaction with a marketplace (which you have no control over) can have the potential to negatively affect a customer’s perception of your brand.
Marketplaces also typically charge a fee for listing, and you’ll also have to consider the costs of warehousing, shipping, and returns.
As a helpful note, with marketplaces, you’ll want to take competitive pricing into account when setting the prices of your products. This is because shoppers compare prices of products before they buy.
Customers now spend more time on social media, and part of your total commerce strategy should involve placing your products where they’re most likely to be seen. And that’s social media. Whether you target specific platforms you’ve identified as popular with your target market or advertise your products across a wide range of platforms, the potential benefits of selling your products through social media shouldn’t be ignored.
Social commerce also offers the powerful opportunity to connect with influencers who can help promote your brand to their followers. When using social commerce as part of your overall total commerce strategy, bear in mind that most customers will prefer to make their purchase on the social platform rather than being redirected to your website.
Again, this can impact the level of control you have over the customer journey and experience, but offering seamless sales is the trade-off. Social commerce selling generally evolves at a far faster rate than other sales channels. But make sure you’re comfortable keeping up with new platforms, emerging trends, and there’s a lot of potentials to be realized.
Buy on Google
Buy on Google allows consumers to directly purchase items from retailers without navigating to that business’s specific website.
This can help you reach new audiences, extend the reach of your product lines, and grow your sales. With Buy on Google, consumers can add products to their wish list from multiple retailers, and these can all be easily accessed at a later date. When they’re ready to purchase their chosen items, they simply click on the Google Cart icon and complete their order.
Buying through a well-known site like Google can increase trust, and because customers can choose to save their payment details, purchasing is seamless no matter where they’re buying from. Buy on Google is commission-free and allows for easy integration with your existing third-party providers for payment processing, ordering, and inventory management.
Business to Business
As an additional opportunity for growth, adding a business-to-business (B2B) strand to your sales strategy makes perfect sense. Selling your products wholesale to other businesses means you can shift higher volumes of stock while, at the same time, lowering your marketing costs. As global supply chains continue to suffer from delays, marketing your product as a B2B offering to a local market can help those businesses maintain regular stock and reliable deliveries — something which is more appreciated than ever before.
The US B2B market is showing healthy growth, with B2B ecommerce forecast to hit $12 trillion by 2023.
How to Manage Your Sales Channels
Taking advantage of having multiple sale channels to grow your ecommerce business makes perfect sense — but without the right tools in place, it’s easy to start feeling overwhelmed.
The key is to choose the right automation tools — automation is a big contributor to managing the operations on all of your channels simultaneously and efficiently. The benefits of automation include managing inventory levels, making sure product listings are up to date to prevent overselling and listing the correct prices across channels especially when there is a price increase. Using a central platform means businesses can seamlessly control operations across all sales channels with automation.
Supply chain challenges combined with consumer demand for convenience means it’s more important than ever before to have a firm hold on your inventory management.
Knowing how to effectively balance the supply and demand of products across all of your sales channels is key when it comes to one of your most important business goals — keeping the customer happy. No matter which channels a purchase is made on, knowing how each and every purchase affects your stock in real-time helps you stay one step ahead.
Selling your products across new, emerging platforms is essential for growth in today’s market, but so is being able to manage all of these channels with automation. Get these right — and your business will be on the growth path.ecommerce growth strategy