This article was sponsored by Zentail.
Multichannel selling comes with lots of challenges, from inventory management to order fulfillment and a lot more in between. Those challenges are multiplied every time you add a new sales channel, with a steep learning curve to understand all the new rules and workflows.
There are many multichannel management tools on the market to help you with those challenges, particularly when it comes to back-office operations such as setting pricing, processing orders and generating reports. Those functions are necessary, of course – you have to run your ecommerce business to a very high standard in order to meet marketplace requirements. But they do not generate sales or improve your search rankings. They do not help grow your business.
Instead, growth comes from the side of your business that your customers see: the listings on every marketplace and ecommerce platform where you sell your products.
How listing quality has a flywheel effect on your business
Every sales transaction begins with a product listing. In the customer journey, the listing is what sets the tone for how they experience your brand. Listings shape your buyers’ expectations. High-quality listings create a flywheel effect with a positive impact far beyond those first impressions, and this is where Zentail focuses a lot of their attention.
Here’s how it breaks down:
- Higher quality listings – these have unique copy and are properly categorized, with all the required and optional attributes completed
- Better rankings – top-quality listings have a positive effect on search rankings, and show more often in filtered results
- More sales – greater visibility to shoppers naturally leads to higher sales
- Better customer experiences – your listings will be easier to navigate and understand, so customers can find what they need
- Fewer returns – accurate, detailed listings that answer questions upfront help reduce complaints and returns
- More five-star reviews – happier customers mean more positive reviews, which will strengthen your listing even more
On the flip side, weak listings can have an adverse effect: search rankings fall, sales decline and customers can easily become frustrated due to misaligned expectations.
If you’re going to invest in any sales channel, focus your attention on listing quality right from the start. If a listing begins in good shape with complete and accurate information, you are all set to generate sales, build reviews and improve your search ranking.
How Zentail automates high-quality listings
When it comes to multichannel ecommerce, sellers rely on their listing solution to take their product data and feed it to their selected marketplaces. Because channel requirements differ, it is largely on the seller to understand marketplace taxonomies, attributes, formats and requirements, while staying on top of every time a channel changes attributes or establishes new requirements.
This is a time-consuming and error-prone approach to listing, and can often result in poor quality listings, marketplace warnings for misclassified products, and products that go unnoticed and unsold.
Finding the sweet spot between speed, quality, and cost is very difficult but this is exactly what Zentail aims to do. It has an AI-powered, largely automated system, and offers some clear advantages to help build quality listings.
The platform is built on four key cornerstones:
1. Automated product data mapping
Zentail has a system known as SMART Types, which automatically creates optimized listings for each marketplace. It does this by using a complete, accurate data mapping of both basic and advanced attributes that covers every supported sales channel and is always up to date. This is no small feat, given that there are tens of thousands of attributes, categories, and valid values across all the available marketplaces.
Sellers only need to load product data into Zentail once, then SMART Types automatically categorizes and maps data to the right fields on listings in all the marketplaces you choose. By avoiding the need to specify categories and attributes for every marketplace, Zentail says sellers can get their products listed ten times faster.
Sellers save time since they don’t have to learn new marketplace requirements, upload the same product to multiple marketplaces individually, or reformat data by hand. By quickly adding channels and products with optimized listings through a single front-end, multichannel scalability becomes straightforward.
2. Universal change management
If product requirements for, say, shoes suddenly change in a marketplace, it can be difficult to stay compliant when a seller is managing multiple channels. SMART Types adapts to these changes automatically. It understands the new requirements, remaps what is needed in the system, and most of the time can do this with no work required from the seller. If there’s a new piece of information required for compliance, the software notifies the seller so they can quickly fill it in and keep sales going without a hitch.
The change management feature is also valuable when entering a newer sales channel. Marketplaces often launch with basic attribute requirements that grow over time to improve user experience or search or other platform functions. The SMART Types system will automatically keep up with the changes, so your multichannel listings will always be compliant.
3. Intuitive user interface
Zentail’s UI is designed for intuitive ease-of-use, with numerous one-click solutions built-in. The system is designed for rapid onboarding, allowing sellers to begin multichannel within days of sign-up. The SMART types and inventory tools are activated at the flip of a switch, and will import and sync listings and inventory across channels.
Integrations with inventory management solutions, shippers and 3PLs allow seamless data flows through Zentail to keep sellers on track about their business. Zentail acts as a “central command console,” and is where sellers can manage listings, channels, inventory, order routing, business rules, and reporting from one location.
Notifications are designed for high visibility, and time has been spent reducing the number of clicks it takes to get things done. In short, it’s a complex platform designed to be exceedingly simple to use.
4. Proactive customer support
Zentail provides live human support with 30-minute response times. With so many different parts of the multichannel ecommerce business automated through the software, the Zentail team draws on their experience as sellers themselves, consultants to hundreds of successful companies, and as strategic partners to the sales channels to help support their users.
Support also works proactively within the platform by notifying sellers right away of any issues that need to be corrected. Guided implementation is given to new customers. A thorough audit and cleaning of the data is a focus of the implementation to set a foundation for strong listings. Sellers also have the opportunity to add channels or integrations during this time, as well as train team members on the platform. Zentail’s goal is for every one of their sellers to start listing live products within the first 30 days.
Where did Zentail come from?
Zentail began life in May 2013, as a group of friends looking to sell products online. After earning $500 in sales in the first month, they quickly encountered a common problem: everything they sold had product data issues.
This problem became unbearable, so they turned their attention to building their own automated system for resolving data errors and inconsistencies. Their solution involved linking together data from multiple sources and centralizing everything from product listings to inventory. By December 2013, they were earning close to $500,000 in sales per month.
When Jet.com launched in 2015, the Zentail founding team quickly became a top five seller, which attracted the interest of Jet’s executive team. They wanted to know how this new business could achieve such a large sales volume while big brands struggled with data quality issues and filling orders. The answer, of course, was the system they had built to address exactly these problems.
It was then that Jet asked if Zentail’s founding team would share their solution with other sellers. Realizing that opening up their technology to others would mean devoting their full attention to development and support, Zentail closed their store and became a software-as-a-service (SaaS) business within a month. They found support and investment through Silicon Valley’s Y-Combinator program.
By partnering with companies with well-established advantages in branding, manufacturing, and supply chain, Zentail found they could leverage their multichannel technology and make a greater impact in the ecommerce ecosystem.
What kind of sellers use Zentail?
Zentail works with a wide range of businesses in the US, and supports several major marketplace channels. There’s an emphasis on Amazon and Walmart, because Zentail wants to keep their customers optimized in the places where they’re making the most sales. Other supporting marketplaces include eBay, Google Shopping, Facebook Marketplace, and Wish, with more to come in the future.
The software also integrates with leading shopping carts Shopify, BigCommerce, and Magento. Finally, there are integrations with shippers, 3PLs, warehouse management systems and more.
In terms of ideal customers, Zentail is looking to work with sellers:
- In the mid-market size range
- Who are brands or authorized resellers doing at least million dollars in sales
- Who value and care about their product data
- Who are dedicated to expanding their business on multiple channels
How do sellers get started with Zentail?
Interested sellers should reach out to the team at Zentail.com. From there, they’ll discuss your goals and requirements while understanding your workflow, integrations and pain points. A demo gives sellers the chance to view the user interface and experience the platform’s automation.
For those who are aligned with the software’s capabilities and tiered pricing plan, they’ll then move on to the implementation process mentioned earlier. The ultimate goal of this process, beyond having teams fully trained on the software, is for product data to be thoroughly cleaned, workflows established, products listed and sales orders flowing in. For many sellers, there is no additional set up needed beyond this initial onboarding period.
Is Zentail right for you?
Zentail’s goal is to make adding a channel on its software so automated that it becomes as simple as adding a friend on social media. In the near term, Newegg will be the next new marketplace for Zentail subscribers.
Multichannel management software is a crowded space in the ecommerce industry, with scores of providers battling for attention. Zentail occupies a unique position, with its focus on listing quality and a genuine enthusiasm to work with sellers who it can really help grow, not just anyone who wants to sign up.
Zentail has innovative technology with its SMART Types system and proactive approach to marketplace changes, along with a refined user interface and knowledgeable support staff. If your brand has found success on one channel and you are ready to expand your horizons, Zentail might be exactly the partner you need.
This article was sponsored by Zentail.