Category Archives: All About Multichannel

Articles on all the challenges, opportunities and trends in multichannel selling.

Multi-Channel Retailing in 2018: More Channels, More Challenges

Road junction representing multi-channel selling

This post is by Katherine Khoo, Managing Director at ecommerce and inventory platform iPages.

2018 is the year of multi-channel retailing. With over half of all product searches in the U.S. and U.K. starting on Amazon, it’s no wonder that retailers are swiftly changing their strategies to include multiple sales platforms.

Most of us will be tempted to think of simply selling through marketplaces (Amazon/eBay) when we think about multi-channel. However, there are far more ways to get our product into the hands of consumers. There’s Amazon Vendor, for example, and also social shopping on Facebook and Instagram, and voice search with Amazon Echo and Google Home.

One in four households now own a voice-controlled assistant, and Instagram shopping is a buzzing new channel with massive potential. So what does this mean for multi-channel retailing in the year ahead? And what are the challenges of selling on these diverse new channels, which are growing so dramatically in 2018?

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Marketplaces Are Horrible, So Why Do We Sell On Them?

Every day marketplace sellers deal with returns abuse, unfair metrics, rude buyers and declining sales. Why do they put up with it?

Readers’ Questions are in partnership with Emanaged and Online Seller Consulting.

Question

We have been selling smartphones, tablets and accessories on our website, eBay and Amazon for almost 3 years now. Our sales were very good last year but now they have almost halved. We are also opening our first outlet store in about a week’s time.

Let’s begin with eBay, where some buyers abuse loopholes in the money back guarantee to return damaged items which were delivered in full working order.

Now we come to Amazon which is an even bigger problem. We have four main issues:

  1. Other sellers on our listings keep changing the product details, meaning that the listing no longer matches our product. We only find out when buyers complain.
  2. Buyers are allowed to open A-Z claims up to 90 days after purchasing an item, but can also do it after 6 months and get a full refund!
  3. Amazon penalizes small sellers for a few invalid returns, negative feedback and A-Z claims when there are hundreds of other orders without any problem.
  4. Unlike eBay, buyers do not bother to leave feedback. The only time they will leave feedback is when they are angry.

What can we do to tackle the issues mentioned above and increase our sales on eBay and Amazon?

– Salma G., Surrey

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Trying So Hard to Build a Multichannel Brand. What Should I Do Next?

Building a brand and selling on multiple channels is hard work. How do you pick the right channels? What about selling to bricks-and-mortar stores?

Readers’ Questions are in partnership with Emanaged and Online Seller Consulting.

Question

I’m a brand, selling workout accessories primarily on eBay but also in small amounts on Amazon and Groupon. I’ve been selling for two years now and I’m keen to expand onto further channels, I’m just not sure which marketplaces I should expand on to. Maybe Walmart?

My main goal is to sell more to customers in the long run. For the next few years I want to grow my brand and sell my products not only online but also in bricks-and-mortar stores. But should I focus on both, or just continue selling online for now?

At the moment, I feel like I’m trying very hard, but I’m currently a little lost about what to do next.

— Michael L., L.A.

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Diversify with Multiple Marketplaces, Your Own Store and Social Media

The main marketplaces are hyper-competitive and ultra-demanding. Is it time to protect your business by selling through multiple channels?

There’s no question that marketplaces like Amazon and eBay are powerful sales machines. Offer the right products at the right price, while keeping your service levels high, and the orders will roll in.

But competition is always fierce. Buyers don’t know who you are, so they will trust the marketplace to guide them to the best seller each time they make a purchase. That usually means whoever happens to be the cheapest. The marketplaces don’t play favorites.

Nor do they look after you. If you falter and stumble, they don’t pick you up and dust you down – they kick you out. It doesn’t take many complaints from their customers – the buyers – for you to become persona non grata.

What’s an online seller to do? How can you rise above the endless mass of competing sellers, all fighting to reach the top? The only way is to diversify and sell through multiple channels. Strike out independently as well, with a real, recognizable brand and your own social media following.

In this post I’ll walk you through the Marketplaces & Channels category of the Web Retailer directory. It covers marketplaces and other sales channels, shopping carts, tools for creating Facebook stores, tools for feeding existing listings through to social networks, and connector apps between marketplaces and store platforms.

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Multichannel Selling Through Online Marketplaces: Present and Future

Amazon dominates and eBay is transforming, while major new contenders and niche marketplaces emerge.

This post is by Linda Chew, Marketing Director at Jazva, a leading provider of cloud-based ecommerce solutions for online merchants.

Multichannel selling is going strong and no retailer wants to be left behind. While multichannel selling offers unlimited possibilities, it also poses challenges for the online seller.

Retailers today can set up shop in so many places, but not all channels will be ideal for their business. Retailers must consider a range of factors, including marketplace policies, hosting fees, operational complications, and different buying behaviors, among others, when approaching marketplace expansion.

U.S. ecommerce currently accounts for 8.4% of total retail sales, and it is consistently trending upwards and outpacing the growth of physical store sales. But it still has plenty of room for expansion. Forrester predicts that ecommerce will reach $523 billion in sales by 2020 in the U.S.

Most of this growth will be driven by third-party sellers on online marketplaces, particularly Amazon and eBay, the two marketplaces that make up about 95% of marketplace sales in the U.S. In fact, 65% of online shoppers feel comfortable purchasing from merchants they never heard of before on these marketplaces.

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