For ecommerce retailers looking to grow their business, expansion inevitably means selling products through multiple channels. These channels might be different marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay or international platforms; or independent store builders like Shopify, Magento, or BigCommerce.
Moving your business to a multichannel model can be profitable, but it’s not simple. There are many issues to work out before you fully reap the rewards. Listings must be created, inventory and orders managed, and logistics planned, every time a new channel is added.
For a large business with plenty of resources, expanding to multichannel selling can be a major project involving many different departments. For a small business without those resources, multichannel selling can be so complex and time-consuming that it is easier to avoid entirely.
However, multichannel ecommerce is not impossible for small businesses. The key is to find a way to add new channels without having to set everything up from scratch and then also multiplying the amount of ongoing work required. Multichannel management software does exactly that. Expandly has been specifically designed for small businesses to help them manage products, listings, orders, inventory, shipping carriers, accounting software, and reporting over multiple sales channels, with no more effort than it takes to sell on one channel.
Let’s take a deeper look and see how Expandly provides small businesses with advanced multichannel management features that take large businesses months or years to put in place.
What problems does Expandly solve for sellers?
Expandly handles product listings, order management, inventory management, shipping, reporting and accounting. It integrates directly with marketplaces, shopping carts, shipping carriers and accounting software, streamlining and automating key processes. This saves time, increases speed and accuracy, and reduces errors. Businesses can focus on growing sales rather than hiring staff to handle repetitive manual tasks.
One of the most common issues Expandly solves for sellers is sales order management linked to its Live Inventory feature. Stock levels are kept in sync across channels in real time. This makes it easy to accurately see where your orders are, and how many items you have in stock, at any time across all your channels. It also prevents overselling and the impact on marketplace performance metrics that results from cancelling orders.
By offering a single front-end, Expandly prevents the duplication of effort needed to manage products across multiple channels. It changes product-related tasks like listing creation and updates, or managing product bundles and variations, from a unique process repeated on every sales channel to a “do it once and walk away” solution.
Expandly’s integration into the popular Xero accounting software solves the ever-present issue of data entry errors occurring between sales and accounting. A 3PL integration makes it easy for logistics companies to share sales and product information for order fulfillment purposes.
Who does Expandly work with?
Expandly was designed to benefit small to medium-sized ecommerce retailers. As such, the two ideal users of their software platform are:
- Growing ecommerce retailers who are already selling on at least one channel and are aggressively looking to grow by selling on more channels.
- Those looking to start a new e-retailing business, selling products direct-to-consumers.
Expandly also has products targeted at multichannel ecommerce sellers who use the Xero accounting software, and for 3PLs to coordinate with their customers who use Expandly.
Sellers on four major marketplaces – Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Wish – are supported by Expandly’s platform, as well as 25+ shopping carts including Shopify, WooCommerce, and Magento. It’s interesting to note the presence of Etsy and Wish, as these are less commonly supported by multichannel management solutions.
Unlike many of their competitors, Expandly is able to integrate with Etsy’s notoriously difficult API and handle all the data flow needed for handmade products and craft supplies.
What does Expandly offer?
Expandly realizes that different customers have different needs depending on their size, rate of growth, future plans, and other factors. To meet those different needs, Expandly has developed a range of products that offer flexibility to different kinds of users.
The multichannel management solution
The main Expandly ecommerce software platform offers capabilities to sellers in:
Product listings – Create and upload listings to multiple sales channels, bulk uploads, manage listings across multiple channels.
Order management – View status of all orders from multiple channels on a single screen, track orders while you pick, pack, and ship.
Inventory management – Live inventory synching across multiple channels to prevent overselling, manage inventory including bundles and variations.
Shipping – Print shipping labels, invoices and other paperwork in bulk for rapid shipping, connect and integrate with supported carriers and 3PLs.
Reports and accounting – Create reports and access data to help monitor channel performance, understand product sales, and manage inventory; integrate to Xero or export as CSV.
Ultimately, Expandly allows sellers to list products, manage sales orders, control inventory, fulfill shipping, evaluate metrics, and update accounting across all their sales channels. It’s an impressive breadth of services that would benefit a smaller business looking for a way to easily and cost-effectively manage these business processes.
Expandly is a subscription service available in three tiers: Standard, Premium, and Enterprise. Each offers different levels of service, with the primary differences being in number of sales channels supported, orders per month allowed, number of SKUs, and number of permitted users.
The accounting solutions
Expandly’s accounting solutions, Expandly Xero and Expandly Xero Plus, have been built by accountants for accountants. They are effectively trimmed-down versions of the main product that allow users to sync sales orders from any linked channels through to Xero accounting.
While there are other apps available that can push data from ecommerce platforms and shopping carts to Xero, the reliability of those apps is often in question. Additionally, there are various complexities getting taxes properly imported and reconciled in Xero. Expandly’s solutions were designed to solve these issues.
Expandly Xero is an accounting connector only – set up your sales channels and it will push all your orders to Xero.
Expandly Xero Plus includes additional tax features, fee management, refund and return management, manual purchase orders, and other useful features.
The tax features allow you to build rules in Expandly, rather than individually on each sales channel. This allows greater flexibility than that on offer using the channels’ own systems. Rules can be customized based on a seller’s tax environment, regional rules, and products. This improves accounting accuracy and saves time.
Expandly’s Xero solutions are also very useful for people who use complex invoicing through Xero, and for those whose business has grown too big for Xero but aren’t ready to migrate their accounting to another solution. The comprehensive integrations essentially extend the life-span of Xero for sellers, so they can focus on business growth and not on changing their accounting package.
Expandly for 3PLs
This product is part of the Expandly premium package, and it’s an API that is made available to third-party logistics companies (3PLs). It integrates into the seller’s Expandly, and gives the 3PL access to product and order information. The data flows between the seller, 3PL and parcel carrier for inventory, shipping, and everything else needed for logistics.
For example, a connected 3PL can push new product data onto Expandly, but can also pull order data off it, and then push tracking information back on. This allows tracking data to be sent back onto the sales channel, which then notifies the customer. The overall connectivity and communication increases the efficiency of shipping, logistics, and inventory management for both parties.
What makes Expandly different?
Expandly offers some unique benefits:
- For customers that want to get going quickly, Expandly has built a rapid onboarding service that allows a new seller to start using the software very rapidly – in between an hour and a week, depending on how prepared the seller is for the transition.
- The main ecommerce management platform has been built and evolved with a focus on small and growing e-retailers, and it has been designed to be flexible to fit their needs.
- Expandly’s team is a blend of retailers and accountants, and the software has been built with a focus on those markets. All Expandly’s features have been designed with their input, so they are intuitive enough to learn without support – but support is available if needed.
- Expandly’s support team are all professionals in their fields. Customers not only get effective service and support, but also get the benefit of speaking with experienced pros who can contribute useful knowledge and solutions to their issues.
- The ability to integrate Xero accounting via both the main product and specialized accounting solutions offers businesses an easy and reliable way to keep their books in order.
Where did Expandly come from?
Expandly is a British company founded in 2013 and based in Milton Keynes. It was born out of the frustration of a seller trying to work with multiple sales channels simultaneously, which required logging into multiple channels each day to create new listings, process orders, and other repetitive tasks.
Identifying a gap in the market, the founding team built software that acts as a master platform between all of a retailer’s sales channels, allowing them to perform tasks once instead of repetitively across all their channels.
Today, Expandly has customers all around the world, with a strong base in the USA, UK and many other countries.
How do sellers get started with Expandly?
Sellers can book a demo and take advantage of a free 14-day trial period through the Expandly website. During the demo, an Expandly representative walks you through the platform and its features, and discusses what it can do for your business. The demo is optional, but offers a good introduction to the platform if you are thinking about signing up for the trial.
If you’re ready to get started straight away, you can sign up for the 14-day free trial. During the trial, you’ll be onboarded, set up, and able to try out everything before deciding if you want to commit to a paid subscription.
Big company capabilities for small businesses
As its users’ businesses grow, so does Expandly. Their future plans involve adding new and more powerful features into their software – including enhancements to inventory tracking, purchasing, listing and more. Expandly is constantly listening to what their customers want, and developing new features to meet their needs.
But here, in the present, Expandly offers great value for small to medium-sized sellers looking to grow their business over multiple channels and manage it in an easy, cost-effective way through a single solution.
By reducing duplication of effort, integrating with popular sales and accounting platforms, and providing an intuitive product with great support, Expandly offers big-company multichannel capabilities to small businesses in a cost-effective, flexible package.
This article was sponsored by Expandly.