Are you ready to maximize your holiday ecommerce sales? Below are our best tips to make more money from multi-channel selling this holiday season.
Black Friday has officially sparked the beginning of the holiday season. This time of year can represent up to 40% of overall sales for retailers. So, it’s not surprising that the name ‘Black Friday’ was coined because it is often the first time that retailers make a profit (leaving the red and entering the black!).
Understandably this can be a stressful time of year for retailers, but ultimately a very rewarding one as well. It’s an especially rewarding time for retailers who take advantage of in multi-channel selling.
It’s no secret that the number one reason that retailers sell on multiple channels is to increase sales. Today, there are many shoppers who choose to go straight to marketplaces like eBay and Amazon to order goods. Merchants who sell on these marketplaces and embrace shopping trends are reaping rewards.
For merchants who sell on a single channel, it’s the equivalent of turning up at a race track and lumping all bets on the first horse you see. You wouldn’t do that, would you? You’d hedge your bets and spread them out throughout the day. Putting your whole business and livelihood on one channel is a risk.
Why multi-channel sales are important
As a retailer it’s understandable that you may be hesitant to add a new sales channel, especially during a busy period. If you are looking to expand on to Amazon or eBay for example, there will be an increase in seller fees and you will have to do a degree of competitor analysis. However, the extra exposure you will receive from Amazon and eBay will generate more revenue for you.
Research from Web Retailer showed that four times as many Amazon Sellers made a million as opposed to eBay sellers. This can lead to the preconception that eBay is just a site for part time sellers. The same study, however, showed that 10% of eBay sellers made a average profit margin of 50% or more, whereas the same figure for Amazon sellers was just 5.6%. So, both are valid propositions for any online seller.
Get out of your comfort zone
If you run your own online store, you may be reluctant to step out of your comfort zone and start multi-channel selling. When it comes to the packaging and shipping of your goods, you create the rules and selling on other marketplaces means you will have to adhere to their rules.
In particular, Amazon can be quite strict and a few errors could possibly lead you to you getting your seller account suspended. Amazon is very particular about delivery times, so insuring your inventory is correct across all your channels is paramount. Check out this article on how to avoid punishments on Amazon and eBay.
DIY SEO rookie mistakes to avoid
The biggest mistake that people make once they decide to start multi-channel selling is that they list their products exactly the same across all sites.
Google hates duplicate content, so avoid this. Duplication will become an issue when listing your items. Look to include brand names and part numbers on sites like eBay and Amazon, as people will search for these. Whereas on your site you could list multiple items under a brand.
Cross marketing helps increase sales
A massive 63% of people said they only sell on marketplaces like eBay and Amazon. The problem with only selling on third party sites is that it is incredibly hard to build a fanbase and have customers buy into your company.
With ecommerce platforms like Shopify simplifying the market, it has become significantly easier for even the least tech-savvy individuals to set up their own site. With monthly fees also starting as low as $14, it would be silly not to have your own site on Shopify as well.
Let’s say, for example, you sell dresses on a third party site. When you get a sale, you could include a flyer in the package with an offer directing them to your website. That way you avoid future selling fees and also turn those customers into fans. It is worth noting that this tactic isn’t allowed if you use Amazon FBA, but it’s ok if you send the goods yourself.
Technology has now empowered customers to research and choose which channels are most convenient for them to buy from. Therefore as a business, you must be looking to follow customers wherever they go and identify emerging sales channels. Examples of additional sites for multi-channel selling include Rakuten, Etsy and Notonthehighstreet.com.
The importance of a physical store
Throughout the last decade the greater transparency between online stores and customers has vastly improved. Sites offering free returns, 1-day shipping and customer reviews to establish trust has led to online retail increasing by an average of $50 billion year on year.
However the importance of offline sales can’t be ignored. The increasing popularity of ‘pop-up shops’ appears to be gathering pace in 2015 and even giants like Amazon have opened a bricks and mortar store.
Business 2 Community recently quizzed shoppers on omni-channel shopping to which 50% said they would expect to able to purchase online and then pick up in-store. A further 71% said that the ability to view in-store inventory information was very important.
So the questions are, have you looked into setting up a physical store? Would you consider a pop-up shop? Are there any trade show events you could attend? Is your warehouse suitable for customers? If so, any of these options gives you a great possibility of increasing footfall sales and humanising your brand.
Make your life easier
At this point this might be a lot to take in. You may start to wonder how you can effectively go from one channel, to multiple channels including a physical store.
Asking questions such as, how do I process these orders when I receive them? How do I manage my shipping and label printing across all these channels? How can I avoid overselling across my channels, or equally, running out of stock that I’ve displayed as being available? That’s where a good inventory management software system comes in.
This will allow retailers to manage their purchase orders, inventory, shipping, accounts and profit reports across all of their sales channels, in one centralised place. Not only will this save you a great amount of time but it will lead to an increase in sales and allow you to spend more time on the things that matter in your business.
Richard Protheroe is a content marketing executive at Veeqo, who provide inventory management software for retailers.