Creating your futureproof multichannel eCommerce strategy

4 mins

More people are shopping in more places, and your eCommerce brand needs to be there with them. Making sure your products get seen and bought demands a thorough multichannel retail approach.

What is multichannel eCommerce?

A sales channel is any digital or physical medium people can use to buy your products. Marketplaces like Amazon, your own site, social media, brick-and-mortar stores; all sales channels. Multichannel eCommerce is about more than simply selling on two or more channels. It’s about creating a cohesive strategy where activity on one channel supports another.

Customers want to see that coherence. 90% say they’re put off buying if a brand experience feels inconsistent between channels. And the vast majority of customers look at more than one channel before they buy. A product seen in stores might be revisited on social media, then bought online days later. The more touchpoints you’re working, the more chances you have to close that sale.

Marketers in general seem to agree with this logic. 52% of them use at least three or four channels, which can boost purchases by 287% compared to single-channel campaigns.

Multichannel eCommerce vs omnichannel: What’s the difference?

Multichannel and omnichannel eCommerce are very different. With multichannel, you’re simply selling in more than one place. With omnichannel, you’re synchronising supply and analytics data between channels so they almost form one entity.

Some more key differences:

·        Multichannel focuses on the product, omnichannel focuses on customers’ needs and behaviours

·        Multichannel keeps channels separate, omnichannel integrates them as closely as possible

·        Multichannel works with existing customer experiences, omnichannel creates new cross-platform ones

The pros and cons of multichannel eCommerce

While multichannel doesn’t integrate your online and offline presences to the same extent as omnichannel, it’s still not easy. Getting it right means balancing multiple channels, often with very different best practice requirements.

Why multichannel retail is great for eCommerce brands

·        You can access a huge, established potential audience simply by expanding to one popular new channel

·        These new channels often have powerful inbuilt search and analytics capabilities

·        Brand awareness gets boosted when people start seeing your messages in more than one place

·        You cover more of the buyer journey by being present at more than one touchpoint

·        Bigger audiences mean more sales opportunities and more revenue!

The challenges of nailing multichannel in 2024

·        The newest, shiniest platform isn’t always the one that’s best for you. It can take trial and error to get the right mix

·        Properly establishing a presence on a new platform can be costly, and you won’t always get that money back quickly (or at all)

·        Competition is fierce on every channel; beware spreading your efforts too thin across too many touchpoints

·        Attributing a sale to a channel gets harder as your presence grows, it takes more time and effort to track results

Takeaway: A careful balancing act that nets big rewards

Stepping into a new sales channel can bring dramatic benefits to your brand and help you scale faster. But without a solid strategy, that growth can meander and lose its way. Leverage all your knowledge of your customer to find the right message for the right moment.

ChannelSight can help you synchronise and optimise operations across the world’s biggest sales channels. We’ll help you understand your customers even better, and create the experiences they crave.

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