A multichannel selling strategy is a great way to increase visibility and drive traffic for your business. Still, it’s important to be aware of the challenges of multichannel selling before jumping in. Implementing a multichannel strategy involves selling and promoting your products on multiple selling channels— for example, in addition to selling on your Shopify or BigCommerce store, you may also choose to sell on Amazon and eBay’s marketplaces. Increasing the number of channels you sell on will expose a wider range of consumers to your brand.
With this in mind, it is critical to be aware of the potential pitfalls of multichannel selling that may end up costing you. Be prepared for an increase in sales— ensure that your operations and inventory are able to handle the additional orders. Other challenges like inventory management and returns through different channels can be a hassle, but there are solutions to make them manageable.
Challenges of Multichannel Selling
Maintaining clear, consistent branding across selling channels can be a significant challenge. If you are, for example, looking to become verified as an Amazon Prime seller, there are some regulations you will need to follow. It’s important to maintain as many brand elements as possible despite any channel restrictions. Here are some key elements of branding to keep in mind when setting your business up on multiple channels:
- Logos and Imagery: Make sure any logos you use are high resolution and aligned with your current brand guidelines. Use product photos consistent with those on your website— the way you present your products is important for the consistency of your brand. Make sure to update any logos and product images on your various selling channels as you update them on your website.
- Product Descriptions and Messaging: Keep product descriptions consistent with those on your main website. Include all specs and relevant care instructions, as well as your shipping and returns policy. While shipping and returns may vary based on the selling channel, keeping the description of your product consistent will improve trust for your brand and products. Any messaging on your selling channels should utilize your brand’s unique voice and tone.
Keeping track of orders from different selling channels can be cumbersome and potentially lead to errors. A solution like ShipStation can automatically pull orders from any selling channel you use and display them in one hub. From here, you can use automation rules to apply shipping specifications that make the shipping process easier, more efficient, and error-free.
Overselling and Overstocking Inventory
While it is important to make sure you are ready for an influx of additional orders, there is a danger in possibly overstocking your inventory. On the other hand, there is also a possibility of overselling your products without the inventory to support the orders. Finding the right amount of inventory to produce or stock can be tricky. To start, begin adopting other channels slowly. If you can, begin to sell on one selling channel at a time. Take stock of how much you’re selling on each channel, and use that metric to prepare your inventory before jumping into another one.
Quality customer service is something customers will remember and value. When selling on multiple channels, it’s important to create as seamless of a customer service experience as possible. Using a solution like Zendesk can help you deliver an omnichannel support system to your customers. Offering availability through various channels including email, social, chat, and phone can bring ease to your team and your customers.
Returns are a reality of ecommerce. Making them as easy as possible for your customers can boost brand credibility and loyalty. However, providing a great returns experience can be complicated when you’re managing returns from multiple selling channels. Some selling channels, like Amazon, will have stricter returns guidelines for all merchants selling on their platform. Following any relevant guidelines and offering transparent messaging around your policies on each selling channel will set you and your customers up for success.
There are significant challenges to consider when implementing a multichannel strategy, but preparing correctly for them can set you up for expansive ecommerce growth. Solutions like ShipStation that help you manage information from various channels will help you avoid clumsy errors while you scale your business. Before going multichannel, consider how you will handle important issues like inventory regulation and return processes.