Today’s online consumers have endless options for where and how to spend their money, given that the ecommerce landscape is overflowing with multiple marketplaces, small business storefronts, subscription services, and in-app purchases on social media sites. But this vast ecosystem of digital sales channels has made consumers accustomed to brands coming to them — that is, meeting them where they’re already shopping, rather than funneling them to a single channel. In other words, your best customers aren’t always on the lookout for your brand, which is why it’s so important to diversify your ecommerce sales via multichannel selling.
What is multichannel ecommerce?
Multichannel ecommerce is the practice of selling products or services on more than one channel online. Whereas traditional multichannel selling involved promoting products through catalogs and brick-and-mortar stores, ecommerce brands can now list their goods on a variety of digital platforms and marketplaces. Experienced retailers know that selling on multiple channels is the best way to get their products in front of the largest customer base possible, which really helps them stand out within the crowded and competitive world of ecommerce.
Why selling on multiple channels is a must in 2021
Simply put, selling on multiple ecommerce channels allows you to reach more potential customers — which translates to more sales, as well. That’s because the majority of consumers are online shopping across a number of channels, and utilizing several touchpoints before they reach the final point of sale. These multichannel (or omnichannel) shoppers are important for ecommerce sellers to target, considering they often spend more money than consumers who shop exclusively in-person or from a single online store.
In addition, multichannel ecommerce brings about increased product visibility, greater brand awareness, and reduced risk through selling diversification. This last point is an advantage that’s often overlooked, but it truly provides security to your business as a whole. With a multichannel strategy, you don’t have to worry as much about marketplaces’ changing their policies, or having your listing abruptly removed. Instead, the more channels your brand sells with, the more protected your entire business should a problem arise on one of your channels.
11 multichannel ecommerce software solutions
Selling with multiple marketplaces provides an opportunity to reach a wider range of consumers, safeguard your brand, and increase your online sales. With that said, expanding your presence to a myriad of new channels will require a greater investment of your company’s time and resources. Fortunately, the following ecommerce management software solutions can automate and streamline your product listings across multiple channels with ease.
1. Inventory Management: Extensiv Order Manager
Extensiv was designed to synchronize fulfillment, inventory, and product intelligence, giving consumer brands a holistic view into their multichannel operations. Extensiv Order Manager’s robust product functionality automates redundancies and allows ecommerce stores to sell on multiple sales channels, while managing product inventory, purchase orders, and fulfillment at the same time.
Using Extensiv Order Manager's unique Orderbot technology, retailers can apply automations for repetitive tasks related to warehousing, order fulfillment, inventory management, and more. And all of this happens across a large network of sales channels, from marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Walmart, to ecommerce-hosted platforms like Shopify, Magento, or BigCommerce.
2. Product Information Management: StoreAutomator
StoreAutomator is one of the best product information management (PIM) and repricing tools on the market. This cloud-based platform offers advanced multichannel listing functionality that has a direct impact on digital sales growth. StoreAutomator’s primary features include things like description and title templates, channel-based overriding, and alias (or alternate) SKUs.
Using StoreAutomator’s multichannel listing software, retailers can take full control of their product catalog and pricing, and create effective product listings within one unified dashboard.
3. Inventory Analytics: Daasity
Daasity is the first (and only) data analytics software built exclusively for direct-to-consumer brands. This system connects with the top DTC-specific SaaS platforms to propel strategic outcomes and help brands unlock data-driven growth. By partnering with Daasity, companies have a clear view into product performance across every channel to maximize profits, cut down on costs, and boost revenue in a big way. The Daasity platform combines critical product data from Shopify, Amazon, Retail POS, and other sales channels for a seamless, streamlined view.
4. Ecommerce Logistics: DCL Logistics
DCL Logistics is a fulfillment and logistics company that supports ecommerce brands with direct-to-consumer fulfillment, business-to-retail fulfillment, international shipping, and more. This modern 3PL leverages four decades of operational expertise and experience, and its extensive suite of services allows companies to scale without sacrificing on quality or customer satisfaction. Their portfolio of outsourced multichannel fulfillment and supply chain support also includes transportation management, reverse logistics, and Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA).
5. Demand forecasting: Inventory Planner
Inventory Planner is a leader in inventory control and forecasting, and was built to optimize cashflow and reclaim time wasted on manual inventory management. The Inventory Planner system is great for tackling replenishment challenges, seeing as online merchants can utilize their current inventory data (based on sales trends and vendor lead times). In addition, this platform empowers ecommerce retailers to manage purchase orders and view their inventory needs for omnichannel selling across the likes of Shopify, Amazon, and more.
6. Systems Integrator: PackageBee
PackageBee integrations automate order fulfillment workflows, by replacing time-consuming and error-prone manual processes. The software from PackageBee lets online sellers and omnichannel merchants connect their stores to warehouses and fulfillment providers, meaning they can avoid the hassle of building and maintaining their own integrations. With PackageBee, you can save time and sync your operations with more than 120 external systems, ecommerce platforms, online marketplaces, or even secure custom integrations with advanced features.
7. Support and CRM Software: eDesk
eDesk is the sole help desk specifically designed to meet the needs of multichannel sellers. The eDesk system organizes easy-to-manage tickets, and combines them with each customer’s order history, message history, and shipping information. By consolidating customer support enquiries into one centralized dashboard, eDesk users save countless hours each day. Plus, eDesk connects all the platforms you’re already using to sell and fulfill orders — from marketplaces like Amazon and Walmart, to web stores like Shopify and Magento.
8. Barcode Inventory System: Scout topShelf
Thanks to Scout’s convenient topShelf inventory management software, multichannel retailers can enjoy visibility and validation on every single order. This platform has a range of useful features, like barcode scanning, work order management, RFID technology, and dynamic reporting. Moreover, the topShelf system supports companies in managing their entire product catalog, by generating barcode labels for specific products and printing directly from a mobile device. Any business who wants inventory control (from anywhere) can benefit from Scout.
9. Customer Returns: Returnly
Returnly works with ecommerce merchants to give instant credit to shoppers who make returns — and it’s the only platform that allows customers to receive the right item before returning the wrong one. Today’s consumers prioritize speed and efficiency, which is why Returnly uses financial technology to help DTC brands offer the instant and seamless returns experience that their shoppers expect. What’s more, Returnly can readily integrate with Extensiv for enhanced performance and an exceptional post-purchase experience within a multichannel landscape.
10. Accounting Software: QuickBooks Online
QuickBooks Online knows that once you decide to sell products on multiple channels, you’ll face the challenge of completing accounting tasks for your different channels, as well. But with the cloud-based accounting software from QBO, ecommerce retailers can greatly reduce the amount of hours spent managing their finances. QuickBooks helps product-based businesses with a whole range of tasks, from creating invoices to tracking sales and cashflow — and it even syncs with top ecommerce apps like Amazon, Etsy, Google Shopping, and WooCommerce.
11. Feed Management: DataFeedWatch
DataFeedWatch is a leading feed marketing and PPC automation solution available in over 60 countries and across 2000+ eCommerce channels with the goal of helping agencies, retailers, and online merchants grow, both locally and globally. With DataFeedWatch you can create fully optimized product feeds based on your existing data and then send them to channels like Google, Facebook, Instagram, and more. It’s a perfect tool to manage the performance of thousands of products across multiple channels.
11 tips for multichannel ecommerce marketing
There’s ample advice and insights out there about multichannel ecommerce marketing, but unfortunately, so much of this information is either obsolete or ineffective. To truly gain a competitive edge, online retailers need to supercharge their multichannel marketing strategy with advanced measures that add value to the overall buying experience. The following tips and tactics are not only practical, they’re also easy to execute without relying on outside help.
1. Use dynamic retargeting across your channels
Ecommerce retargeting is an approach to advertising that enables you to display product ads to customers who’ve already visited your site. Displaying banner ads to previous visitors can significantly bring down your cart abandonment rate, while simultaneously pulling in higher conversions, as well. You can use retargeting on Facebook to reach consumers who liked a product on your page, or you can send retargeted emails that remind shoppers of their wish list (or a discounted product they recently looked up on your site). Ideally, you’d want to set up retargeting for every channel possible, for maximum effect and more immediate results.
2. Contextualize your marketing message for each channel’s audience
Contextualizing your marketing message is about personalizing your communication across multiple channels — and yet, that doesn't imply delivering your message in the exact same way on every medium. Rather, it involves sending out marketing messages based on each consumer’s interests, browsing habits, and buying behavior, while ensuring the value you offer remains consistent across all channels.
For example, Extensiv provides multichannel inventory management and innovative ERP software to high-volume merchants, which is why we contextualize our offers for the omnichannel marketing strategy to better reach prospective retailers.
3. Synergize your marketing and sales across channels
Your goal with multichannel ecommerce marketing is to promote the same product across different channels, but with a twist. To do this, you can direct each product’s purchase link to a different sales channel, similar to what you did in the previous step to personalize the offer. This method typically works quite well, since a lot of consumers are motivated to buy from their favorite marketing medium over other sales channels.
Additionally, to avoid channel fatigue and foster positive, ongoing relationships with buyers, you're wise to refresh your sales offer on a regular basis, and gear marketing resources so that they really align with customers’ expectations.
4. Integrate Facebook ratings and reviews across other channels
There’s no doubt Facebook ratings and reviews are hot these days, and some even consider them to be more effective than customer testimonials on a website. What’s surprising, however, is that the majority of ecommerce stores who practice multichannel marketing don’t utilize Facebook ratings and reviews on other selling channels — which means this is an incredible chance for you to capitalize on their influence.
You can opt to display Facebook ratings and reviews on your main website, in your company emails, or in the content you post to third-party sites. And although these reviews don’t appear in search listings, their authenticity still makes them hard to ignore.
5. Market to prospects, not channels
It’s much too easy to get carried away with multichannel marketing; after all, you can promote products to people on any given channel, which ultimately allows you to drive new leads. But modern ecommerce customers are pretty savvy, and they don’t appreciate being thought of as ‘just another lead.’ So rather than trying to reach people on every channel, why not reach out to them as an individual you actually know?
This is where you can take advantage of CRM software (like HubSpot Enterprise) to aid in your multichannel marketing initiatives. With HubSpot, you can create user profiles the moment a customer responds on a channel, and then the program will update this profile with each interaction (meaning you can launch targeted campaigns that increase your sales).
6. Leverage user-generated content
The best marketing you can ever leverage for a multichannel campaign is user-generated content and word-of-mouth publicity. For instance, you can collect video reviews of your products from various clients, and then feature them on your website or newsletters to deliver a strong message backed by social proof. To collect enough user-generated content, put a creative spin on things by prompting customers to share how they use your product on their personal Instagram account (and have them include your company name in the hashtag).
Customers who participate can be entered in a competition for a giveaway; the winners should be featured on multiple channels in real-time to generate additional buzz and brand awareness.
7. Consider event-triggered marketing
Event-triggered marketing is where the actions of people on one channel determine what type of marketing they’ll be exposed to on another channel. So when a customer abandons the shopping cart on your site, it might trigger a follow-up email containing incentives to complete their purchase. The benefit of event-triggered marketing is that once it’s set up and tested for efficiency, it’s a quick and cost-effective method for increasing response.
To take this approach further, try accessing the value of the customer and then using the most appropriate event-trigger marketing medium to encourage conversion. A loyal customer might receive a direct phone call, whereas anyone with a basic inquiry can be reached via email.
8. Link channels together
Did you know you can market to a much broader audience when you integrate the channels you’re currently using? Take social media, for example. Social networks allow for easy sharing across different channels like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and more. You can use this knowledge to your advantage by adding social buttons throughout your website. Moreover, you can extend your visual branding by setting up your social media handles. Social media handle is a public username followed by an @ symbol, like @skubana_erp. It's an easier way for people to find you and communicate with you. Want to know if your social username is available? Try this checker from BrandSnag.
Lastly, you can also integrate email with other channels, since your content management platform might already have a plugin or two that’ll embed forms for email capture. And social media integrates with email marketing, too! You can include the sign-up or call-to-action button in your adverts, or create a tab for the same purpose on your Facebook page. This integration gives you a chance to grow your email list when one of your marketing campaigns goes viral.
9. Align email and social media efforts
There are tons of ways to integrate your email and social media efforts, like monitoring how prospects interact with your Facebook page or LinkedIn ads, and then delivering customized email campaigns based on engagement levels. If a segment of your audience doesn’t show interest, you can follow up with a softer campaign that educates them about your company.
On the other hand, if there’s a portion of your audience that’s engaging with multiple posts, you can create an email with a clear call-to-action to move them closer to conversion inside your funnel. While pursuing this strategy, you can also create audience segments to make it easier for you to know which email campaigns should be delivered to which subset.
10. Bank on your site’s internal search data
If you haven’t started using your site’s internal search data to enhance your marketing campaigns, prioritize this move as soon as possible. This is the one place where your site visitors tell you what they want and how they want you to communicate your offering; using your search data, you can actually repurpose your marketing across multiple channels.
If you find that Product X is the most searched product on your site, but it generates lower revenue than Product Y (with fewer searches), you can improve the marketing of X to convert better. Alternatively, you could discontinue Product X altogether, and make sure your email, Facebook, and website marketing focuses heavily on the high revenue item instead.
11. Get specialist influencers for every channel
As an ecommerce business owner, you can work with social media influencers — like known YouTubers or Instagram celebrities — to gain multichannel marketing traction. These individuals have expertise aligned to the channel where they have a following, which means they can really help you to reach a wider audience. For example, if your company sells luxury makeup, you can collaborate with Instagram makeup artists or other accounts with knowledge about the manufacturing process. (The latter can even contribute to your site’s FAQ page).
Each channel’s influencers have something to offer in their own right; play to their strengths to see more conversions from your multichannel marketing strategy, or look into platform-specific programs, like Amazon's influencer program.
Let’s face it: even the best marketing teams can only drive so much traffic through a single sales channel. But the good news is, adding more channels to your digital portfolio will introduce shoppers to your brand throughout their buying journey, promote brand awareness in a memorable way, drive more visitors to every channel, and boost ROI on your total ad spend.
At Extensiv, we understand the challenges involved in developing a multichannel marketing strategy. Our multichannel inventory management system ensures you’re able to maintain control of your stock and satisfy customer demand on multiple channels. By partnering with Extensiv and leveraging the ecommerce marketing tips mentioned above, you’ll benefit from multichannel synergies that bring improvement to both your revenue and brand perception.