Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Up until now, the standard ecommerce model has really focused on one channel at a time. Ecommerce was about advertising your products on Google and shipping them to customers. Now, ecommerce means a lot more. When applied to selling on social media, search engines or marketplace platforms, the term “ecommerce” is the same, but the strategy is very, very different. Build a website for search-engine optimization and sell, set up a storefront on Etsy and sell, or generate a following on Instagram and sell. The old way focused on one channel; the new way is multi-channel.
As more businesses find success through a single-channel approach, they inevitably think about expanding and growing. Whether it’s planned well in advance or a more spontaneous reponse to customer demand, you need to be ready.
The days of selling on a single website or platform are over
There’s only so much one platform can offer a seller, but a business spread across multiple channels has a greater capacity for growth, less dependency on a single sales driver and more opportunity to stand out. If you don’t, your competitors will, and soon enough, they’ll crowd you out.
Running a multi-channel business comes with new challenges, but also more control of your business. In the past, committing to a single channel meant subjecting yourself to the ever-changing goals of the companies running it. Sellers have no input in policy changes regarding products, fees, international rules, algorithm updates and terms and conditions, so all your eggs in one basket end up broken when those changes affect your ability to sell. By selling through multiple channels, on the other hand, these changes have less of an impact.
A new set of challenges requires a new set of tools
A multi-channel solution brings new challenges to managing a business, which means investing in a new toolkit to keep it running at its best. Amazon, eBay and Etsy are three different platforms with their own rules, optimization strategies and agendas, but to the person running his or her company through several of these channels, it’s still a single business. As you transition from single- to multi-channel, you’ll need to figure out and organize the nuances of each.
Keep your business optimized for each channel through regular evaluation and by doing your research. Even small details like notifications, confirmations and customer-information storage will vary between platforms, so make sure you have a central system whenever possible. Your future marketing will depend on it.
Some sites may have rules regarding some customer data or prohibit inviting customers through one channel to partake in an offer available through another. Stay up-to-date on the benefits and costs tied to each channel and make sure you’re taking advantage of all the ways it can help your business.
Each channel requires its own approach
Not all platforms are created equal, and each will require a targeted approach based on whom it reaches — and in what way. The content you run on Tiktok will probably be different from that on your Instagram stories or posts. The person searching on Google is in a different buying frame of mind than someone browsing Instagram. Some marketplaces and channels are about deals and discounts while others are about service and aesthetics.
To better balance the needs of each channel, use available ecommerce technologies to your advantage. As more businesses expand to multi-channel operations, technology will continue to respond with programs that offer a competitive edge. At Ecwid, for example, we make it easy to have your ecommerce store syncing and working with Instagram, Facebook, Google and Amazon, managing it all from one dashboard. Investing in programs that streamline your business saves a lot of headaches down the road.
As new technology continues to facilitate the transition to multi-channel business, the ever-constant trend in successful ecommerce remains centered on customer experience. No matter how big your business grows, continue to be responsive, fair and transparent about customer service no matter which platform or channel someone found you on. Don’t be intimidated by new channels for growing your business; embrace them as new ways to showcase your brand and continue delivering amazing customer service. You’ll find the path to ecommerce success is much broader than you ever expected.
Business News Governmental News Finance News