How to Increase Your Chances of Success With Multichannel Listings
Each year, businesses lose $1.75 trillion due to mismanagement of inventory—and the risk of inventory mistakes increases as companies expand by adopting multichannel listings.
There are endless opportunities for ecommerce businesses to scale their operations within local or international marketplaces while increasing brand awareness and remaining profitable. However, many business owners experience varying degrees of hesitation when considering adopting a multichannel business strategy. If this is you, you may be wondering how you can manage inventory effectively across so many different channels.
Keep reading as we discuss why you should establish multichannel listings and how you can increase your chances of success while scaling your ecommerce business.
Why Adopt a Multichannel Listing Strategy?
Today, ecommerce business owners must find new ways to increase their conversions while building brand awareness. Selling on multiple channels can help you grow through economies of scale, assuming you increase output with more channels.
In the ecommerce industry, the goal is to put your products in front of as many people as possible. The more people that see your listings, the more likely they are to make purchases.
When you sell on third-party platforms, you can drive more traffic to your website, where you can collect customer information to nurture relationships over time.
Let’s say you sell hunting gear on a third-party marketplace like Amazon, but you also sell it on your website. Amazon definitely has a larger audience than your current online store, especially if you’re a newer retailer. However, if you include an advertisement or business card with your website’s address on each package you sell on the marketplace, people are more likely to visit your store next time if they’re happy with their purchase.
Decrease the Risk
Putting the fate of your business in a single channel is risky. Just as investors create a varied portfolio, you should spread your business across multiple channels. Instead of putting all of your money into a single stock, vary your business across channels.
Diversifying your revenue streams through multichannel selling helps you stay ahead of the continually changing ecommerce landscape. If eBay puts into place policies that hinder your selling, it’s okay because you have other platforms to turn to.
Maximize the Fixed Costs
Depending on how and what you’re selling, the costs associated with setting up an ecommerce business can easily run into four or five figures. However, the cost of expanding to another platform—outside of any referral and listing fees that marketplaces charge—is little to zero.
Don’t be afraid of starting fresh on a new platform. One study showed that 65% of consumers said they’d purchase from retailers they’ve never heard of before on marketplaces. Good customer service and stellar reviews can turn new customers into loyal, repeat ones, even if your brand isn’t fully established on a particular platform yet.
The Challenges Associated With Multichannel Listings
The following factors make listing products on multiple channels so complex:
- Number of sales channels
- Number of distribution options
- Number of systems being used
- Multiple system interfaces
Let’s take a look at each of these factors and how they affect multichannel retail strategy.
Number of Sales Channels
Let’s say you have fifteen brick-and-mortar locations and you sell on three ecommerce sites and through eight different marketplaces.
That’s a lot of ways that new orders can filter in. While each of these orders is an opportunity to provide a top-notch customer experience, it’s also subject to human error and incorrect data.
Number of Distribution Options
Retail stores, warehouses, and third-party logistics providers are the most common distribution options. However, without a single system tying them all together, products may not reach your customers as quickly as they should.
Providing customers with the ability to choose their distribution method can increase customer satisfaction, but also the complexity of distributing orders.
Number of Systems Being Used
If you’ve been in business for a while, your ecommerce tech stack is likely pretty deep. At a minimum, you likely have an inventory management system (or something close), an ecommerce platform, and something you use to track profitability and accounting.
If you integrate with multiple platforms and marketplaces, you may also need multichannel software and specialized systems for warehousing or order management.
Multiple System Interfaces
The more systems you use introduces more chances to fail. And the connections between each of those interfaces are often tenuous.
If you don’t have direct control over the technology that drives your integrations, they may fail without your knowledge. Put simply, more systems equals more problems—and a bigger headache for you.
Multichannel Listings Done Quickly, Simultaneously, and Accurately
Flxpoint enables dropshippers and other ecommerce retailers to get to market faster by directly integrating with popular sales channels and marketplaces.
With Flxpoint’s speed and flexibility, you can expand product lines, publish bulk product listings, and reach more customers on the channels they love.
Flxpoint allows you to seamlessly import product data and auto-sync inventory from any supplier providing that can provide a flat-file data feed. It doesn’t matter how your supplier stores their data—whether in headerless CSVs, multi-tab Excel files, or ZIP files—you can easily transfer the data into your preferred format using robust, no-code mapping templates.
If you’re thinking about going multichannel, you must work to build accurate, optimized listings across all sales channels. Sure, this may sound like a straightforward process, but it’s harder than it sounds. The more channels you list on, the easier it is to overlook or lost control over the quality of your product listings.
With Flxpoint, you can automatically detect and map overlapping products from different vendors to build data, pricing, inventory, and shipping rules that maximize your profit margins and listing processes.
As you import products, you can build rules to catch mismatched UPCs, MPNs, and more so that you end up with data you can trust—and the ability to effortlessly manage thousands of SKUs.
There are also easy-to-use product-listing templates that you can use to map data to formats required by popular platforms such as Amazon, eBay, Magento, and BigCommerce. Manipulate and edit your data automatically to eliminate laborious manual data entry—and some seriously costly errors in the process.
If you notice your profit margin is looking a little thin, your pricing may not be competitive enough. This becomes harder to manage as you scale to sell on more channels. That’s why Flxpoint allows you to make custom pricing rules per channel. It’s easy to set pricing rules that make sense for your products that then run in the background based on the unique criteria you set.
For example, Flxpoint allows you to set a rule to make sure none of your products sell below the minimum advertised price (MAP). The rule checks your pricing settings for each product and, if a value falls below MAP, Flxpoint will change the price to MAP to ensure you’re not at risk of violating your supplier’s policies.
Of course, there is one big challenge multichannel retailers face: keeping stock levels accurate and up to date.
It’s essential to understand availability across your network. If a single channel lists outdated stock levels, it could lead to several canceled orders or back-ordered items, which are disastrous to both your brand and budget.
Without automation, each time you make a sale, you have to go through each platform and update the stock levels to ensure you don’t sell out-of-stock items. Needless to say, this is a time-consuming process. Your team could spend this time marketing or product sourcing. Plus, the more sales you make, the more the chance for human error increases when adjusting stock levels.
To avoid all of the above, you can invest in an automated inventory management system like Flxpoint. Each time you make a sale, Flxpoint updates your inventory levels across all channels to ensure you don’t oversell and lose customers.
Multichannel Listings Made Easier With Flxpoint
Using intelligent multichannel automation tools allows you to successfully scale your retail operations with multichannel listings without worrying about employee bandwidth constraints or increased manual output. In turn, you can focus on what is most important—your products and the customers you serve.
Effective multichannel listing strategies are about much more than selling products on multiple channels. To see a real return on investment, you must strike a balance between consistency, accuracy, quality control, and automation. When you’re ready to learn how Flxpoint can help you achieve all four, talk with an expert.
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