Multi-Channel E-Commerce Could Be the Competitive Edge Your Brand Needs
E-commerce is no longer the future of commerce. Today, it’s the reality of any modern consumer’s life. Where Amazon started as a humble bookstore catering to a niche segment of customers, it has grown into a household name that simply cannot be ignored, especially by any e-commerce entrepreneur.
What does that mean for your business? While it’s true that Amazon is one of the biggest, if not the largest, distribution channels, it’s far from being the only one.
In fact, the long-term success of your brand hinges on your ability to expand across multiple channels today more than ever. It could be the difference between thriving as a business or coughing in the dust of your competitors blazing ahead of you.
While entire books can be dedicated to the importance of embracing a multi-channel strategy, the bulk of it can be boiled down into two primary facets.
Let’s explore the two primary reasons first and then we’ll close with the number one tip that you must embrace to streamline your multi-channel expansion.
1. Meeting Customers Where They Are
One of the key components of any marketing strategy is to meet your customers where they are. That’s because the more hoops an individual has to jump over to reach your brand, the more likely they are to not even bother. This is the reason why despite Amazon being the greatest giant in U.S e-commerce, there are still many competitors with millions and millions of loyal customers of their own.
This is where a multi-channel e-commerce strategy can make a big difference. By bringing your line of products to a wide variety of channels, each with a loyal customer base of its own, you can tap into their existing network and enjoy the added exposure that comes with such an approach.
What makes this approach particularly attractive is the surprisingly low barrier of entry. From Amazon and Walmart to Wish and a multitude of other marketplaces, getting your store up and running takes little more than a weekend’s worth of effort. Not to mention that a lot of brand collateral can be cross-used across these channels, which further lowers the cost of expansion.
The lower cost of entry matters because despite your best efforts and promising estimates, there’s no guarantee that a channel will yield optimum results for your brand. It’s more like a game of darts in this regard. While your skills matter a great deal, there’s an undeniable element of luck involved. The only way to seal your brand’s fate is by taking as many shots as you can.
With e-commerce, taking those shots is feasible for businesses of all sizes today because of how affordable it is to set up a multi-channel presence. If the response on a platform falls flat, you have little to lose as the capital requirements are minimal at best.
So not only will a multi-channel presence expose your brand to new audiences that were previously unreachable, it will also put you head-and-shoulders above competitors who are too inflexible to venture beyond the familiar territories of a single platform.
In light of those facts, there’s no reason to limit your reach to a single channel.
2. Lowering Your Risk Profile
Unlike brick and mortar retailers who often have long leasing agreements with their landlords, the world of e-commerce is a lot more fickle. Your success on a platform is at mercy of its algorithm, which is hard to predict and harder yet to predict consistently.
The internet is filled with horror stories of businesses that experienced wild success on a platform like Amazon only to see it all evaporate in front of their eyes. All because they broke some obscure rule they weren’t even aware of.
This is one of the greatest drawbacks of concentrating all your revenue in the hands of a single authority. These third-party platforms, due to the sheer size of their empire and the legal challenges that come with it, have no issue severing ties with a seller. In the greater scheme of things, a handful of sellers getting unfairly booted off their platform won’t even make a dent in their bottom line.
In other words, your business will be little more than collateral damage for them.
By expanding your digital footprint across multiple channels, you can lower your risk profile and bolster the longevity of your brand. The old adage of not putting all your eggs in one basket perfectly describes the motivation here.
The Key to Successful Multi-Channel Expansion
Despite all the perks and promises of a multi-channel strategy, many businesses fail to take the leap, and most struggle to make a meaningful impact from it.
While it’s not easy to pinpoint a single cause, the leading issue is undoubtedly the complexity of it all. Managing a single presence requires the juggling of many skill sets. Throw multiple marketplaces in the mix and you can imagine how things can get out of hand.
This is why embracing unified solutions is the key to expanding across multiple channels.
The Helium10 Chrome Extension, for example, offers a powerful end-to-end solution that encompasses all areas of launching and growing a successful e-commerce business. From market research to listing optimizations, everything can be done through a single interface. Not to mention that you can use this same interface to expand your presence at Walmart too.
Similarly, Valet Seller can offer you a unified dashboard that can tie together your initiatives across 20+ online marketplaces. In practical terms, it means that you can syndicate your listings, manage and fulfill orders, and tune into the living beat of your operations across all those channels through a single reporting system.
While it may not be possible to handle every single aspect of your business through a single interface, it’s still possible to cut it down to two or three crucial interfaces that you can stay on top of comfortably. Doing so will dramatically improve your experience as you navigate the turbulent waters of multi-channel e-commerce.