In our most recent post we talked about the challenges of getting your ecommerce channel coverage right. For many Volo customers, the addition of a second channel proves too much for the company to rely on the mainly manual processes that have served them well so far. The opportunities of selling stock on a second channel far outweigh the costs of enlisting some outside expertise in the form of technology and know-how. Companies find that trying to save money by taking a DIY approach means they can’t grow their sales and profits as quickly and steadily as they would like.
Volo’s mission is to transform your growth across key online channels and give you the technologies, knowledge and community to see your business fly. There are a number of ‘levers’ you can pull to do this. In this sense, channel coverage is an absolutely critical lever. With that in mind, here are a few areas you should consider when you’re thinking about multichannel selling.
We don’t recommend you keep a separate inventory for each channel, because then you can’t capitalise on the advantages of being a multi channel seller. We recommend you use a single inventory pool from which all your channels are updated. Volo’s channel profile, for example, allows you to push all your stock updates out across your channels automatically. In this way you can sell items on different channels and replenish your orders and stock availability.
We've already talked about doing the homework on each channel so your coverage is well distributed. It’s probably most important that you understand how the search capability works on each site. You should also look at how search enquiries are returned to potential buyers and what information is presented and how it’s presented. This will impact how you structure the information – also called data – on your products. The better you structure your data to the way the channel works, the better the chance of your product being selected for purchase. Again, it’s a question of effort and reward. Choose the channels where you get the best reward on your effort.
Not just personally (we don't need to tell you that if you’re in in the ecommerce business) but across your channels. In the UK for example, there are three main channels, each of which can drive significant revenue for your business: Amazon, eBay and your website. You should diversify the channels you’re on to spread your risk. Better to have three channels providing you with about a third of your business than two, one of which brings you 70%, for example. This way, you’re better insured against a major incident taking out the main source of your income.
Data really is king, and the better your data on your products is organised, the better your business performs. We know information is power, especially accurate information. You should use rules to structure your data in bulk. This streamlined approach will give you major productivity gains over dealing individually with the data on each product item.
Make sure you pull your customer communications across your channels into one central place. This is much easier to manage and a more productive use of your customer service staff time in the long run. Furthermore, add information to eBay's Smart FAQs pages to reduce questions from your customers. Pre-written responses to standard and frequently asked questions will buy your staff valuable time every time. This aggregates up into impressive savings over hundreds and thousands of communications.
You should use your channels as an opportunity to build your brand online. You’re probably already remarketing to those customers who have bought from you via your website. In addition, where rules allow you can use marketplaces as additional acquisition channels. Once someone buys from you, you can send them an offer in the package to return directly to your website. You can capture their data and turn them into delighted repeat buyers.
Read back tomorrow to find out how Volo helped its customers to become great at channel coverage in multi channel ecommerce…