To achieve eCommerce success with your retail business, you need to be visible and accessible for your customers. That means employing anomnichannel eCommercestrategy. Omnichannel retail is the process of selling products across many marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and your eCommerce platform, all while keeping a customer’s experience consistent on all platforms. But omnichannel marketing comes with challenges, and retailers need to be ready with modern tools and platforms.
Challenges of selling on multiple marketplaces
By distributing products on multiple marketplaces, you can clearly increase your visibility and earn more sales. Having listings on multiple marketplaces can also impact your brand awareness and market penetration. For example, according to Statista, Amazon was the most lucrative e-retailer last year and sold more than $178 billion in products, while retail products were Amazon’s largest revenue segment in 2017. If you’re not present where the people are, as an entrepreneur, you’re leaving money on the table. But increased product visibility and sales means manual processes become more time-consuming, and your inventory can quickly become inaccurate. Tracking inventory is a challenge for any store, let alone an eCommerce organization dealing in digital stock.
When adding Amazon or other marketplaces to the list, manual inventory tracking sheets simply can’t keep up. If you’re manually updating available products on each website — or relying on outdated systems that don’t integrate with new channels — you’re going to upset customers when you inevitably oversell. Secondly, utilizing new channels is going to change buying or manufacturing processes as stock will be depleted more quickly. Fulfillment strategies may become more complicated, and will take careful monitoring across channels. You’ll also need updated agreements with vendors or manufacturing partners. Repeated fulfillment errors will result in cancellation or suspension not only from new channels, but with other stores you’ve actively sold on in the past. Although companies have much to gain from selling on a wide variety of online stores, a lot is also at stake for availability and customer satisfaction.
Solving the eCommerce Multichannel Inventory Issue
Managing inventory across marketplaces as you scale up your business is difficult. Doing so while providing your customers with a consistent and positive user experience is even more challenging. Luckily, there are a plethora of tools available to business owners today the help replace manual processes that become operational burdens as you begin to gain traction on many online stores. For example, modern-day eCommerce management software can replace your manual processes entirely, allowing for automated inventory and stock updates across all your stores.
How does it work? With API integrationslike this Amazon integration, when a user onboards their business to a new software such as ChannelGrabber, they connect the dots between all the platforms they use. Let’s say you’re selling on eBay, Amazon, and a Shopify webstore. You’d simply integrate each store’s API with the software. Then when an order is processed, your inventory will automatically update in all other locations within five minutes or less.
Retailers report a 90% reduction in time spent processing orders with eCommerce management software like ChannelGrabber.
Tying this back to your customers’ experiences, imagine the frustration of ordering a product you’ve been wanting for weeks, typing your billing information, and completing the transaction... only to find out that product is no longer available. Remember, omnichannel eCommerce is all about providing a consistent and positive experience across multiple channels. Inventory management can ruin a positive customer experience if not handled properly due to overselling. That means less happy customers, fewer orders, and a trickle-down effect on your revenue and profitability.
eCommerce Success With Invoicing and Fulfillment
Even after properly managing your inventory in an omnichannel environment in an effective way, there are a variety of other responsibilities that fall to retail owners and eCommerce entrepreneurs. Inventory management is really only one piece of the pie. You also have invoices to create and issue, shipping requirements to account for, and listing to update as new products or product variants become available.
Choosing the right eCommerce software can get you a range of features, including:
- Automatic, professional looking invoicing, to help with order speed and accuracy
- One-click product listing duplicates, to add inventory from one online marketplace to any other
- Integrations with all carriers for easy fulfillment
Retailers who want to scale their businesses and adapt to modern trends should start reviewing technology solutions now and looking for features that help them throughout the sales process. This can help reduce time spent on inventory management and fulfillment while keeping customers happy and sales high.
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