Multichannel marketing and sales is combining various promotional, distribution, and purchase channels guided by customer preference. The goal of multichannel sales is to reflect your target market’s existing habits to sell more, more often.
The decision to use a specific channel depends on a variety of factors, both external (customer-facing) and internal.
Building a solid multichannel marketing strategy requires that you have these factors clearly defined before jumping into your next initiative.
Your target audience should be at the heart of your decision to go multichannel in the first place. More than just “going multichannel,” you need to be sure that migrating to a new marketing or sales channel will allow you to reach a larger audience—and do so effectively.
Of course, your target audience probably isn’t equally active on every channel you have in mind. So, it’s up to your team to determine which platform will best allow you to reach your target customers.
To figure this out, you’ll need to gain an in-depth understanding of who your target audience really is.
Some questions to consider:
Examine the value this audience will bring to your company via the new channel. This will give you an idea of whether or not it will be worth it (to both your customers and your company) to utilize a certain channel.
There are also a number of internal factors that contribute to the creation of your multichannel marketing campaigns.
The industry you operate in, the products or services you offer, and the overall experience you provide can help determine which channels make sense for you to use. For example, for fashion retailers, using multimedia-focused platforms such as Instagram to engage with customers is a no-brainer.
Consider your organization’s capacity to optimize its use of a given channel both now and in the future. Even if you’ve found that a specific channel does provide opportunities for your company, it will be difficult to take advantage of them if you aren’t able to use the channel to its fullest potential.
Some channels may work wonders for generating brand awareness, but may not directly impact your overall sales numbers; others may lead to a major spike in sales from current customers, but won’t attract newcomers.
While you’ll eventually want to use all of your channels to accomplish all of your goals, you want to be laser-focused on a specific goal when jumping onto a certain channel.
Here, we’ll take a look at the most-used marketing and sales channels of today—and discuss the pros and cons of jumping onto each.
Another common option when starting up your multichannel initiatives is to open a standalone online store. Having a dedicated eCommerce site — such as Shopify, Magento, or WooCommerce — gives you complete control over your sales strategy and product catalog.
However, you also don’t have access to an already-established network of customers (as you do with marketplaces). So the onus is on you to market your brand and build your audience—which will likely require the use of other channels.
Overall, running your own eCommerce store allows you to take control over every touchpoint of the buyer’s journey. If you have an established audience—and are also looking to expand—you all but need a branded website by today’s standards.
In the age of eCommerce, many retail businesses are turning to wholesaling via a B2B eCommerce platform as an additional revenue stream.
B2B eCommerce allow brands to further customize the experience for their wholesale buyers. Some of the key features of B2B eCommerce include the ability to manage buyer specific prices and discounts, and allow for simple ordering and secure online payments with one-click payment options.
Whether you currently cater to an audience of wholesale buyers or not, creating a B2B eCommerce site can enable you to forge an authentic connection with your clientele with relative ease.
Online marketplaces are third-party platforms that allow vendors to promote their products and enable consumers to purchase them.
Selling through online marketplaces — like Amazon, eBay, Walmart, or Lazada — is usually most advantageous for businesses that sell products with mass appeal. In these environments, competition tends to be high, so it’s important to adopt a smart multichannel pricing strategy that allows you to maintain a competitive advantage while keeping a healthy profit margin.
Overall, online marketplaces provide the potential for a significant increase in sales at a minimal risk—especially for companies looking to make the leap from single to multichannel operations.
Pros of online marketplaces:
Cons of online marketplaces:
Up until recently, social media was used strictly for marketing purposes.
By today’s standards, though, many social media platforms have become a viable sales channel, as well. Facebook Shops and Instagram Shopping allow businesses to sell their products directly to their social media followers — who don’t even need to leave the app to make a purchase.
For companies that already have a large following on social media, the next logical step is to start using these platforms to generate increased sales.
Mobile phone subscriptions reached 104% in the Americas and Asia Pacific, and 130% in Europe. Mobile sales apps that are integrated with an order entry app tap into the growing demand for user-friendly platforms that are fast, reliable and always available.
What Is a Mobile Sales App?
Mobile sales apps are applications optimized for use on a mobile device such as a smartphone, smartwatch or tablet. These apps are designed to accelerate the sales process by capturing customer and prospect data, delivering information and making information easily accessible.
Sellers can upload entire product catalogs to their mobile sales app, enabling seamless customer engagement anywhere. These catalogs can be built by scanning product barcodes or manually inputting each product along with high-quality photos and images designed to increase conversion rates.
Mobile sales apps can also be used by sales reps at trade shows and customer meetings to display products complete with real-time product pricing and availability information.
Order Entry App Integration
When used in conjunction with an order entry app, mobile sales apps are a critical part of an effective multichannel marketing strategy.
The right order entry app gives sellers the ability to create and edit orders, check order status and track delivery times. These tools help level the playing field between start-ups, small businesses and multinational retailers by integrating mobile sales and order entry apps in a way that's accessible to all.
Pros & Cons of Using Mobile Apps for Selling
With the ever-growing demand for mobile integration, the biggest drawbacks of using mobile sales apps are related to technical issues. Consumers have already demonstrated a strong desire to engage with digital sales platforms — but only if those platforms meet or exceed consumer expectations.
For mobile apps to be effective sales tools, they need to be functional, user-friendly and reliable. Adopting a sales app that lacks back-end support, doesn't play nicely with other digital sales tools or constantly crashes can quickly degrade brand reputation and push prospects away.
On the upside, the right mobile sales apps can be catalysts for exponential business growth. Mobile sales apps that are integrated with an order entry app are scalable and accessible at any time, allowing enterprises to quickly scale up or down in response to market conditions.
Having a physical store gives you the opportunity to connect with customers face-to-face, and allows customers to see products in-person. But, it’s also significantly more expensive than online selling.
Brick-and-mortar stores are seeing a renaissance of sorts in recent years. An innovative approach to a new physical location or a temporary pop-up store can enhance your customers’ experience with your brand — and allow you to stand out above your competition.
(If there was, implementing multichannel operations wouldn’t be so essential to the growth of your business.)
Weigh the pros and cons of each channel as pertains to your circumstances and business goals. In turn, you’ll be able to determine which channels will allow you to provide the most value to your customers—and to generate value for your company in return.
Start making multichannel sales and supply chain modernization a reality for your business in order to create a competitive advantage.