“If you build it, they will come.” These are wise words from the popular hit, Field of Dreams, maybe. But in the world of sales, these words don’t always ring true.
Namely, if you’re going to move a large amount of inventory, you’re going to need to accomplish a lot and draw in your own large audience through multiple channels—multiple fields, if you will. Expanding your reach and broadening your exposure to a larger market ensures the growth of your business as more customers discover you, but it takes investing in more than one channel.
In other words, you must participate in multi-channel selling. Multi-channel selling helps you meet potential buyers on their terms, increasing your product’s exposure and boosting the chances that you make the sale. But what does effective multi-channel selling look like?
You can find out in our new guide on mastering multi-channel selling here, or keep reading to learn more about this vital sales strategy.
What is Multi-Channel Selling?
Multi-channel selling is what happens when your products are sold across multiple online and physical locations. For instance, you might choose to sell your products directly to customers on your website. But you might also offer products on popular platforms like Amazon and Walmart. Selling across different popular channels is moving inventory to multiple channels.
Think about it this way: every connection between you and your customers—whether it’s through social media, your online shop, or a brick-and-mortar store—is a distinct channel. When you engage with more than one channel, it’s multi-channel selling.
What are the Benefits of Multi-Channel Selling?
In a word? Reach. When you open your products to multiple channels, you broaden your exposure to different markets and a wider range of customers. Depending on your target demographics, this may be an essential way to communicate with your buyers.
One survey found that nearly half of all buyers begin their search for a product with popular marketplaces. Amazon is one key example. These days, fewer searches (35%) started on Google. That means if you’ve optimized your brand's presence for Google, you’ve done yourself a favor. But, you may still have major blind spots and may need to look into other avenues to list and market your products, whether they're on or offline.
There’s also the issue of brand recognition and trust. The more a customer sees your brand—across multiple channels—the more they’ll think about you. One study showed that 64% of B2B buyers read anywhere from two to five pieces of content before they make a decision about a purchase.
That means buyers may see your product on multiple channels before they ever click “buy.” They may even prefer it that way. The more they see your product, the more credibility you build. And even failing that, multi-channel selling opens new lanes of exposure to potential buyers.
How Do You Create Consistent Multi-Channel Listings?
A top concern for many companies is that multi-channel selling may mean they’re spreading themselves too thin. They worry about losing brand consistency or value perception.
But the statistics above suggest the opposite. Today’s buyers are sophisticated. They’re experienced with multiple channels. And you can eliminate any of those challenges simply by using a B2B ecommerce software that ensures a consistent branding message across multiple channels.
The key to success is investing in and using B2B ecommerce software. With B2B ecommerce software, you can create a single entry for your multi-channel listings and populate it for buyers from every channel. Let the software do the heavy lifting and handle selling to the appropriate platforms. The online retailers will typically connect directly to your software, taking away the guesswork of getting set up yourself.
The result is powerful.
With consistent branding, descriptions, product titles, and more, your potential buyers won’t be confused if they encounter your listings more than once. In fact, your presence on multiple platforms will only establish your product’s credibility. And it doesn’t hurt if your products have favorable reviews across each channel.
Why Bother with Multi-Channel Selling?
Ultimately, scaling your business comes down to one thing: the ease with which you expand into new markets. A multi-channel B2B ecommerce solution is one of the most direct paths for accomplishing that. But how is that scale achieved? Consider everything you can accomplish by creating multi-channel listings:
- Matching buyer behavior. To make more sales, you ultimately have to align yourself with buyer behaviors. They’re already moving to a multi-channel approach. Consider that the majority (73%) of buyers used both offline and online channels as part of their multi-channel research approach. There is no more “home turf” when it comes to meeting buyers these days. Home turf has become an inclusive multi-channel experience.
- Build credibility with multiple touchpoints. Says the Harvard Business Review: “Not only did [customers] use smartphone apps to compare prices or download a coupon, but they were also avid users of in-store digital tools such as an interactive catalog, a price-checker, or a tablet.” Putting your product in front of multiple buyer touchpoints may boost the likelihood that these customers are going to buy from you.
- Convenience. It’s not difficult to get your products set up on multiple channels. The logistics involved may sound complicated, but software can handle much of the grunt work. What if you could expand your reach by 50% or more simply by listing a product on a new channel? It’s worth the investment of creating a new product listing.
Are You Ready for the Multi-Channel Experience?
How do you know if you’re ready to expand to multiple channels at once? It’s easier than it sounds. One of the primary benefits of multi-channel selling is that the solutions to get started already exist.
To evaluate whether you’re ready to begin, check the following criteria:
- Do you feel like your current approach to buying channels is stifling your opportunities for growth?
- Can you efficiently fulfill orders as it stands, and simply need to get more sales coming in?
- If you were to expand to multiple channels, would you be able to scale fulfillment to handle an influx of new orders?