Global Marketplace: Selling Through a Multi-Channel Lens
Various lockdowns around the world brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have spurred the exponential growth and popularity of online selling. In many instances, it has been a necessity — allowing people to stay home safely and still have their needs (and wants) taken care of with just a few clicks on their phone or computer.
Marketplaces, once only a physical venue, have gone digital; paving the way for e-commerce sites to bring brands to the consumer instead of the other way around. An online marketplace is a platform usually managed and provided by a third party where various sellers can upload information about their products and services with the ultimate goal of translating them into sales. Through online marketplaces, like Amazon, eBay, Alibaba (from China), and Walmart (in the United States), businesses both big and small are enabled to reach their target market with the aid of the Internet. At the same time, consumers are empowered by giving them almost all possible information regarding any product or service, enabling customers to compare multiple items so they can make the best-informed decision for every purchase.
Aside from the four marketplaces mentioned above, there are dozens (if not hundreds) more that are available for sellers depending on their location and their needs. Most businesses choose to adopt a multi-channel distribution system, which allows them to set up two or more channels to generate sales and more avenues to reach their target market. This could mean that businesses would choose to have a physical store, an online store through their official website, a seller account in one or two online marketplaces, an official store connected to social media like Facebook or Instagram, or engage distributors and resellers in various locations. Going beyond the traditional business model means expanding your business’ reach and maximizing your resources — allowing your enterprise to expand its reach and growth. Having more than a single source of sales doesn’t just mean more income for your business, but more ways for consumers to access whatever it is that you’re offering whether they’re browsing using their mobile phone, laptop, or even their television.
And in the digital age, businesses are seeing the benefits of investing in a robust online presence. According to several studies and reports, marketplaces have already captured about 58% of the global e-commerce market in 2018, where marketplace operators and third-party sellers take up 47% and 42% of the market, respectively. Consumers are growing more and more comfortable with online shopping. For example, about 96% to 99% of consumers in Mexico, Asia, the United States, Canada, and Europe are already using online marketplaces.
The benefits of multi-channel selling are numerous but two of its biggest advantages are expanding one’s market reach and therefore enlarging the business’ audience.
Wider Market Reach
Expanding into new markets is just one of the benefits of adapting the multi-channel approach to sales. It only makes sense: a business’ presence in multiple platforms means an increase in their products or services’ exposure, which ideally would translate to more sales. Having more than one sales channel also means minimizing or diversifying risks, because if one channel fails, the business still has other platforms to utilize.
When a business opts to engage in multi-channel selling, their market reach becomes wider and eventually, their customer base gets bigger as well. For example, instead of just relying on a physical store in these uncertain times, having multiple online sales channels allows the business to keep operating even with the threat of temporary closure due to lockdowns.
Perhaps the most famous online marketplace to date is Amazon.com, founded by business tycoon Jeff Bezos in 1994. What was once a simple online store for books which Bezos started in his garage in Bellevue, Washington, has grown into a multi-billion-dollar force to reckon with. Amazon is now one of the “Big Five” companies in the U.S., joining the ranks of Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook.
For Amazon US, 59% of its sellers are based in the US, while 24% are based in China. Only about 5% of Amazon US sellers are based in Canada, India, and the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, for Amazon Australia, 35% are based within Australia, 33% are in China, 8% are in India, 5% in the U.S., and roughly 4% of sellers are in the UK. The studies also showed that some of these sellers are not just using Amazon to push their products. About 7% of sellers from Amazon US are also selling through Walmart, while 6% are selling on eBay. For Amazon Australia, 40% of sellers also list their products on Amazon US, 13% are using eBay UK, and about 7% use Amazon UK.
So what do these figures mean? It means more and more sellers are realizing the importance of widening their reach by having multiple seller accounts across the world. As a business owner, it’s important to know when benefits outweigh the risks and online marketplaces usually have lower risks as the setup is not capital intensive. It also allows for cross-border and cross-platform (one marketplace to another) interactions, regain ROI faster due to multiple sales channels, and ease in logistics due to programs like Amazon’s FBA (fulfillment By Amazon).
Managing Multiple Marketplaces
Here at MerchantSpring, businesses are empowered to take control of the sales channels or marketplaces they currently have or plan on joining in the future.
With our Marketplace Manager, you’ll only need one tool to monitor multiple channels whether it’s within the same marketplace (ex. five different Amazon stores), across different marketplaces (like eBay and Amazon), or even overseas locations (like Amazon US, AU, or UK). Our Multi-Store Seller Dashboard enables you to manage over 100 stores across major marketplaces, uncover hidden sales opportunities through multiple channels, monitor each store’s performance and inventory, and make managing easier so you can focus your energy on sales.
Insights for Amazon sellers
Amazon sellers will benefit greatly from MerchantSpring’s tools that are specially designed for Amazon sellers:
1. Amazon Insights
Amazon Insights gives you access to new products, sales, and account insights to track the performance of all your marketplaces within Amazon in one convenient place. MerchantSpring also provides Multi-Store Mobile Analytics so you can monitor your stores on the go.
2. Buy-Box Performance Tools
Buy-Box Performance Tools allows you to keep track of your buy-box win rate, one of the most coveted “real estate” for Amazon sellers. By staying on top of your buy-box win rate, you can determine the adjustments needed to improve or maintain your store’s performance.
3. Amazon PPC Features
Amazon PPC Features include an advertising dashboard, which shows real-time performance across your Amazon account to review daily performance trends, ad campaign performance, product performance, and even keyword performance. Reports can be easily downloaded into easily digestible spreadsheets so you can spend less time interpreting data and more time focusing on your sales.
4. Automated Feedback/Review Tools
Automated Feedback/Review Tools will help your store gain more authentic reviews from verified purchases so customers can see why they should choose your store. Multiple sellers can sell the same items on Amazon, but it’s the reviews that could mean the difference between creating a sale or missing one. With MerchantSpring’s Automated Review Requests, we’ll take care of asking customers to provide product and seller feedback automatically using the same email template used by Amazon while using smart customer targeting set by you based on your target market. Despite being automated, you will still have the choice to manually review requests when you need them.
Multi-Channel Selling Is the Future
In conclusion, multi-channel selling is the best way to expand and diversify your business’ reach and revenue streams, from what we can see it’s here to stay with or without the pandemic. Whether you’re a new entrepreneur or a seasoned business owner, having multiple sales channels allows you to diversify your risk, widen your audience, and enlarge your market, and by maximizing tools like MerchantSpring Marketplace Manager, you can stay on top of your stores — reaping the benefits of multi-channel sales while minimizing stress.
Image credits in order of appearance: © vladwel– adobe.stock.com