1. Your first marketplace and the start of your multichannel selling adventure
So where do multichannel retailers start? The easiest marketplace to get selling on is Amazon. Amazon has an extensive curated catalogue, are your products listed there already? The chances are that your products are already in the catalogue. If not you'll have to add them - so you'll need a barcode to hand in most cases.
If they are in the catalogue then all you need to do is sign up for an Amazon Professional Seller Account and then define how many of the items you have and what price you are selling them at. If saving time is important then use Amazon to get started - it's a huge online store and listing management is relatively simple.
2. Selling advice on your first marketplace
When that first sale comes in don't hang around. Amazon expects it's retailers to act fast and to satisfy orders quickly. For first time marketplace sellers this is where they can fail.
Make sure that to begin with you are in control of the stock - best not to rely on third party, or drop shipping initially. You need to learn how to manage inventory and the Amazon sales process first before branching out to managing stock held by others.
You'll be using the Royal Mail to ship almost all of your items, but you'll also be seeking out a good shipping carrier for larger items or rush deadlines. As those requirements increase you'll begin to be aware of the need for good management tools and good access to couriers.
3. Expanding from your first Amazon marketplace, finding other online marketplaces
Once you have mastered taking orders and fulfilling them on Amazon, you can think about adding in other Amazon marketplaces.
Amazon make this very easy, by giving you the option to sell around Europe through one account. Indeed by default Amazon will enrol you in that scheme when you sign up, unless you opt out.
As a sales channel Amazon is hard to beat. It also offers B2B ecommerce options, thanks to the introduction of Amazon Business. You should take advantage of that option and add it to your multichannel retailing business. Business love buying from Amazon Business, and you should let them buy from you - it will improve your business growth.
4. Adding another marketplace
So once you are fulfilling orders confidently and have mastered your suppliers it's time to add another channel.
This is almost bound to be eBay. eBay has over 20 different marketplaces you can sell on, so it offers a big opportunity for online businesses. This is where it can become complicated, inventory management and stock sync becomes difficult unless you have multichannel management software in place. With a multichannel ecommerce platform you can really begin to improve your online business, it lets you add more and more online marketplaces. All designed for business growth.
5. Extending your stock and product lines
With more and more channels being added, you'll now want to add new lines to your business. And that means finding good suppliers who can supply on time.
Managing multiple product lines can be time consuming, so instead you'll want to take third party stock feeds in automatically, and again you'll need multichannel ecommerce software to manage the daily (sometimes hourly) stock updates. Listing management needs to become more and more automated as your business grows.
And if you bring in more stock, then you will be looking at warehouse management, another benefit of using multichannel ecommerce software.
6. Maximising your margin on every single item
So now you have a large inventory, partly held in house and partly held by suppliers. But how do you keep on top of prices and on top of your margins. Multichannel retailers know how to maximise their margin on every item and they do it with a multichannel ecommerce platform.
For marketplaces such as Amazon, you'll want to automatically price against the competition. And for marketplaces that don't allow auto repricing, you'll still want to adjust your prices automatically every time you get a stock list with prices in from a supplier.
Again you'll be relying on the automatic updates that channel management software brings. And you'll be looking for more and more ecommerce solutions to meet your needs, you're looking for a multichannel ecommerce platform.
7. Increasing your sales on Amazon
The Amazon Buy Box will have been something you have had your eye on for some time. And now with an established reputation for meeting deadlines and delivering on time, you stand a really good chance of winning it.
But for some categories you'll need to be using FBA. So now you have to manage own-stock, third party and FBA held stock.
So again you need an ecommerce business system to help. Your warehouse management software now has to keep an eye on FBA and to manage where stock is being sold from more and more.
8. Adding your own website and shopping cart
Most of your sales will always come from the marketplaces such as Amazon, but you may want to add your own ecommerce websites to establish brand and generate your own sales. A great online store, or two, is an ambition that we see in many online retailers, but again to do that well you will need a system to make your ecommerce shopping cart experience a blast.
You could add multiple ecommerce websites if you choose. To help you build different brands, maybe even a B2B ecommerce website.
Shopify is by far the simplest option in this case. They do charge a commission - but by now you'll be used to it. And the ease of use more than offsets any costs.
Magento is also a very popular ecommerce shopping cart and website platform, it's slightly more complicated, but has a great many ecommerce companies using it and supporting it.
You'll want to manage your ecommerce websites from a single screen - a single point of contact to help you manage your online business, another reason to embrace multichannel selling software.
9. Managing your staff
As you have expanded your online business and ecommerce business, you have been adding staff. You'll want to systemise what your team do and to give them access to the aspects of the online business that they need. Your team need to manage the Royal Mail, Couriers, B2B ecommerce, warehouse, inventory, prices and so much more. They'll be looking for a multichannel retailing platform to let them do that well.
With multichannel ecommerce software you'll be able to give them the access to the parts of your business that they need, which will ensure your ecommerce business grows.
10. Management information to help you stay on top of things
With multiple sales channels, including Amazon and eBay, you'll now be more an ecommerce manager than an operator and that's why you'll need the reports and BMI that channel management software gives you.
Allowing you to expand your online business and grow your multichannel ecommerce business.