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Multi-Channel Selling

In business, the more channels you’re on, the more sales you’ll make. Well, usuallyYou need a strategic, intentional approach to multi-channeling selling if you want to create sustainable growth.

One of the greatest advantages to selling on Shopify is access to a huge range of sales channels, both on and offline.

Let’s break down how to use it to pursue effective multi-channel sales: 

What Is Multi-Channel Selling? 

Multi-channel selling is the business practice of offering your products and services for sale on a variety of different platforms and channels. Multi-channel selling can involve just two channels or hundreds of channels—it’s up to you.

Commerce channels for online businesses with Shopify stores might include: 

  • Your Shopify site: start here—this is your own branded website at your chosen domain name
  • Marketplaces: Amazon, Etsy, eBay, etc. 
  • Social commerce: selling directly through social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc.
  • Your own retail store: A brick-and-mortar store where you sell in person, the perfect complement to many digital strategies
  • Wholesale: to other online retailers or to physical retailers
  • Pop-up shops: a temporary retail activation

To succeed in multi-channel selling, it’s crucial to identify your customer base, understand their preferred shopping channels, and know their browsing preferences.  Strategically position your brand and products on these channels to target and engage with your specific audience effectively.

Each channel has different offerings, and customers shop for different products in different ways. Sometimes they’ll even use multiple channels in their purchasing journey—perhaps researching reviews on Amazon first, inspecting a product in store, and then making the purchase directly from the brand’s website. If you can offer a product at each of these touchpoints, you’ll have a greater chance at capturing the sale. 

Benefits of Selling Across Channels

There are many benefits to multi-channel selling, and they all essentially support one common goal: more sales!

In fact, multi-channel retail sales amounted to more than $575 billion in 2023. That’s a lot to go around!

Here are some benefits of multi-channel selling on Shopify

    • Reach more shoppers: Selling across multiple channels can help you reach a larger audience. More audience means more potential customers.
    • Diversified revenue streams: Minimize revenue loss by selling on various channels, reducing your dependency on any single platform. 
    • Increased brand visibility: Getting your brand seen in more places naturally boosts brand awareness and visibility, driving more traffic to your Shopify store.
    • Higher business value: Over time, your business will carve out its own little niche. If you ever decide to exit the business and sell it, multi-channel selling may help your website be worth a serious chunk of change

6 Tips for Pulling Off Multi-Channel Selling on Shopify

Multi-channel selling isn’t as simple as listing it and watching the sales roll in. It’s not exactly a “set it and forget it” strategy.

Here are some tips to help ensure success: 

Choose the Right Channels

Different shoppers use different channels—sometimes they even use different channels for different types of purchases.

For example, many customers purchase their routine or habitual products online, while new product discovery and exploration tends to happen in stores. You can also tap into niche channels where you can connect with smaller but more targeted and potentially engaged shoppers. 

So remember, not all channels are created equal. Take time to research and identify the platforms where your target audience spends their time. Then tailor your multi-channel selling approach accordingly. 

On that note, you’ll also want to start small. Rather than spreading yourself thin on too many channels, invest in expanding into one new channel at a time. Start by getting your Shopify store optimized, and then look to expansion. As you consider different channels, weigh them against your business goals. Each channel has specific benefits. 

So if you’re targeting a younger demographic, you might look at social commerce on a platform like TikTok. But your audience is Baby Boomer consumers, you might prioritize selling your products wholesale to brick-and-mortar retailers. 

Automate What You Can

Business automation is a great way to save time and increase accuracy in your business. It’s especially helpful as your business grows, and as you add more sales channels. Automating tasks like reordering can minimize stockouts, and marketing automation can help you target the right audience with the right offers on the right channels. 

Automation can also improve your business in ways you don’t necessarily notice directly. For example, you can use automation to protect your business. A third of retailers are looking into automating security activities in their business, for example. In fact, automation is so valuable for businesses that more than half are investing in it.

There are tons of Shopify apps you can use to tap into the power of automation. Shopify also has its own native automation features like email marketing and ad retargeting.

Sync Inventory and Order Fulfillment

Multi-channel selling on Shopify comes with some operational challenges. Managing inventory data and fulfilling all orders in a timely manner gets more complicated as you expand the number of commerce channels you have. 

To avoid overselling and ensure seamless order management, use inventory management and order fulfillment tools or apps that sync your inventory and orders across all channels. This will streamline logistics and create a better customer experience.

Shopify makes it easy to sync data across different platforms, sales channels, and areas of the business. You can tap into its native features that allow for data synchronization, or you can add apps and third-party integrations that connect to your Shopify store for a full-picture look at the business. This is one of the things we love about Shopify!

Optimize Product Listings

Each platform has its own set of guidelines and best practices for product listings, so optimization might require different things. For example, if you’re selling on Amazon, you’ll need to ensure all product photos fulfill its plain white background requirements. And optimizing product descriptions for Amazon is different than for your Shopify site—shoppers on Amazon search differently than shoppers on Google.

So do your research to understand buyer behavior on each of the channels you’re selling, and then modify your listings accordingly. While each channel has its own quirks, you’ll want to optimize your listings with high-quality images, compelling descriptions, and relevant keywords to improve visibility and sales.

And while it’s important to tailor your approach for each channel, it’s equally important to remain consistent and true to your brand. You can adapt to different sales channels without sacrificing your brand identity. This reinforces brand recognition and trust, and it also helps to build expectations with your customers. 

Ensure branding elements like logos, colors, and messaging are consistent across your Shopify store and other channels. You’ll also want to ensure the customer experience is the same post-purchase—support teams should be briefed comprehensively. 

Develop a Multi-Channel Marketing Plan

Use marketing to promote your multi-channel business. In addition to multi-channel sales, you’ll want to use multi-channel marketing. This generally means a combination of online and offline efforts that are targeted to your specific audience and product. 

Social media is the top marketing channel for most businesses. According to a 2024 report, 27% of marketers use social selling tools, 23% use influencer marketing, and 22% use social media DMs for customer service. 

Other marketing channels could include: 

  • Email marketing
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Influencer marketing
  • Event sponsorships
  • Brand collaborations
  • Pop-up shops and events
  • Billboards
  • Flyers
  • Paid digital ads
  • Customer support channels
  • SMS/text messaging
  • Affiliate marketing

The best channel really depends on your audience and your product. Once you’ve chosen your marketing and advertising channels, publish your target content to reach more potential customers. Make sure to provide them with the information they need to purchase—or at least point them to the destination where they can buy your product. 

Track Your Efforts

Keep track of key performance indicators (KPIs) for each sales channel to assess performance over time. 

Keep an eye on metrics such as sales volume, conversion rates, customer acquisition costs, and return on investment (ROI) to identify trends, optimize campaigns, and make data-driven decisions to drive growth. Don’t forget to measure your promotional efforts against marketing KPIs, too. 

Eventually, you’ll be able to benchmark your performance so you can track progress over time. You can use this data to create business goals and targets to drive growth. 

Ready to Go Multi-Channel?

Shopify makes multi-channel selling accessible to merchants of all sizes in all different locations. All you need to do is start with some research, invest in the channels where your target audience is at, and then optimize accordingly. Over time, you’ll enjoy more brand awareness, more traffic to your Shopify site, and ultimately more sales.