Did you know you have a better chance of being bitten by a spider in your sleep in Australia than you do of successfully balancing profitability and multichannel fulfilment? But that’s okay because at SellerExpress, we’re here to even out the odds. In order to do that, you have to first understand the challenges in front of you so you don’t try and Sisyphus your way out of things.
1. Misunderstanding Each Channel’s Specific Marketing Needs
You know, if you’re driving, there’s one speed limit for the highways and another for side country roads? That’s because each setting has different environments and factors in place, and so you can’t treat both situations identically.
The same goes for marketing for your different channels. What works for one might not necessarily be effective for another, like investing in cost-per-click advertising for a brick-and-mortar store or avoiding a Facebook page for your online store.
And narrowing it down even further, you can look at static versus dynamic implementations. Take SEO as an example of a relatively static practice. You’re using relevant keywords to bump up your standing in searches. And something like Google AdWords would be more of a dynamic technique in that you’re continually re-evaluating and tweaking your investment and approach.
2. Not Getting the Right Payment Methods Put in Place
It’d be awesome if people could just deposit the payment for a product in your bank account via brainwaves, but until that happens, you’ll need to avail yourself of the different methods of payment that are out there — and there are so many.
PayPal is one of the easiest, most straightforward ways of handling transactions, with Apple Pay and Google Wallet two extremely close seconds. But what about things like credit cards? Just about every person has one, but not every merchant will accept each one. Visa is one of the world’s most popular cards, but Walmart recently announced it would stop accepting it in some of its Canadian stores. As a multichannel merchant, you need to consider which payment processing technologies will best work for you (and think of factors like broad appeal, processing fees, revenue and profit, security and more). And hey, if you’re on the tech-savvy side, you can always just build your own.
3. Being Opaque about Your Inventory Management
If you’ve ever shopped at a brick-and-mortar store, like a supermarket, then you can immediately see if a shelf is out of cheese or eggs. But what about if you’re browsing Amazon or eBay? You see the description, okay, but you’re trusting the merchant when they say there are X number of items in stock.
One of the worst multichannel mistakes you can make is not labelling a product as out-of-stock on all channels simultaneously…and then leave a buyer with a bad taste in their mouth because they thought they could purchase something that wasn’t actually there. The advice is simple: either continually monitor your sales and inventory (can take a lot of time), or use inventory management software (like SellerExpress) to just do it for you.
4. Confusing Your Customers about Returns and Exchanges
I have a friend who worked in a nursery years ago and described their plant guarantee/return policy. There are too many details to list (e.g. no actual refund, not applicable to all plants, didn’t apply every time), but it was essentially a bunch of Kool-Aid they were trying to get their customers to drink. When I heard that story, it made me never want to pick up a single thing there.
Obviously, having an open returns policy makes your customer happier, but it might not be the best financial sense for you, especially the more channels you run. Costs can escalate quickly, but you shouldn’t let that be a total deterrent for you. Instead, try and minimise costs wherever you can, like offering a total refund if they come into your brick-and-mortar establishment(s), placing a time limit or implementing a minimum purchase price to qualify for a refund.
5. Not Constantly Learning and Adapting to What’s out There
Pretty much no industry is immune from change, but let’s look at coding/programming for a second. It seems like the language that’s en vogue seems to change every few months, and the most successful developers are the ones who ride that crest instead of sticking with what they originally learned.
For you, the multichannel seller, this means reading blog posts and industry articles regarding what’s the latest out there. Take the time to test-drive different apps (like SellerExpress, free demo available!) and web page extensions to see what’s efficient and meshes with your style. It’s sort of like hiring a new employee: having a trial period in place will help reduce costs associated with the learning curves of new technologies, and also give you a strong idea of what works for you and what doesn’t.