3 Ways to Get Started With Multichannel E-commerce

3 Ways to Get Started With Multichannel E-commerce

Looking for ways to get started with multichannel e-commerce? Maybe you’ve heard this term online and are wondering what it refers to. Maybe you’ve done some e-commerce over a few channels and want to leverage additional ones.

And, of course, it is without a doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way we do business. The real secret, though, is that most businesses should be using e-commerce to improve their customer retention.

If you haven’t explored it, multichannel e-commerce may be anxiety-provoking. However, business owners can follow some simple practices that will lead them down the right path toward making e-commerce a core part of how they do business. If you’re looking to integrate multichannel e-commerce into your core business plan, or just trying to learn more about it before taking the leap, take note of our 3 ways to get started with multichannel e-commerce, below.

Way #1 to Get Started With Multichannel E-commerce: Establish a Third-Party Storefront

Large online retailers like Amazon.com, Ebay, Walmart, and Etsy welcome business owners (from solo entrepreneurs to leaders of international corporations) to sell products and services on their websites. For business owners who are new to e-commerce, there are numerous advantages to setting up shops on these platforms. The most obvious advantage is that these third-party websites are established in e-commerce and draw a lot of traffic. Also, these companies rely on business owners setting up storefronts on their websites as part of their core business models; they each have relatively easy ways to onboard businesses into their e-commerce structure.

Of course, setting up a storefront on any of these third-party websites is not free. Business owners who use third-party websites must pay these websites as part of doing business, whether it be subscription fees, referral fees, listing fees, closing fees, or the like.

Additionally, there is no guarantee that a business will make a profit from being on a third-party website. With an increasing number of businesses selling on third-party websites, some businesses prosper while others fail to gain traction. For business owners, it is worth evaluating the benefits and costs of having a storefront on a third-party website, as well as having a sound strategy for optimizing their ecommerce storefront.

Way #2 to Get Started With Multichannel E-commerce: Build Your Own Storefront

It is increasingly common for businesses to have their own website. However, business websites often serve as online billboards that advertise physical locations. Relatively few business websites have built-in ecommerce. For some, the prospect of managing online transactions on their own can seem daunting. Fortunately, there are a number of solutions for websites that business owners can take advantage of when creating ecommerce on their websites.

For example, business owners who have a WordPress website can easily integrate WooCommerce, an open-source e-commerce platform, into their website. Although WooCommerce (when using premium features) can cost more than other e-commerce platforms that integrate into templated websites (like Shopify and Wix), it is much more customizable.

Business owners can also take a more traditional approach to e-commerce by listing products and services on their own website (allowing for a shop cart feature) and redirecting final checkout to a third-party payment website (such as Paypal). Although Paypal is a trusted vendor, there are fees (transaction and flat) per cost of the transaction. Additionally, customers must also be comfortable with two different business vendors having access to their personal information when they use Paypal to pay a third-party business. Though there are costs to integrating e-commerce into custom websites, business owners build their online appeal by taking more control over their e-commerce.

Way #3 to Get Started With Multichannel E-commerce: Drive Leads With Social Media

Business owners should not overlook using social media for e-commerce. However, businesses should be strategic in choosing social media platforms: different social media platforms attract different consumer groups. For example, Snapchat is currently a great platform for engaging teens and young adults. If targeting middle-aged adults and seniors, business owners are better off creating an online presence on Facebook. When considering selling to other businesses, LinkedIn should be a top choice. These varied platforms also often require platform-specific means of advertising. Especially if business owners are invested in DIY advertising on these platforms to decrease costs, they need to be well-versed in how to create effective advertising on these platforms to generate interest, cultivate leads, and drive traffic to their e-commerce websites.

Or Give Our All-in-One Solution a Try

Do you need help in crafting a multichannel e-commerce strategy for your business? Do you lack the time or human resources to make multichannel e-commerce a reality for your business? Are you simply bewildered by all the requirements?

Contact us through the link below to talk about our all-in-one multichannel e-commerce solution.

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Why You Need a UX Strategy for Business Growth

Why You Need a UX Strategy for Business Growth

If you own a company that offers products and services using technology, whether that is via an e-commerce website, a mobile app, an enterprise application, or all three, you need a UX strategy for business growth. Why you might ask?

Let’s start by defining what a UX strategy is. According to Foolproof:

UX strategy is a long-term plan to align every customer touchpoint with your vision for user experience.

So, let’s break that down a bit: what are customer touchpoints? This refers to every way in which customers engage with your business. When a customer retweets you on Twitter, that is a touchpoint. When a customer requests a quote for a service via your company’s website, that is also a touchpoint.

This begs the question: what is a “vision for user experience?” According to Nielsen Norman Group:

“User experience” encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.

So, a UX strategy is essentially a plan for ensuring that all your customers have good experiences every time they engage with your company. And below are three reasons why you need a UX strategy for business growth.

Reason #1 Why You Need a UX Strategy for Business Growth: A Bad Experience Turns Customers Off

First off, a UX strategy can help improve the experiences customers have with your business’s touchpoints. The inverse is also true, however: when customers have a bad experience with a touchpoint, they will probably be less than thrilled. Think about it: what happens when a customer tries to get in touch with your company? Do they fill out a form on your website? Do they call you on the phone? Do they email you? If you’re like most companies, they probably do all three and more.

And then think: what happens after they contact you? Do they immediately get a response? Or do they have to wait for some amount of time? And what are they doing while they’re waiting? Are they doing nothing? Or are they shopping around with your competitors?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, then you don’t know what your customer’s experience of these touchpoints is. And these are just three touchpoints! You need to ensure that your customers are having a positive, engaging experience with every touchpoint. Otherwise, they might not engage again.

Reason #2 Why You Need a UX Strategy for Business Growth: As You Grow, You Will Have More Customer Touchpoints

Another reason you need a UX strategy is: if you’re a large company, you might have dozens of touchpoints. Many business owners can relate to starting out with only a few touchpoints, or even one. Many of us remember cold calling potential customers for days, weeks, or even months in order to build a customer base. Or emailing them. Or messaging them on LinkedIn.

But as your company grows, so will your touchpoints. If you’re a company with over fifty employees, you probably have many touchpoints. If you’re a company with five hundred employees or more you may have hundreds of them.

And as your touchpoints grow, the experiences customers have with each one will likely vary unless you have a strategy for ensuring each experience is a quality one. Using the above example, the touchpoints customers use to contact you: do you have a plan for ensuring that each and every touchpoint results in a positive experience for each and every customer?

Let’s drill down even further to one channel: contact forms on websites. Do you have one or do you have several? What experience does a customer have when filling out each contact form? Does it make sense, given what they’re asking about? Do you have a separate form for each product or service you offer or a large, general-purpose one? The experience a customer has at a touchpoint as simple as this can mean the difference between a customer hitting submit or not on that form.

On the other side, you may have much more complex touchpoints like email newsletters that send automatic responses based on customer behavior on your website. Existing customers may get very different types of information than prospective customers. And: what happens at each point in this chain? If you don’t know the exact answer to that question, if you don’t have data to back up your assumptions, then you can’t be sure that each and every touchpoint is working for each and every customer.

Reason #3 Why You Need a UX Strategy for Business Growth: Many of Us Are Building Technologies to Support Our Business Bottom-Line

The third reason you need a UX strategy is that, like it or not, many of us are building technologies to support our business, whether we are in a technology-related field or not. Organizations in industries from education to sports to manufacturing are requiring more and more technologies to support their business operations. These technologies may include:

  • IT infrastructure: servers, cloud technologies, computers, networks, hardware, software
  • Customer-facing business applications: websites, mobile apps, enterprise applications, social media channels, email marketing channels, support forums
  • E-commerce: online sales, revenue tracking, multichannel e-commerce across existing channels
  • IT monitoring: systems that track your other tools to ensure they’re in constant operation
  • Email and collaboration tools: email accounts that work across your business operation, tools and resources that your employees use for all form of collaboration

Not all of these technologies are customer-facing, but many are. And many are very complex and bundle a lot of customer touchpoints into one place, like your company website. Your company website may be viewed on hundreds of different types of devices, from large desktop displays to small smartphone displays that are several years behind the current technology. Are you certain that customers on every type of device can navigate, use, and find information on your website?

Add e-commerce to this mix and you have even more touchpoints from adding items to a cart to checking out to follow-up communications after an order is placed. Are you sure that every one of these interactions leads to a seamless, positive experience for your customers? Have you asked them? Have you tested each touchpoint?

If this article is causing you anxiety, then you might want to engage someone with experience in UX strategy to ensure all your touchpoints are serving your business. This is the purpose of UX strategy, after all: to fuel business growth through effective planning.