These days, it is increasingly difficult for small businesses to rely solely on traditional stores to sell their products. And this is due to the fact that consumer behavior has changed. Everyone uses their smartphone these days for shopping.
This is why eCommerce platforms such as Shopify, and marketplaces such as Etsy and eBay, dominate the world of e-commerce, not to mention the thousands of other trading platforms around the world.
That’s why, as an online business owner, you need to “dig your well before you’re thirsty,” writes acclaimed marketer Harvey Mackay. The concept works well to illustrate a simple eCommerce strategy that will help you reach even more customers – multichannel selling.
Multichannel selling is the strategy of listing your products on multiple platforms to reach a larger audience. The more you diversify your distribution channels for your products online, the more potential sales you make. Also, the earlier you do it, the more income potential you will have for the future.
In this article, we are going to focus on how to sell in online marketplaces and we will look at:
- Why do you need to increase your distribution channels?
- What are the potential drawbacks of this method?
- What are the popular online markets?
- How do you decide which online market is right for you?
- How to integrate your Printful account with your online market?
Table of Contents
Why Do You Need to Increase Your Distribution Channels?
Selling online gives you the opportunity to join a global network of potential customers.
Sticking to one sales channel can limit the number of people who find you. Fortunately, multichannel selling can help you solve this problem by:
- Increasing the reach of your products and reaching a wider audience. You can have a beautifully designed website and have top-quality products, but if no one stumbles upon your store, you will be hard-pressed to make more sales. However, if you sell your products on your website and also quote them in multiple online marketplaces, the reach of your brand and products can increase dramatically.
- Providing a convenient user experience. We are all creatures of habit. If you get used to shopping on Amazon, placing an order on eBay or Etsy might seem too difficult. By being where your customers are, you make their experience easier and more enjoyable.
- Helping you better understand your audience. By selling through multiple sales channels, you have the opportunity to collect more information about your customers and their buying habits. You can then use this knowledge to design your marketing or sales campaigns or to decide which sales channel should be your next target.
- Multiplying sales during peak hours. These peak days fall all year round; Black Friday, Boxing Day, back to school and more. In this sense, multichannel selling is like hitting a double word in Scrabble: add more channels to multiply your sales.
The Disadvantages of Multichannel Selling
Selling on several different channels can help you generate more sales. But with the new sales channels come some additional responsibilities. Here are a few that you should be aware of:
- Rules and restrictions. Each market has its own rules that you must comply with. Sometimes that means you can’t customize your store the way you want, or you can’t sell the products you want. For example, Etsy is very committed to sellers who work with production partners.
- Inventory. Inventory management can become difficult when selling across multiple channels. You need to make sure that you have enough in stock for each product and that you can deliver each order on time.
- Fees. Many online marketplaces will require you to pay a fee. These can range from monthly subscriptions to a percentage of each sale.
- Implementation and follow-up. Each market is slightly different. So you need to take some of your time to get set up, understand how it works, and keep it running.
- The taxes. Managing your taxes can get complicated as you have to mine and juggle data from each sales channel.
But of course, these hurdles can be overcome, and they’re well worth the time and effort with the right strategy.
What Are Some Popular Online Marketplaces to Sell ?
There are almost limitless potential distribution channel combinations to use for your online store. A common approach would be a primary store with Shopify, a secondary set up in an online marketplace like Etsy, and a buy button on your Facebook page.
Let’s take a look at some of the more popular marketplaces that you should consider locating yourself in.
Amazon is an online market giant with more than 310 million active customers and receives over 206 million unique visitors every month. In 2018, this market https://ir.aboutamazon.com/news-release/news-release-details/2021/Amazon.com-Announces-Fourth-Quarter-Results/generated net sales of $ 232 billion, up $ 55 billion from the previous year.
If you want to be successful on Amazon, you must first of all strictly follow the seller’s instructions. Here are some key points to know:
- Orders must respect delivery deadlines
- Customers’ questions should be answered within 24 hours
- Tracking information should be passed to your customer
- There must be at least one product photo with a white background
Amazon has two types of plans: individual and professional. The individual plan has no monthly fees and is ideal for small merchants who plan to sell less than 40 items per month. The Professional plan costs $ 39.99 per month and is intended for experienced sellers and high volumes.
This online marketplace has a per item fee, which means you will have to pay certain fees for each item sold. The exact amount depends on the type of product sold and the type of package you choose.
Amazon has gained a reputation as the place to be for the best prices online, making it tough to compete in this market.
Additionally, the authorized brand display on your Amazon store is somewhat limited. This means you won’t be able to display your logo or create a header image on your store page.
Etsy specializes in handmade items, vintage items, and craft supplies. It is one of the go-to places for online shoppers looking for unique products that are not available in department stores.
Etsy is a huge marketplace, with over 1.93 million sellers and 34 million buyers. Etsy is also growing rapidly. In fact, the number of active buyers increased 18.3% year over year in the first quarter of 2019.
Creating a store on Etsy is free and there is no monthly subscription fee. However, you will be charged for listing an item and selling it.
While there is a lot of competition on Etsy, you may be able to price your products more on this platform as users expect to pay more for handmade items or personalized items. If you want to offer your customers product customization and/or a gift option, our integration fully supports it.
And here are some steps you can take to get your first sale on Etsy:
- Import high quality .jpg images (mockups and lifestyle)
- Write creative and accurate product descriptions
- Make your products searchable
eBay is another giant in the market. It was started as an auction market, but over time more and more sellers started to open stores to offer products at fixed prices. Today, it has around 25 million sellers and over 1.1 billion live listings. eBay is growing year on year, and according to their regularly updated quarterly statistics, there were 182 million active buyers in the second quarter of 2019. Awesome!
If you are positioning yourself as a professional seller with eBay, you will need to pay monthly subscription fees . This market also has two types of selling fees that you should be aware of:
- Insertion fees when you create a list. It depends on your plan, the type of product and whether it is listed for a fixed price or an auction.
- A final value tax when your item is sold. These charges are calculated as a percentage of the total amount paid by your customers, including shipping and handling charges.
eBay has more options for customizing your store than Amazon. So you can change the aesthetic of your store (for example, add a header photo) if you want.
Wish is a massive market with over 90 million monthly active users (over half of them in Europe). Additionally, 80% of Wish customers are coming back to buy again, showing that Wish is truly an e-commerce competitor with a future.
Back in 2010, Wish was created as a wishlist maker app. However, three years later, it has grown into an ecommerce marketplace for small business owners and manufacturers to sell their products directly to customers through the Wish app.
Wish doesn’t have any signup, monthly, referral, or other fees, but it does have a commission called Revenue Sharing . You can find out the percentage charged by signing up, then going to Account> Settings .
Wish can compete with the competition, as the majority of products offered in this market are from Chinese manufacturers and therefore have incredibly low prices. But there are ways to take advantage of this work. For example, you can schedule a flash sale every now and then to increase sales volume and increase your chances of being seen.
As in any market, aesthetic products tend to sell better. In fact, Wish suggests uploading more than 5 photos per product to grab the attention of buyers.
It is also important that product descriptions are brief but detailed. Therefore, be sure to mention measurements, materials, care instructions, or any other information that is helpful in making a purchasing decision.
Finally, since Wish’s audience is global, consider making your products available in as many countries as possible.
Storenvy is a unique e-commerce platform that offers both an online store builder and an online marketplace. It positions itself as a place where independent brands can find their home and meet buyers interested in unique products.
As of the second half of 2019, Storenvy has over 65,000 merchants and receives over 1.5 million unique visitors every month.
If you are intrigued by selling on Storenvy, you must first decide if you want to:
- Sell on their marketplace. There is no monthly subscription or product listing fee, but you will be charged 10% for each sale made in the marketplace.
- Open your own store. Opening your store on Storenvy is completely free and you keep 100% of your sales, less transaction costs . However, a 10% commission fee, known as a “ Marketplace Assisted Selling ,” may be charged when the customer purchases products from your store but initially found you in the Marketplace.
Remember, while the big markets get a lot of traffic and recognition, there is also a lot more competition. Do your research to find markets more suited to your niche; Sometimes the small markets are more efficient than the big players.
How to decide which online market is best for you
First and foremost, you need to define a strategy for selling. You don’t want to bite more than you can chew, so choose wisely. Do your research and make a list of marketplaces where you can position yourself, taking into account these points:
- Product. Review the types of products sold on each platform and see if yours belong there
- Target audience. You want to be where your ideal customers are, so go to the markets where you are most likely to find them.
- Regulations and fees. Pick markets with what fees you can afford and regulations you can comply with.
- Competition. There is a lot of competition in the online marketplaces, so you want to position yourself where your products can stand out and your prices can be competitive.
Other ways to sell Printful products in online marketplaces
If you want to sell in a market that doesn’t integrate with Printful or ShipStation, don’t worry. You can still use Printful by manually submitting the orders you receive. When a customer purchases a product from your store, you can manually enter that order with Printful, and then we’ll print it and ship it to your customer.
Keep in mind that it can take a long time if you have a lot of orders.
Pro tip: If you’re a Shopify Plus user, take advantage of the platform’s multi-channel features. With a Shopify Plus account, you can transfer products from your Shopify store directly to Amazon, eBay, and other marketplaces. It will appear on the backend of your Shopify account and on your Printful account.
Go beyond online marketplaces
Multichannel selling is the future of e-commerce. Join multiple markets or start selling on your social media accounts by adding buy buttons to your profiles and posts.
But don’t forget about the opportunities that you can have with a physical store. So think about ways to promote your brand offline, like opening a pop-up store or attending craft fairs.
There is no doubt that multiplying your sales channels can be a challenge, but it is definitely worth a try. So choose your distribution channels wisely and make sure you can handle the increase in sales.