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What is Multi-Channel eCommerce?

Multi-Channel eCommerce

Every week there seems to be new buzzwords floating around. A few weeks ago, no-one was using Vine, but now you’ll see their short video clips popping up everywhere. Staying on trend is extremely important for web developers, but it’s also a necessity for all businesses, especially if you’re selling goods or services online.

The latest key idea for online stores is Multi-Channel eCommerce. This method of trading has been around for as long as the internet, but it’s only recently that companies are starting to get up to spend with selling their products through a variety of methods. To understand how to harness Multi-Channel eCommerce for your business, you’ll have to know what each of the channels are.

Direct Traffic
This involves people seeking out your website by typing in the URL, and is the way a lot of major brands make their online profits. However, for smaller companies, getting direct traffic to your site often involves a lot of offline marketing and advertising, which can prove extremely costly.

Search Engine Optimisation
Honing in on your audience through good SEO is the most effective way to reach your customers and sell your services. Getting your website in the first page of Google rankings, or even better, at number one, will increase your sales exponentially. Populating your site with the right keywords is a surefire way to get your website up the rankings, increasing your sales in the process.

Online Advertising
Paid advertising on search engines can also be great for gaining exposure and gaining sales. Banner advertising isn’t always effective, while it’s often difficult to judge the success of radio, newspaper, or television campaigns. On the other hand, Google Adwords can be tracked and analysed to see exactly what works to reach your target audience.

Marketplaces
A few years ago, eBay was synonymous with online shopping. While eBay isn’t as big a name as it once was, many Irish businesses find success selling their products through third-party websites, such as online retail giant Amazon or specific online marketplaces like The Fashion Shed – keep in mind, however, these third-party sites will take a share of your profits if you use them, but they can be an excellent way to reach more customers that you might ordinarily reach through your own eCommerce channels.

Mobile
A lot of bigger stores have their own apps for iPhone, Android, and other mobile and tablet devices, but if your brand isn’t a big name already, it will be difficult to convince people to download your app, and very expensive to develop it in the first place. A responsive Online Shop will be much more effective for small to medium enterprises, as all smartphones come with an inbuilt web browser, making it convenient to purchase products straight from your phone. It’s also very useful if your live website looks the same across all devices, which creates a sense of familiarity for your customers.

Social Media
Social Media can be great for connecting with your customers, receiving feedback, and providing assistance. As well as that, you can use social media to promote individual products, and even sell directly to your customers through apps on Facebook and Pinterest. Having thousands of likes on Facebook or followers on twitter not only leaves you with a guaranteed audience to target, but also helps build your brand reputation when it comes to winning over new customers.