Multichannel eCommerce — Benefits, Challenges and Opportunities

Shopping online is one of the most popular activities on the Web. A person can shop anytime or anywhere-even in pajamas! Webpages are built to promote specific goods and services that can be purchased online and delivered to a personal/professional setting. Over the past ten (10) years, eCommerce has grown in leaps and bounds, particularly with the rise of companies that allow electronic transactions, such as eBay and Amazon.

Nowadays, it is common for companies to have a significant online presence, mainly “brick and mortar” stores,where multichannel eCommerce gives customers the ability to:

  • Search through an extensive database of products and services and build their orders over several days
  • Compare pricing for the same product over dozens of channels and choose the best one.

An eCommerce multichannel is where different groups of people sell goods/services in different ways at different times. The goal is to satisfy as many people as possible while continually scaling to increasing traffic. There can be several challenges with this approach:

To avoid such hurdles, businesses often choose a single platform to publish and manage their product and service lines, such as Shopify, ChannelAdvisor, and Seller Active. This platform provides a central place to trade products, reach out to more communities all over the world, and receive revenue in common currency. Often these platforms are used to sell and manage products/services, but additional applications can be added to process shipping and backorders. Apps like Shipstation and Ecomdash allow vendors to fulfill their orders by direct shipping and order processing options, or using shipping gateways likeUPS and FedEx.

Based on the product and service verticals, these sellers can be divided into two categories:

B2C merchants have direct reach to customers and thus have to strictly maintain their product portfolio, as customer buying patterns are based on product reviews and past experiences with the seller. B2B merchants, on the other hand, have to provide merchants’ orders on time and thus have to maintain their delivery portfolio diligently. ECommerce platforms for both types of sellers are the same, but utilization is different. Most of the B2C and B2B merchants use an integrated web of applications to manage their day-to-day operations. A typical example would be:

The applications vary from merchant to merchant — B2C often go for the cheaper option while B2B go for ERP’s, which have all of the above capabilities. These applications provide an efficient way to complete operations on multichannel eCommerce platforms, as the integrated platform automates data sharing and reduces manual intervention to maintain product stock.

DBSync, a pioneer iPaas for a multichannel eCommerce, provides actionable information towards customer and product repletion statuses. Most IPaaS’ fail when it comes to a full cycle integration, and thus B2B merchants tend to go with fully optimized and integrated ERP. However, not all ERP’s support of all channels, so merchants end up with a simplified, integrated solution.

DBSync is a leading player in this vertical, as its’ pre-built connectors for applications like ChannelAdvisor, Shopify and Shipstation, can be used to build connections to other similar domain apps using the Swagger framework.

The battle for most retailers today is to create brand awareness for their product/service. Comparison Shopping Engines (CSEs) like Google Shopping, Nextag and Connexity allow customers to compare product lines over multiple eCommerce channels. NOTE: A fee is required to have a product appear in top search results.

Most retailers struggle to set their multichannel strategies and thus fail to reach their target audience. Some companies like ChannelAdvisor and GoDataFeed have options to simplify this process. They provide Feed Campaign Management and optimize product listing ads for digital marketers, providing them with a centralized platform to enhance their product content, overcome unprofitable products automatically and provide actionable insights to grow their product line bidding.

The fast-growing eCommerce industry is trending towards growing the customer base rather than the number of channels. Hence, retailers/sellers have to focus their Multichannel Marketing Strategy to ensure repeat customers.

The ability to “tag” products based on user preferences (via Web and mobile browsing) and make them available on social media has been a game-changer, as customers no longer have to leave social media channels to purchase a product/service. Retailers can also invest in CSEs to ensure their product/service reaches its targeted community. This can increase search listings and allow movement towards Omni channel marketing.

DBSync, as a unified integration platform, can play a crucial role in making B2B sellers’ businesses grow beyond their expectations by optimizing order processing and fulfillment and exposing them to the global eCommerce web.

Originally published at https://www.mydbsync.com on September 9, 2019.

As CEO of DBSync, Rajeev has led the strategic emphasis on the integration space, while also ensuring alignment between customer needs and product development.