Sales Channels Strategy: Tactics to Boost Your Ecommerce Business
Diversifying your ecommerce sales strategy is essential to a successful marketing campaign. But it all depends on your website, not your external channels.
Channel sales strategies involve using partners and third parties such as referral partners, affiliate partners, wholesalers, distributors, managed service providers, marketplaces, and value-added resellers to sell products and services. This is in contrast to the traditional direct selling strategy where the company's sales team is solely responsible for selling products to customers.
A successful channel program can dramatically increase sales, but there's no such thing as an autopilot setup. You need to work closely with your partners to ensure they are implementing the right plans and strategies. Partners and sellers sell differently and often need different messaging, marketing resources, etc.
You must provide your partners with the training, tools, and resources they need to help them sell their products while providing an omnichannel retail experience. This is different from what the immediate team uses in most cases.
With distribution channels, a growing business can find new revenue and revenue streams both outside and alongside its internal efforts. Note that even if you are adopting an indirect sales strategy, you should still consider expanding your direct sales team if you want to get the best results.
Types of Sales Channels
There are countless ways to market your products to your ideal customers.
We'll cover four common types of sales channels: wholesale, retail (online and in-store), direct-to-consumer (DTC), and B2B. You will learn what they are and what they consist of, their pros and cons, and how to decide which channel is right for your business and channel strategy, including multichannel and omnichannel strategies.
When it comes to retail sales channels, retailers sell products directly to end customers in-store or online through marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, and Walmart, through online stores using platforms such as BigCommerce, Magento, or over the phone using Shopify.
Alternatively, you can use a combination of these methods. You can be the manufacturer of a product, or you can source related products from a distributor or wholesaler.
While selling wholesale, you end up selling your products in bulk to various distributors and retailers for further sale. Because we sell in bulk, we end up selling our products at a lower unit price, reducing processing time and associated costs.
A wholesaler may be, but is not necessarily, a manufacturer or producer. It can also be a wholesaler and a retailer at the same time. Some people call it a hybrid business and it makes a powerful case for multiple sales channels.
Directly to the Consumer
Direct-to-consumer is a relatively new addition to sales channel offerings, driven by changes in shopping behaviour and new innovative online brands that have put pressure on traditional wholesalers. A direct-to-consumer (DTC) business model, is in which a brand or manufacturer sells its products directly to consumers and end-users, rather than just selling them through retailers.
B2B is sometimes included in the wholesale approach, but it is slightly different. When a wholesaler sells (from a business) to a retailer, B2B refers strictly to the business of selling to another business that is the intended end user of the product. Examples of this type of business are selling coffee machines to your office or selling tires to car dealers.
Examples of Using Multiple Sales Channels
Sales channels in marketing represents how a product is transferred from retailers to consumers. Multichannel marketing means leveraging multiple channels, especially the channels your customers use the most. You are meeting your audience anywhere through social media, mobile apps, email inbox, SMS, or phone.
Apple: Customer Service and Training
Apple is considered a "click and mortar" retailer. In other words, Apple has physical stores and online stores. However, the situation with Apple's physical stores is unique. Apple Stores are not intended for sale but are primarily intended to complement Apple's ecommerce business, which accounts for the majority of total sales.
In this way, Apple's physical stores serve as customer touchpoints that support the overall Apple experience. Since physical stores aren't necessarily retail-focused, customers can visit the Apple Store without having to shop. And because customers go to brick-and-mortar stores more often, Apple can foster greater brand immersion.
Starbucks: Customer Loyalty Driver
Almost everything related to the Starbucks customer experience is carefully designed to encourage customers to continue visiting Starbucks. One example is Starbucks Rewards, which is consistently ranked as one of the top customer loyalty programs. Under this program, customers earn points or "stars" for each purchase.
Collect stars to unlock free drinks and food. Plus, earning stars unlocks higher levels of the Starbucks rewards program. Each level includes even more benefits like free refills and finally the Starbucks Gold Card. Once unlocked, the Gold Card (really just a gift card with the customer's name on it) can be accessed through the company's main customer touch points.
This incentive has enabled Starbucks to cultivate strong loyalty among its reward customers. They discover their favourite drinks and snacks while earning rewards, almost putting them in competition with competitors who (a) don't offer their favourite items and (b) don't help them reach the next reward level.
Disney: Optimise Across Devices
Visit the Disney website on any device and you will have a great experience. This is partly due to the responsive web design. The Disney site may automatically adapt to the device you are using. But Disney marketing optimisation goes beyond making your website look great on all screen sizes.
The Disney website provides quick and easy access to all of the company's areas of work, including the ShopDisney online store, Disney Vacation Planner, and access to an extensive catalogue of popular entertainment. Most importantly, all of these features and pages (even the vacation planner) are fully functional on any device.
The vacation planner is certainly one of the most impressive elements on this site and makes planning trips to Disney parks and attractions very easy. Users select the park (or parks) they want to stay in and go through the process of creating an itinerary in My Disney Experience step by step.
Sales Channels in Marketing Statistics
No matter how your marketing department approaches the adoption of omnichannel marketing, this handy set of sales channel marketing stats will remind you that you're on the right track and inspire you to do more. Your customers are waiting to participate. Multichannel marketing is the best way to communicate with them in the new online, offline, and mobile world.
- 40% of agency customers in the APAC region derive more than a quarter of their e-commerce revenue from mobile, and about 10% derive the majority of their revenue from mobile.
- 40% of marketers have chosen paid search as their top-selling engine, with 26% citing display advertising and 18% preferring social media.
- Multi-channel marketing has given retailer Zalora one of the best apparel ecommerce sites in APAC since 2012.
- 50% of omnichannel marketers say they have met their financial goals “usually” or “always”.
- 88% of retailers say enabling in-store shipping improves or significantly improves customer satisfaction.
Why an Ecommerce Store Should be the Centre of Your Sales Channel Strategy
Diversifying your ecommerce sales strategy is essential to a successful marketing campaign. But it all depends on your website, not your external channels. Whether you primarily sell through social media or a distributor like Amazon, a custom online store is critical to growing sales over time.
That's why it's so important to put your ecommerce website at the heart of your sales channel strategy.
1. Easy to Use
There can be no doubt. The online store is easy to use. More than 2.14 billion people are expected to buy goods online in the next few years, many of whom are already familiar with online payment procedures on ecommerce websites and online stores.
2. Easy to Make
Many online stores can be built cheaply, well, and at scale. Platforms like Shopify allow people and businesses to drag and drop items into a field to post. You can also use your e-commerce site to direct people to other sales channels, including social media platforms or apps.
3. Control Limit
External selling platforms (those you don't own) have a strict listing or product selling requirements. Much fewer internal platforms (like websites). List and sell whatever you want by adding specific descriptions, product photos, or comment and rating systems that best suit your needs.
4. Express your Brand
More than 70% of customers want personal experiences with your business. Make your brand's voice stand out by injecting fun into your images, text, sound, and tone of voice. Use a variety of fonts, colours, and styles that best represent your brand and values.
Ultimately, the most important element of any sales channel strategy is building a heart-pounding ecommerce store. Do what you can to form a central base camp on your website and then create individual sales channels based on your strategy.
We owe our customers to be as flexible, flexible, and adaptable as possible. With a winning channel strategy, your online store can reach more customers in less time.