ChannelAdvisor is one of the most well-known names among multichannel merchants. But, it’s also not a secret that ChannelAdvisor is not for everyone. In fact, we’d go as far as saying that it’s not for most non-enterprise sellers (think: $100 million in GMV or more) who seek a nimble, cost-efficient and easy-to-use system to help run their business.
At the time of ChannelAdvisor’s founding in 2001, sellers had limited listing options—but there are now many multichannel software alternatives that serve a variety of purposes. Among them is Zentail, the preferred listing automation platform among former ChannelAdvisor users. Between its proprietary technology and white-glove support team, Zentail offers a plethora of advantages better suited for small-to-medium-sized businesses.
Keep reading to discover which platform is right for you.
ChannelAdvisor Pros and Cons
If there’s one thing that can’t be refuted, it’s that ChannelAdvisor is the oldest multichannel ecommerce platform. This is both the reason for the company’s success and demise: we often hear sellers say that they defaulted to ChannelAdvisor, given its reputation, and then leave due to outdated or “clunky” software.
“ChannelAdvisor...was the only native connection with NetSuite [at the time], which is why we used it,” said Ecommerce Manager CoCo Peterson at Candle Warmers, which used ChannelAdvisor temporarily to connect their ERP with sales channels like Amazon.
“But I absolutely, absolutely did not enjoy my experience,” Peterson added, noting that her team dealt with poor configured workflows, high fees and multiple phone calls with a “flippant person with a bad attitude.”
Therein lies several core issues that sellers face. For one, the platform is often described as hard to use and minimally automatic. While ChannelAdvisor connects to a slew of domestic and international sales channels, users are required to create their own listing templates and manually map their product data for each sku on each channel.
Its 2001 roots are evident in the user experience, as well. Former users report how complex the software is. While it offers plenty of modules to choose from, most are not relevant to what teams actually need to manage their businesses.
Moreover, ChannelAdvisor comes with a hefty price tag. Aside from the initial contract and a mandatory commission on your sales, which could skyrocket into the tens of thousands per year, you face separate charges for support, each additional sales channel and other add-ons. In general, support is accused of being “nonexistent” unless you’re paying a premium for it.
While ChannelAdvisor may have been ahead of its time years ago, today it lags behind many others in terms of its automation and customer care.
- The most number of sales channels (100+), including international marketplaces
- Many customizable reports, dashboards and modules to choose from
- Ecommerce ad management within software
- Old, clunky, legacy software
- “Half-baked tools” that still require lots of manual setup and management
- Most expensive platform on the market
- Charges its own percentage-based commission on your sales that increases as your business grows
- “Nonexistent” customer support
- Long, difficult onboarding process
Top ChannelAdvisor Alternative: Zentail
Zentail’s approach to multichannel is notably different from ChannelAdvisor. ChannelAdvisor was built to work well with eBay in 2001, whereas Zentail was built by sellers (who themselves sold on multiple channels) in 2011, at a time when other marketplaces outside of Amazon were cropping up and already revealing the complexities of managing products across channels.
See Also: Zentail vs. ChannelAdvisor
It was during this time that our founders realized that something as simple as listing your products to multiple channels could take hours of repetitive work—and each channel was constantly changing, requiring a solution that could track these changes 24/7 and translate data according to each channel’s unique requirements.
Not only this, but it became apparent that speed often came at the expense of quality. Ecommerce automation existed in various forms, but none perfected the art of balancing automation with high-quality product data that could actually help you rank higher on your top sales channels.
Hence why Zentail established SMART Types, the only system that can keep up with the volatile nature of ecommerce. With SMART Types, you can rest easy knowing that your listings are enriched for each channel and can easily adapt to any changes in listing requirements. Using this same technology, Zentail can deliver on one-click listing. Whether you’re looking to expand to eBay, Walmart Marketplaces or other channels—you can simply switch a toggle ‘on’ and instantly list your product (with the right category and formatting) to each channel.
- The only platform with a change management solution (aka SMART Types) and true one-click multichannel listing
- The industry’s easiest-to-use interface
- A focus on quality, not just speed
- Deep, reliable integrations into today’s top U.S. marketplaces
- Five-star-rated support team
- Additional tools for inventory, pricing and order management
- Doesn’t nickel-and-dime you—only one contract fee
- Does not currently support international marketplaces
- Does not natively support dropship vendors, though has integrations into other dropship platforms
- Not the right fit for new or part-time sellers; only makes sense for sellers fully invested in multichannel ecommerce
I quit a free year of ChannelAdvisor three months in to make the switch to Zentail (yes, I went from something free to something I'm now paying for). That was the best switch I could have made...No other company I've worked with has gone above and beyond in the way these folks have.
- WebRetailer Reviewer
Case Study: Candle Warmers
Candle Warmers, which develops over 200 home fragrances that are sold nationwide, sought a replacement for ChannelAdvisor soon after onboarding to it.
The team ran into issues from the beginning, according to Peterson. Getting Amazon connected to ChannelAdvisor was a challenge riddled with complicated workflows. Rather than saving her team time, the platform cost her many hours trying to reach ChannelAdvisor support for help.
Peterson therefore lobbied for a change. She stumbled across multiple five-star reviews for Zentail—a younger, more customer-centric platform—and quickly hopped onboard to make up for lost time and sales.
Sure enough, Zentail helped to increase efficiency by leaps and bounds. Through Zentail, Peterson’s team has gained a central command center to manage everything from their multichannel listings, inventory and orders. The platform has reduced overselling significantly and triggered a 170% jump in online sales within the first 90 days of onboarding.
“Zentail is truly a partner that wants us to be successful together instead of just taking our money and saying, ‘See ya when your contract needs to be renewed!,’” says Peterson.
Read More: Candle Warmers (Full Case Study)
FAQs About Zentail
Who is Zentail best for?
The most successful users tend to earn (or be on track to earning) a $1 million or more in GMV. They are fully invested in multichannel and are either brand owners or authorized resellers.
How does pricing on Zentail work?
Zentail offers custom proposals and pricing for every user to ensure that you get the best possible price for your business. Each plan comes with access to our full platform and channel integrations (read: we do not believe in “taxing” your business). Plans vary depending on your SKU count and order volume.
Does Zentail offer month-to-month pricing?
Nope, Zentail only offers contracts over a 12-month period to ensure that you get the most out of our software and receive proper care over an entire fiscal year.
What channels and apps does Zentail integrate with?
Zentail integrates with the most-high value channels in the U.S., including (but not limited to) Amazon, Walmart Marketplace, eBay and Newegg. It also has direct connections into shopping carts like Shopify and BigCommerce, as well as popular seller apps. View a full list of integrations here.
What are SMART Types?
SMART Types refers to Zentail’s proprietary technology, which enables one-click listing to multiple channels and easy change management. Marketplace requirements for sellers are constantly changing—sometimes overnight—which regularly causes issues with sudden listing errors, delisting and lost sales or rankings. But thanks to SMART Types, Zentail users are protected; the platform will keep product data properly formatted or quickly alert you if you need to address a change.
Experience Zen in Retail—Get Started Today
Test drive Zentail by requesting a free, no-strings-attached demo. See why former ChannelAdvisor users love Zentail and call it a big upgrade.