Editor's note: This blog was originally published in December 2015. It has since been updated to include current information and comparison data.
So you're looking for a ChannelAdvisor alternative. Whether you're a current customer or are evaluating them as a potential fit for your business, you're doing the right thing in exploring your options. Why?
Imagine an orchestra. Imagine multiple instruments and musicians at the ready, all waiting for the conductor's cue to put bow to strings, lips to mouthpiece. There's a silence...a moment of anticipation before the conductor raises his baton, gives the tempo and signals the start of the music.
Without a conductor, an orchestra is doomed from the beginning. While everyone knows their individual roles, no one has the full score and vision of the conductor. Similarly, an ecommerce business is doomed without the right multichannel software.
The right software makes sure that all the different pieces of a business work in perfect unison and keep tempo with the internet.
For years, ChannelAdvisor seemed like the best solution, simply for being one of the first to market and being able to "check all of the boxes." But sellers large and small have grown tired of the old, inflexible system that fails to live up to its promises.
As a modern-day seller, who should you trust to simplify and grow your multichannel operations?
Our short list is based on merit. Zentail, ChannelAdvisor and CommerceHub were the first three official integration partners of Jet.com, Walmart Marketplace, and Google Shopping Actions. Today, they remain the preferred choices among larger sellers, though they differ in technology, ease of use and customer service.
If you’re just getting started or tight on a budget, there’s less expensive software that you can look into. Keep in mind that you often get what you pay for. Many former users of these platform cite problems with reliability or scalability as reasons for switching to a bigger platform. Others desire more automation, seeking a nimble way to perform tasks ranging from product listing to order management.
What do you plan to accomplish over the next 12, 18 and 24 months? Can you afford to transition between platforms if your requirements change, or are you looking for a platform that's designed to scale with your business?
The answer to this question will help you weed out the necessities from features that simply sound good. As you're consider your long-term goals, will you need any of the following?
What roles and tasks should your software support? How important is having a simple interface, given how many people will be logging in and out of the platform? What are the fees for multiple users? Are there user-permissions?
Are you simply looking to list your products, or do you want a solution that can help optimize your product listings on each channel? What additional features, automation or support would be helpful for achieving this goal?
Do you know how profitable you are on all of your channels? Do you desire more visibility, better data and/or custom reports to help identify trends, spot errors and/or make sound business decisions?
How much time do you spend updating your catalog or inventory currently? How are you looking to improve that, and what is an acceptable amount of time that your software should take to synchronize your inventory and publish your product data to your desired channels?
How much money and time are you seeking to redeem through automation? What could more could your employees be doing if you freed up that time for them?
While often a secondary consideration, you'll likely have to contact support at one point or another, whether it’s for help getting started with a feature or understanding changes within the platform. When this happens, how long are your willing to wait for a response? How would you like to receive support and for whom (e.g., just you or multiple team members)?
Are you looking for two-way communication between you and your software partner, in which you can influence the prioritization of new features or enhancements? How important is it for the software company to be invested in innovation?
Are you willing to invest several months of time and disrupted operations to fully transition to your new multichannel platform? Would you rather a shorter onboarding period?
Are you willing to pay large up-front fees and sign binding annual contracts? Would you rather a month-to-month arrangement as you build trust and confidence with your new platform?
There was once a time when ChannelAdvisor could strong-arm sellers into paying hefty fees for a service that they claimed only their software could provide. Truth is, better alternatives exists. Avoid picking a software that simply puts on a good show during your research process. Find one you can trust to conduct business quickly and reliably even when you're not looking.
Zentail is the top multichannel ecommerce management platform in this respect. With an AI-driven listing solution and the industry's most user-friendly interface, Zentail accelerates commerce for today's online brands and retailers.
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
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