Multichannel eCommerce can significantly increase the number of potential customers your brand is able to reach, but it also makes multichannel inventory management and creating a consistent brand image more challenging. Here is an overview of what multichannel selling is, why it is important for your brand, and how you can use multichannel selling software to increase consistency across channels to boost your brand reputation!
What Is Multichannel Selling?
Limiting your brand's products to Shopify or your personal website can produce significantly different results from selling them on as many platforms or other channels as possible, and considering the benefits and drawbacks of each of these options can help you determine what selling channels are the best fit for the goals of your business. These channels can include everything from physical stores and popup shops to your own website and a plethora of online marketplaces, and making sure that customers receive a similar experience regardless of how or where they interact with your brand is a must when it comes to building and maintaining your brand reputation.
Selling only in stores on one platform gives you a higher level of control over the overall experience each of your customers has interacting with your brand, while choosing a multichannel approach allows you to reach a higher number of potential customers. Multichannel selling can include everything from selling on your personal website and one third-party platform to selling on every platform you can find, and most businesses fall somewhere in between.
How Does Selling Across Multiple Channels Impact Brand Reputation?
Customers generally include their entire experience when considering what they think about a particular brand, which means that aspects that are related to a particular channel are also important. They may consider how clean a store is, the professionalism or lack thereof of emails from your business's team members, how Shopify or another third-party platform handles a particular transaction, and other elements of their overall experience that would not apply if they had made their purchase through another channel. This means that both your products or services and various channel-specific elements of your customers' experience can positively or negatively impact your brand reputation.
Consistency Creates Strong Customer Experiences Across All Channels
The experience each customer has purchasing a product or service that ultimately comes from your business can look vastly different depending on which platform they choose because third-party channels have their own policies and customer service that may positively or negatively impact your customers' overall experience.
High fees associated with certain platforms, poor customer service, long response times to ship products or contact you to have them shipped, and other potential problems associated with third-party platforms may subconsciously become linked to your business in your customers' minds, and customers that place future orders from a different platform and have a very different experience may no longer have the same opinion about your brand.
Consider Consistency When Selecting Selling Channels and Platforms
For this reason, doing what you can to increase consistency is a must to make sure that multichannel selling does not hinder your customers' experience. Although you cannot necessarily control certain errors and other negative experiences on a third-party platform's end, you can take steps to reduce the likelihood that customers will have a particularly negative experience by carefully evaluating the quality that each channel you are considering selling your products on typically provides.
Certain platforms have a better reputation than others, and limiting the options your potential customers have to a manageable number of channels that typically produce strong results gives you a higher level of control over the consistency and quality of their experience.
How Can I Increase Consistency When Multichannel Selling?
Taking steps to make sure that your customers receive a similar level of quality and customer service from every channel your brand offers is a must. Here are four helpful tips for increasing consistency across a wide range of in-person and online channels!
Create a Brand Style Guide
Clearly defining what makes your brand your brand is a must when it comes to making sure any third parties you work with know how you want it to be promoted. A style guide is an overview of the most important information about your business, its voice and tone, and its branding, and distributing this information makes it easier for various channels to accurately represent your brand.
Make SEO Decisions Yourself
Allowing representatives of third-party channels to do what they think is best when it comes to SEO can result in very different search results. While some of the better platforms may nail it on their own, others may not be able to create product listings that align with the most current SEO trends or even understand the importance of SEO at all. Providing a list of keywords and other pertinent details for each channel to use increases the likelihood that they will appear close to each other in search results.
Create a Brand Consistency Task Force
Giving each channel specific information you want them to use does not guarantee that they will use it, and keeping tabs on how various platforms are portraying your brand can go a long way toward making sure they are following the guidelines you provide. Your task force can regularly view your business on various platforms, visit in-person stores and popup shops, send surveys to customers that purchased through a third-party channel to learn about their experience, speak to representatives from each channel directly, and take other steps to stay as informed as possible about how your brand is being portrayed and the consistency of your customers' overall experience.
Make Sure Your Employees Understand the Importance of Consistency
Channel consistency is not limited to entire platforms. Each of your business's employees represents your brand every time they interact with a current or potential customer, which means that emails, in-store conversations, social media comments, and other types of communication need to convey the best possible impression of your brand. Making sure your employees are aware of the importance of consistently being the voice of your brand instead of speaking as individuals and holding them to these standards is crucial when it comes to ensuring consistency from within your organization.
At Zentail, we are here to help you take your brand's multichannel eCommerce marketing to the next level. Our multichannel listing software makes multichannel marketplace management easier than ever and provides a wide range of tools for keeping track of the overall performance of each channel. Download our free ebook today to learn more about how working with us can help you increase consistency across channels and improve customer experience in other ways or book a demo to experience the benefits of our multichannel eCommerce software for yourself!
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