Think about the time it takes you to list one product for sale online. Does it take 10 minutes? 30 minutes? An hour, with careful copy edits?
Chances are, that time grows exponentially with every new sales channel you add. Product listing is tedious. And aside from having to write your own copy, you have to upload images, enter product details and fulfill other prerequisites by hand.
Something as “simple” as finding the right category for your item can get confusing, and listing to a new channel can feel like you’re relearning an entirely new system.
Fortunately, there are solutions to relieve this pain. In this blog, we’ll cover the importance of listing software and compare the top five solutions that are out on the market.
What Is Multichannel Listing Software?
Multichannel listing software provides one place for you to store, create and edit your listings across multiple ecommerce sites, like Shopify, Amazon and Walmart Marketplace. In short, it saves you the hassle of logging into multiple dashboards just to edit your listings for one product.
The best solutions not only provide automation to cut listing time in half, but also adapt your data to each channel’s unique requirements, preventing listing errors. Many will additionally include inventory management tools or integrations so that your listings always reflect the right available quantities.
Why Use an Automated Solution?
No more repetitive work. Higher-quality listings. Error resolution. There are tons of reasons why sellers choose to purchase listing software—and the rise of competition and new marketplace requirements (think: Amazon’s recent sizing changes) have only added to the need.
In our experience, most sellers simply don’t have the time or energy to keep up with every single channel they sell on either. Their eyes are on their cash cow, and it’s almost impossible for them to succeed—let alone, stay abreast—on other channels as business continues to ramp up.
Software acts as an extension of their business by helping to chart forgeign territory while minimizing the risk. Because the software already knows the rules of engagement on each channel, sellers benefit from increased:
- Efficiency - You can list or edit one product to multiple marketplaces in fewer clicks, plus reduce the time it takes to manage orders and inventory
- Consistency - Avoid human error by automating repetitive, but essential tasks
- Accuracy - Dodge listing errors by intelligently enriching data for each channel
- Scalability - Free up time, money and resources that can be reinvested into more growth-oriented causes
- Customer experience - Ensure that your listings are in tip-top shape so that customers know exactly what they’re getting, and keep inventory synced across channels to prevent overselling
- Sales - Rank higher on search result pages (thanks to higher quality listings) and reach a larger customer base by selling on new channels
At the end of the day, whether you sell on two channels or 10, it’s crucial to represent your brand well and provide an exceptional customer experience. Achieving this feat through manual processes is nearly impossible, and you will end up trailing your competitors. Multichannel listing software helps you to stay at the forefront of your industry.
What to Consider When Picking a Multichannel Listing Software?
There are several factors to consider when researching the right multichannel listing software for your company's needs. Your particular business could benefit from more advanced software, while others may be looking for a simple, micro tool.
How many SKUs should your system be able to support? As you’re researching various options, look for SKU limits in terms of both the cost and quantity. Choose a software that not only already supports the number of SKUs your company has but leaves room for growth as well. The last thing you want is to be limited by your listing software.
Is the software compatible with the platforms you are currently selling on, along with those you wish to sell on in the future? Alternatively, if you stumble across a platform that you like but it’s missing a few channels, is that a deal breaker?
The amount of channels supported by a listing software ranges wildly. A word from the wise: consider quality in addition to quantity. It’s possible for a platform to support all the channels you can dream of, but for it to fall short in terms of integration quality or depth. Realistically, there are also many sales channels that sound appealing but aren’t actually valuable to your business. To that end, know what quantity versus quality means personally for your business, too.
The multichannel listing software you choose should align with your company's goals. Do you need help merely expanding to more sales channels, or are you also looking to improve listing quality, increase your profit margin, etc.? Depending on the priority of those goals, you could be looking at very different options and feature sets. This checklist can help you to organize your goals and keep track of what software offers what.
Hiccups are inevitable when you’re using software or selling online. It’s therefore important to know that there is a solid, easy-to-reach support team behind the product. Make sure your software provider prioritizes you, the customer, and has a good reputation among its users.
Is the price-point within your budget and/or do you feel that you are getting value for your money? Understand what you give up or risk (e.g., some simple solutions are known to be less reliable) when you simply choose the cheapest option, while also checking that you’re getting enough bang for your buck when it comes to more expensive solutions. Check reviews to get a sense of the value over price, and stay away from solutions that will nickel and dime you for every additional tool or channel you add even after contracting.
5 Top Multichannel Listing Software Platforms
One search on Google will pull up what seems like an unlimited number of multichannel listing software options. But we all know that not all options are worth your time: there are budget solutions that only cater to one or two immediate needs next to advanced systems that offer more flexible and scalable tools.
To help you weed through some of your options, here is a comparison of the top five listing software platforms to date.
Sellbrite is designed for small to medium-sized businesses. It’s praised for offering a simple yet intuitive interface with essential features like listing automation, order routing and inventory management.
It supports popular channels, such as Shopify, BigCommerce Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Walmart. Once set up, Sellbrite is easy to use. However, it’s not uncommon for sellers to outgrow the platform. Larger sellers tend to look outside of Sellbrite for something more customizable or expansive in terms of automation.
Sellbrite offers monthly subscriptions that range from free to $179 per month, depending on how many orders your brand gets and the features you need.
Zentail is best for sellers who are doing (or are fast approaching) at least $1 million in annual GMV. It offers more sophisticated, AI-based tools than beginner platforms, as well as integration into the top U.S. marketplaces, like Amazon, Walmart, eBay and Google.
It does not currently support international marketplaces and only offers annual subscriptions, which are pricier than Sellbrite or other starter platforms. However, you get full, unfettered access to its platform regardless of the plan.
Zentail is additionally known for its top-notch customer support and high-quality features. Some standout features include listing error resolution, bulk edits, business rules, listing splits and SMART Types. SMART Types is Zentail’s proprietary tool that’s known for offering the fastest, most reliable way to map product data across channels which, over time, improves rankings and safeguards business from sudden marketplace changes (recall Amazon’s apparel size changes).
If you’re a larger business seeking to expand to new channels and improve operations, Zentail is a top contender.
Like Sellbrite, SellerActive is built for small to medium-sized businesses. It offers the standard tools for repricing, inventory management and order management across Amazon, Walmart, eBay and Newegg—plus Amazon international. SellerActive also sets itself apart by focusing on more channels for direct sales, like Shopify, Shopify Plus, BigCommerce, Magento and others.
The platform receives high remarks for its repricing and order processing tools, but leaves room to be desired in terms of the time and effort it takes to list products on new marketplaces.
Subscriptions are on a monthly or annual basis, with prices ranging from $79 to $899 a month. Plans are based on monthly GMV and desired features.
Listing Mirror receives high remarks by many smaller teams that are simply looking to copy listings from one marketplace to the next. Like most other listings platforms, you can pick which channels to list your item on a per-SKU basis.
It offers a few extra features like inventory syncs, warehouse management and reporting. However, those features only meet basic needs, similar to the platform’s listing tools; according to users, you may still have to make edits manually or fix formatting once publishing your listing across multiple channels. Listing Mirror currently relies heavily on Amazon, too, i.e., you need to be selling on Amazon to take full advantage of its features.
In essence, this is a good option if you’re just looking for one thing: replicating your listings across channels. Subscriptions range from $69 to $369 a month, depending on your SKU and user count.
ChannelAdvisor is the incumbent software in the space. It has been around since 2001, and offers the most amount of channel integrations across both domestic and international marketplaces (it supports a whopping 140+ marketplaces).
That being said, it is easily the most expensive platform on the market. Pricing skyrockets into the tens of thousands and includes commission-like fees; charges for each new channel and add-on; and service fees.
ChannelAdviser offers the widest array of tools ranging from listing to advertising, inventory to reporting that are great for enterprise-level businesses. The downside is that the system can feel clunky or hard to use, and customer support is lackluster at best.
Usually when someone onboards to ChannelAdvisor, it’s with international expansion in mind. But there are many costs and considerations to be weighed.
A multichannel listing platform is a wise and often necessary investment for ecommerce businesses. Do your due diligence and evaluate your options carefully, understanding that no two platforms are alike.
Know what you need out of your software and the impact it’ll make both in the short term and long terms. Don’t overlook key features, like support, as you weigh your options and as always, consult sources like review sites to inform your decision.