Customers want to engage with brands where and when they choose. Some prefer shopping on Amazon, others on eBay. Some want to purchase products straight from social media accounts.
Your job as an ecommerce seller is to respond to this need, meeting your customers on the channels they use.
So how do you do that?
Through a thoughtful channel management strategy.
Channel management enables you to organize, develop, and execute all the sales opportunities your brand pursues to please your customers. Creating a channel strategy will help you get the most out of these efforts to win more customers and sales.
Below, we’ll highlight some of the core advantages of a channel management strategy and offer some practical tips to make it effective.
Advantages of a Channel Management Strategy
In an age of endless consumer choices, brands often respond by providing more options to their customers.
Adding more channels to your sales management plans allows you to diversify your revenue streams which can lead to a host of benefits, including:
- Additional revenue streams
- Reduced business risks
- Wider audience reach
- Greater marketing opportunities
- More opportunities to make a sale
This comes in addition to the fact that customers expect brands to reach them on different channels. If you haven’t put much effort into your channel management strategy or don’t have one, now is the time to make it happen.
Here’s how you can do that.
How to Improve Your Channel Management Strategy
Successful channel management doesn’t happen naturally. It would be best if you had a thoughtful plan that guides your decisions and keeps you on track.
That sounds basic enough, right? Of course, you need to think through what you’re going to do! Who wouldn’t do that?
Research shows that most retail brands use multiple channels to interact with customersâ€”91% use at least two social media outlets, and 51% use more than eight channels. There’s no question about channel usage, but the data for channel strategy tells a different story.
- A mere 9% of marketers consistently engage with customers on multiple channels.
- Nearly every marketer sees the value of a strategy, but more than a quarter of them don’t have a strategy in place.
- 61% of customers struggle to switch to another channel when interacting with customer service.
- 45% of consumers say retailers don’t offer multichannel experiences in a fast-paced manner.
The struggle to create effective channel management strategies comes from various sources, including board support, time, and resources. However, one of the biggest challenges comes from a lack of knowledge.
This blog may be unable to get your board to buy into your multichannel dreams – But we can educate you on more resources to help you reach a more significant potential.
Know Which Channel Partners Fit Your Target Customer
Looking for channel partners can feel overwhelming, especially at the beginning. Social media channels feel endless. Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. LinkedIn. TikTok. Snapchat. It’s a lot to sort through. And now you have to mix in all these sales channels, too? How do you know which ones to pursue?
Successful channel management solutions come when you know your customer base well enough to identify which channels they use and which they don’t. If you sell gourmet dog food, you probably can skip out on Etsy for now because your customers don’t want to meet you there. They want to meet you in a place where they’d expect to find you, but you’ll only identify that when you know exactly whom you’re selling to and where they want to buy.
Understand the Audience of Each Channel
While knowing where your customers want to buy will help you pick your channels, learning how to utilize each channel will help you get the most out of each one.
It would be best to target every channel to a particular customer segment. While all your customers probably have some things in common, they will also have differences. The beauty of a channel management strategy is that you can collaborate with each partner channel to your advantage.
Here’s a simple example of this:
Let’s consider the gourmet dog food brand again. Many people want to feed their pets a delicious meal, and the differences in those people can help fuel the brand’s channel strategy. A younger dog owner may be more likely to purchase a product from an Instagram page, while a person from an older generation might not. They may be more likely to buy from a trusted marketplace like Amazon or Walmart.
Knowing this information will help you determine the best ways to optimize your channel usage. You can target social media campaigns toward your customers of younger generations. They might include different art or product copy that appeals to that audience but may not resonate with older customers.
You use each channel to reach the right people and spread your reach to different types of customers who can all benefit from your product.
Customize User Experiences
Customer experience has become the backbone for all successful ecommerce brands. Consumers have too many options to tolerate bad experiences. Customer experience is one of the significant contributors to churn.
PwC found that a third of customers leave brands they love after having just a single bad experience. And the number goes up to 92% when customers have 2 or 3 negative interactions.
Both acquisition and retention require great customer experiences, and channel management can help you get there.
90% of customers want consistency between each channel. When companies manage their channel strategy well, they can better create better experiences no matter where the customer interacts with them.
Doing this takes customization, depending on the channel. You can safely assume that an Instagram buyer will have more interest in high-quality photos and graphics than one from eBay. Developing customized, consistent experiences for each channel will inevitably lead to better business outcomes and happier customers.
Manage Data Well and Utilize It
You might be seeing a trend in each of these sections. Behind every successful channel management strategy is a whole lot of data.
You must know who your customers are, where they interact with your brand, what they expect from each channel partner, and how you can segment them into smaller categories. All of this requires sophisticated data collection and management.
But data is only as valuable as the way you use it. Having a bunch of information in a dashboard won’t help you much in the long run. It’s like keeping a Ferrari in the garage instead of driving it around. You have to use what you’ve got.
Take the information you’ve acquired and put it into action. Create a campaign on a specific marketing channel. Let your knowledge influence the channel architecture. Now you know what customers want, so start giving it to them.
Partner with the Right Channel Management Software
A good channel management strategy will empower you to reach more customers where they want to find you. Having the right software makes that easier.
Data collection, customization, maintenance, and updating for each channel partner quickly becomes tedious and frustrating. Sure, you’ll get more customers, but you might not have the time to serve them because you’re too busy copying and pasting product descriptions from one channel to another.
A software solution like StoreAutomator simplifies the process so you can focus on more important matters. Our platform enables brands to customize listings and templates that adapt to each channel or marketplace. You can better manage your inventory and take control of your data in one dedicated space. No toggling through tabs. No frustrating, repetitive work. Just a flexible solution that makes things easier for you.
Want to learn more about how our product can help improve your channel management strategy? Book a demo with our team of experts today. We’d love to see what we can do for you.