Before multi-channel marketing, there must be multi-channel ecommerce first. Multi-channel ecommerce has been one of the reasons why the rise of online retail has proven so successful. As well as the ease of setting up an ecommerce site – and getting started in the first place – there is also the ability to have multiple sites or, more commonly, multiple online locations where your products can be purchased.
Multi-channel ecommerce isn’t quite the same thing as having multiple retail outlets of brick-and-mortar franchise, and nor is quite the same thing as a company distributing their products to multiple outlets. Instead, multi-channel ecommerce is a distinctly modern phenomenon, one which has risen right alongside ecommerce itself.
What is Multi-Channel Ecommerce?
Multi-channel ecommerce involves the use of more than one ecommerce distribution channel. The form this normally takes is the use of one of the large ecommerce sites, which feature independent sellers in tandem with a website devoted specifically to your brand. This is not the same thing as distributing produce to different outlets because the product purchased from any of the channels is the same product, just being sold through a different online intermediary, as it were.
The benefits of multi-channel ecommerce for small ecommerce businesses are obvious – new websites do not tend to get much traffic, whereas the likes of Amazon do. Selling products also on Amazon or eBay is a terrific way to reach a larger number of customers in the beginning, although the goal of any ecommerce venture is always to ultimately draw traffic back to the brand’s website.
Naturally, selling through a third party has the disadvantage of not reinforcing your brand as much, as well as you having to relinquish control over much of the purchasing experience. That is where multi-channel ecommerce comes in – you can reap the advantages of several different channels at once.
What is Multi-channel Marketing?
The best way to understand multi-channel marketing is to see it as a form of satisfying customer demand. Customers are found in many locations, and “online” does not count as a single location. Potential customers could be browsing Facebook, watching YouTube videos, searching for a specific product on Google, or checking out the offers from independent sellers on Amazon. Multi-channel marketing aims to make the purchase of your products easier buy reaching customers in different online locations.
When it comes to how to market, the truth is that there are several forms of marketing – for the same product or brand – that need to be developed in order for this method to work. For example, Instagram is a heavily visual social media, and so marketing here (one channel) would more likely take the form of image posts or short videos. On Facebook, by contrast, or on a company blog, the marketing might be more text based.
In short, muti-channel marketing is all about satisfying the marketing demands of each different channel that you use, but in such a way as to retain a unity across your brand and to hopefully lead back to your main site. Peak Design, a Sacramento SEO company, say that even though there may be a different marketing strategy for each channel, they will all be related in some way.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but a multi-channel marketing approach is actually a way of reinforcing customer loyalty and brand identification. Loyalty is ultimately to the brand, not the home website, and so multi-channel marketing is a means of providing for customers wherever they are (rather than just on your site).
Each time, and wherever it appears, your brand is being reinforced and loyalty is being created. There are multiple channels – but one brand.