Webmasters of all types often grow stale in their business strategies. Before recent Google algorithm updates, like Panda and Penguin, many online business owners put all of their focus into search engine optimization. Now, many are relying on paid traffic and social media to drive traffic and attract new customers.
Multi-channel retail is the only way to insulate an eCommerce business, or any other business, from unforeseen changes outside your control. While important, many people fail to execute a multi-channel retail strategy in a way to maximize effectiveness.
While multi-channeling is a bit of a complicated topic, there are three primary ways to maximize success.
1) Make Use Of Every Available Channel, At First
eCommerce is an interesting business model in a business. Most people see eCommerce as the act of setting up a store on Magento, Prestashop, X-Cart or something similar, and then finding a source for the products you intend to sell.
The store itself is only one channel, or way to make a transaction with a potential customer. Other channels include placing products for sale on eBay, Amazon or any other site that allows other vendors to sell through their platform. Likewise, using mobile apps and even setting up a network of smaller sites focused on content marketing can serve as additional channels to drive traffic and make sales.
After a specified period of time, look to see which channels have a positive return on investment and adjust your strategy accordingly.
2) Don’t Rely On Free Traffic
To maximize exposure and profit, it is going to be necessary to reinvest money into your eCommerce business. Search engine traffic is great because it is usually cheap, with the main cost being time, and it comes with an inherent level of trust associated with high search engine rankings.
It is also subject to matters out of your control. The same is true with social media. If a particular network were to change their terms of service or even shutdown, any business that relied on that network would be in a difficult position.
Just as it is important to use every available sales channel, it is important to make sure that you are using both free and paid traffic sources to spread risk and maximize profit in the near to medium term.
3) Use Every Chance To Spread Your Brand
Brand recognition is vital to eCommerce success. Many online business owners fail to recognize the value of developing a strong brand.
While putting a strong effort into SEO, social media, email and paid traffic strategies is important, a strong brand can result in more direct and referral traffic. In other words, a strong brand is vital to customer retention as well as customer recycling.
When placing products on Amazon, developing mobile shopping apps, and developing a network of associated referral sites, or any other multi-channeling you plan on doing, take the time to clearly define your brand.
Adaptability Is Key
In conclusion, and as a bit of bonus, it is important to remember that adaptability is the key to success in any online business model. It is important to remain fluid and ensure that channels that are no longer working are either adjusted or deleted completely from your strategy. With a careful eye on traffic sources, conversion rates and profit margins, it is possible to build a powerful and lucrative eCommerce business that is almost completely immune to hiccups in the market.