A single channel eCommerce site with one digital front can bring considerable success. However, when you expand to an omnichannel model, adding multiple storefronts and sales channels, your potential for success increases exponentially. Extra sales channels, whether it is through eCommerce giants, a brick-and-mortar store, or social media platforms, can significantly boost your profits, branding and success.
Despite the rising popularity of omnichannel sales, merchants are often hesitant of adopting this model. This is due to perceived difficulties in managing omnichannel sales and extra expenses. Some merchants may already have a reasonably successful eCommerce site and not want to increase their work load. New entrants to the market may prefer to set up a single channel eCommerce site first.
BigCommerce, one of the leading eCommerce platform providers in the market offering SaaS services, has recently launched a Channel Manager feature for omnichannel sales. This feature helps you optimise omnichannel sales and easily manage multiple channels without extra costs.
What are Omnichannel Sales?
People are spending more time online than ever before, but might not necessarily be visiting your eCommerce site. If you have less traffic and a smaller customer base, then omnichannel sales goes directly to where the customers are. This includes social media networks, prominent online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay, and more.
Omnichannel sales or omnichannel commerce is a multichannel approach where the focus is on offering customers a seamless shopping experience across various sales channels. A priority is to give customers a cohesive, unified and positive user experience over the different channels. These channels include online and offline modes, mobile devices, social media, and online marketplaces.
A study by the Harvard Business Review found that nearly 73% of all customers would use multiple channels before making a purchase. By having the presence of your brand on multiple channels you increase its visibility, reliability and reach. Multichannel commerce also involves conducting sales through multiple channels, but it follows a non-integrated approach while omnichannel commerce is fully integrated.
Management of omnichannel sales can be challenging, since multiple fronts need to be integrated to offer customers real time information. Inventory can be segregated on the basis of channels, or kept unified as desired. By identifying the success on each individual channel, more efforts and resources can be allocated to specific channels.
Benefit of Omnichannel Sales
There are a wide range of benefits of adopting an omnichannel sales model. Implementation of omnichannel commerce can be done whether you have an existing eCommerce site, offline store, both or neither.
Here are some of the top benefits of having omnichannel sales:
- Improved Customer Experience: An omnichannel sales setup provides customers with an integrated and seamless shopping experience, helping them have flexibility to choose their preferred purchasing channel.
- Wider Customer Base: By supporting multiple sales channels, you can expand your target audience by including those customers that frequent each individual sales channel.
- Increased Traffic and Sales: Multiple sales channels provide more opportunities for customers to visit your business and make purchases. This boosts traffic and increases sales.
- Better Customer Retention and Loyalty: By having your brand visible in multiple channels, you support greater flexibility for customers. Better flexibility and access make it more convenient and preferable for customers to return to your brand, increasing their loyalty.
- Larger Collection of Customer Data: With modern analytical and machine learning tools, many insights can be gained from customer data. An omnichannel sales setup generates much more customer data, which can be used to improve shopping experiences and provide personalised promotions and recommendations.
- Greater Impact of Promotions: A useful benefit of omnichannel sales is that coordinated promotion campaigns can be conducted with greater efficiency and results. Based on previous customer data, the promotions can be tailored to suit the specific channel while still being a part of the overall campaign.
- Better Branding: Visibility and a strong presence across multiple channels are a great way to boost your branding. As customers view your brand through different formats and on other platforms, your business becomes more recognisable and identifiable, setting it apart from the crowd.
BigCommerce Channel Manager
The new Channel Manager feature launched by BigCommerce makes omnichannel sales easy, manageable and effective. A new Channel Manager menu will automatically be visible from the BigCommerce control panel for current BigCommerce users. By following a few simple prompts, the Channel Manager can be activated. It is a great feature for merchants looking to expand their business to other channels, attract new customers and grow sales.
Here are the highlights of the new Channel Manager Feature:
- From a single dashboard, you can view all the different channels available for your store, activate desired channels, and disconnect channels. The available channels are shown based on the country of the eCommerce site, and the default currency set for the store. Setting up specific channels will depend upon the concerned channel. While some are native and have built-in integrations, others may have to be setup by installing an App from the BigCommerce App Marketplace.
- All the various channels that can be integrated with your BigCommerce eCommerce site have been classified into four broad categories. These are storefronts, marketplaces, Point of Sale, and Ads and Social. Depending upon your current and future needs, you can add and disconnect any desired channels. It is recommended that you start slow, and add channels gradually so you have time to familiarise with the Channel Manager feature and managing multiple channels.
- Having multiple storefronts has become common, for example, separate storefronts for different countries, for B2B and B2C sales, and even for different product categories. If you have additional online storefronts apart from your primary BigCommerce site, they can be added through the storefronts option and managed directly from the Channel Manager panel.
- Marketplaces are channels where your products are available for purchase on other platforms, such as Facebook Marketplace, Amazon, eBay, and Wish. Selling on marketplaces is a great way to increase sales, and also improve the visibility for your brand. Any order placed on a marketplace will come directly to your primary BigCommerce control panel similar to how standard storefront orders are shown.
- If you have an offline store, it can easily be connected and synced with your BigCommerce site through the Point of Sale (POS) channel option. Many leading POS systems, including offline and third-party POS setups, can be integrated with the BigCommerce Channel Manager. Integrating offline and online stores are an excellent way to oversee sales, synchronise inventory numbers from both formats, and keep track of finances. By having a synchronised inventory system, you can avoid overstocking, understocking and misplacement of products.
- Ads and Social channels such as Google Shopping, Instagram, Pinterest, are used to advertise your products or overall brand on different platforms. While these channels do not directly drive sales, they are used indirectly for promotions and to increase awareness for the brand and its various channels. Advertisements and promotions can be published on social media and linked with desired channels to encourage customer engagement, drive traffic and boost sales.
Advantages of the BigCommerce Channel Manager
The demand for omnichannel sales is slowly growing, amongst customers and merchants, since it facilitates significant growth of sales, profit and visibility. The BigCommerce Channel Manager is a dedicated solution for omnichannel sales. In the short time since its release, the Channel Manager feature of BigCommerce has gained popularity due to the vast range of benefits it offers merchants.
Here are some of the top advantages of using the Channel Manager:
- Centralised Management: Often, one of the key problems in an omnichannel sales model is managing different channels. With the Channel Manager, you can manage a full suite of storefront channels, marketplaces, offline stores and social media and advertising feeds from a single panel. The Channel Manager also has a centralised order management system so that all orders can be processed and tracked from the BigCommerce dashboard, regardless of where the sale originates from. This saves time and efforts for merchants, and multiple people can be granted access to the panel as required.
- Quick Integration: The Channel Manager enables fast integration with leading marketplaces and supported native channels. With a single click you can expand your reach and connect with potentially millions of online shoppers on popular marketplaces. If for any reason the integration is not desirable or you want to discontinue, the channel can be easily disabled.
- Easy Product Listing: A challenging part of listing products on an external site or marketplace has been uploading each product manually. The Channel Manager simplifies this process, saving considerable time and effort. When required, products can be directly uploaded to desired channels with the information already present in the BigCommerce product catalogue. As a result, you can quickly and easily change product offerings on external sites, depending upon sales performance, and new and trending products.
- Launch New PWA Storefronts: If you do not already have additional storefronts, then this is a great time to launch them. Using the Channel Manager, merchants can launch progressive web app (PWA) storefronts within BigCommerce in a matter of minutes, using third party providers. Additional storefronts can be customised for specific categories of products, new product lines, customer segments such as B2B or B2C, or a new niche altogether.
- Dedicated Facebook Shop Section: The BigCommerce Channel Manager offers native integration with Facebook, so that you can add a dedicated ‘shop’ section to your brand’s existing Facebook page. Within minutes you can start showcasing products on your Facebook shop, tapping into the immensely large pool of Facebook users. Since the shop section is added to an existing brand page, any visitors to your Facebook page can directly view and purchase products from the shop section.
- Automatic Inventory Syncing: Inventory management is a challenge for every business that deals with the sale of products. Technology has significantly improved inventory management. However, for omnichannel sales models it can still be difficult to have a fully synced and unified inventory setup when there are multiple sales channels. With the Channel Manager, you inventory is automatically updated, saving you time, reducing risk of human errors and providing you with an accurate view of existing inventory. Accordingly, you can plan stocking for all of the sales channels.
- Easy Expansion: Omnichannel sales is an effective way to expand your brand, as it increases your customer base, sales, and profits. The Channel Manager supports easy omnichannel expansion for your BigCommerce site. As many channels as desired can be integrated and managed directly from a single panel. If a particular channel you are seeking is not available as a native integration, it can be added through a third-party app. It is advisable to start out slow so that you gain familiarity. Nevertheless, you can easily experiment with different combinations of channel types to find the setup that works best for your brand.
Omnichannel commerce offers immense potential for growth as you are accessing a larger customer base and providing multiple channels in an integrated manner for your customers. Management of omnichannel sales has been a challenge in the past. However, with the BigCommerce Channel Manager feature, you can easily and effectively add omnichannel capabilities to a BigCommerce site.
The BigCommerce Channel Manager is simple to use and any number of channels can be integrated, including additional storefronts, online marketplaces, offline stores and social media platforms. There is a single panel for easy management, and several top channels are supported as native integrations, with additional channel available as third-party apps.
If you are launching a new eCommerce site, or want to extend the omnichannel functionality of an existing eCommerce site, BigCommerce has the answer. Our team of certified developers here at 18th Digitech can help you set up an effective omnichannel sales solution that is designed with your business needs in mind. Reach out to our team today to discuss how to best incorporate omnichannel sales for your brand.