The Challenges of Multi-channel Listings—And How to Overcome Them

July 22, 2022

Selling on multiple channels can help grow your e-commerce business. The more people see your listings, the more the purchases will be. But managing multi-channel listings isn’t a walk in the park. It comes with several challenges that may be difficult to overcome. Don’t fret, as we’re here to introduce these common obstacles and how to beat them successfully.

Challenge #1: Multiple Number of Sales Channels 

Say you own a growing fashion retail brand that sells on ten brick-and-mortar locations and three e-commerce sites. That’s a lot of ways new orders can come through. While each sales channel is an opportunity to get tons of orders and increase your revenues, it’s also subject to human error and inaccurate data that can impact your inventory management. If this issue isn’t addressed properly, it can lead to stockouts and other order fulfillment issues. 

Solution: Use an order management system with multi-channel integration.

Having a bird’s eye view of product availability across your sales channels is crucial. If one of your sales channels lists outdated stock levels, it could lead to back-ordered items or canceled orders. These errors can be disastrous to your bottom line and brand reputation. So one great way to address those is to use an automated order management system (OMS). This tool will track the orders & product availability across channels in real-time.

Each time you make a sale on Amazon, eBay, or your website, the OMS will update the stock levels across all sales channels. The OMS will also send every order request to the warehouse for order fulfillment and fast shipping. The result is a seamless, error-free, and automated order management process that ensures you don’t sell out-of-stock items.

And since OMS can automate the processing of orders and updating inventories, you and your staff can free up more time to focus on other business aspects. You can spend this time developing new products, boosting your marketing campaigns, or growing your network.

Challenge #2: Multiple Systems Being Used 

How many tools and systems does your team use? You probably have different tools for inventory management, accounting, and customer relationship management. At one point, that could be overwhelming and confusing, especially if your team is also collaborating with third-party vendors or warehouses. You may have to invest in a single yet robust system.

Solution: Invest in a single yet robust e-commerce SaaS platform.

A robust e-commerce SaaS platform can give you total control over your e-commerce business. It can manage, automate, and integrate e-commerce operations, allowing you to sell wherever your customers are and keep the order processes as organized as possible. 

When shopping for an e-commerce SaaS platform to tie up all your processes, don’t forget to look for crucial features like automated order dispatch and multi-channel integration. It should also be flexible enough to integrate any necessary separate tools your team needs. 

Challenge #3: Multiple Distribution Options

Do you deal with multiple warehouses, retail stores, and third-party logistics providers to distribute your products? That’s good news. It means you can offer your individual customers, retailers, and wholesalers multiple distribution methods. They have the flexibility to pick one that best suit their requirements. But without a single system that ties all these distribution options, products may still not reach your customers as fast as they should.

When looking for an e-commerce system to have control over most, if not all, processes, don’t forget to look for dispatch and distribution-related features. Automated order dispatch helps solve warehouse inefficiency at the source. With this functionality, your warehouse staff will find it easier to sort items & packages according to where they need to be shipped. It’ll also be a huge help if the system supports barcode scanning and other related functions. 

Another feature you should look for is automated or streamlined stock transfer. Say your inventory is spread across multiple locations or warehouses. If the e-commerce system has a stock transfer function, your customers can get their items from the nearest warehouse even if their orders were originally dispatched to another location. 

Challenge #4: Listing Accuracy 

Going multi-channel is a bold move, but one challenge you may face is building accurate and optimized listings across all your sales channels. That’s a tall order. Say your boutique shop currently has 20 product collections, and each collection includes ten or more items. And you plan to sell all these items on five different digital sales channels. So we’re talking about listing 1000 items in total! Plus, each item includes ample information like stock level, product category, item size, item color, shipping option, and estimated delivery date. 

Even if you can ask two to three members of your team to complete the task, it will still be too time-consuming. And what about when you need to change the color availability of two or more items? Imagine updating and optimizing each listing on each platform manually. 

Solution: Pick an e-commerce system with multi-channel listing functionality.

When you use a platform with multi-channel listing functionality, you can import the products into the system in one go, and the system will list them on different channels. You can build rules to catch mismatched data and manage thousands of SKUs effortlessly. And when you need to update specific product listing information, the system can automatically detect and map the products that need to be optimized. The bottom line is that with an efficient system, you can manipulate product data and ensure listing accuracy while eliminating laborious manual data entry that is likely to cause costly errors. 

Final Words

To stay competitive in e-commerce, multi-channel listings are the way to go. But you need a robust system to manage all these listings, track all the orders coming in, and fulfill the orders from different sales channels. We hope the tips above have helped you today.

[Image from Pexel]

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