When customers arrive at your online store and make a purchase, they’re usually brought there via a sales channel. In other words, sales channels both attract and bring customers to your e-commerce storefront. When sales channels are developed properly, they funnel great leads to your online store and can be a fantastic source of revenue.
That said, new or growing e-commerce businesses may not know what sales channels they should prioritize as they scale and seek to acquire a bigger customer base. Let’s break down six of the best sales channels for e-commerce businesses just like yours. You should try to develop each of these sales channels for maximum results.
What are Sales Channels?
Sales channels are the various methods in which you can sell and deliver your products or services to your customers. They can be both direct and indirect. Direct channels include brick and mortar stores or your own online store. Indirect channels – equally important – encompass intermediaries or distributors like Amazon, Etsy or eBay.
The Importance of Diverse Sales Channels
For any modern e-commerce business to survive and thrive in the market, it needs several high-quality sales channels constantly funneling leads or new customers to its storefront. Diverse sales channels are beneficial because they:
- Protect your business from suffering major losses if one sales channel, like your social media marketing, falls short
- Improve brand awareness for your organization within your industry or niche
- Allow you to acquire customers at a faster rate than if you rely on a single sales channel or marketing format
Put another way; you shouldn’t put all of your sales eggs in a single sales channel basket. Having lots of different channels working for your company should bring more revenue into your business’s checking account, even if it costs a little money to develop those sales channels initially.
With that said, let’s look at six great sales channels you should cultivate over the next few months.
A Search Engine Optimized Storefront
Who doesn’t use Google almost every day? This search engine is one of the most-utilized resources on the internet with approximately 77,500 searches per second and over 4 billion active users (there’s only roughly 4.4bn internet users, globally). If you are thoughtful about how you build and write content for your website, it’s also a very powerful tool to help your storefront act as a sales channel… provided you optimize it for Google’s search engine algorithm (or, basically, how Google Search understands the content you put on your website). That means:
- Setting up each product on your online store with a high-quality picture and story-based product description. In other words, your products need to be described artfully and attractively.
- Using certain SEO keywords in both product copy and elsewhere throughout your site, such as on blog posts.
- Optimizing your online storefront for mobile users, who account for approximately 50% of all Internet traffic.
By taking these steps, your online storefront will be more likely to show up at the top of Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs)for important keywords.
When developing new sales channels, don’t forget to leverage online marketplaces, such as Amazon or eBay. For example, you can add your online shop to Amazon and benefit from the massive traffic that the site receives every day.
Then, even if a customer purchases from your Amazon storefront, you’ve still gained a new customer, and they might visit your customized e-commerce storefront in the future. Again, this sales channel can be particularly good if you are trying to grow your customer base on the cheap.
Etsy is another good online marketplace to try, especially if your online business sells homemade arts and crafts or other homemade products for a relatively small or niche audience.
You can and should take advantage of Google Shopping, which is a highly recommended sales channel. It directs clients straight to your e-commerce payment infrastructure (which can also boost your conversion rate). Ads for your products will pop up through this channel when customers input transactional search keywords for specific products.
This isn’t the same thing as Google Ads, though, so keep in mind that you shouldn’t use these digital tools the same way. Over time, Google Shopping can become even more profitable as your SEO improves and your brand becomes better known in its niche.
Complementary Marketing Channels
Communication tools and strategies to connect and promote your product to a target audience.
Social advertising is a cornerstone of e-commerce marketing, and for a good reason. Ads on Facebook, Instagram, and similar platforms can bring customers to your online store in no time. These platforms also allow you to connect with your target audience and forge long-term relationships.
Social media marketing can easily become one of your most popular sales channels, especially if your business has a brick-and-mortar store. You can advertise special sales, post compelling video content or testimonials, and otherwise improve the look of your brand through social media activity. Post regularly to improve your business’s SEO passively at the same time.
Lastly, leverage email marketing as another sales channel for repeat or previous customers. Email advertisements, such as special deals or sales, can bring former customers back to your site for another purchase. Personalized email ads, such as those sent to former customers on their birthdays, can also help forge lasting consumer relationships and cement your brand as an important part of the lives of your core audience.
Mailchimp has some great, affordable features at a low-cost entry point for small businesses.
You can also develop affiliate marketing partnerships as alternative sales channels. Affiliate marketing, in a nutshell, has you pay a commission to website owners when their content directs a customer to your site and that customer makes a purchase. Most affiliate marketers are bloggers or video creators; you provide them with special links they can post within video descriptions or in their blog copy.
The great thing about affiliate marketing is that you don’t have to pay marketers a dime if their efforts don’t result in sales. Affiliate marketing is a good, cheap way to start developing new sales channels when your business is in its earliest days, and you don’t have a big marketing budget.
Developing each of these six sales channels for e-commerce will go a long way toward maximizing your profits and improving your business’s popularity. When used with a quality marketing campaign and good social media advertising, your business will thrive in no time. Good luck!