Multichannel retailing

Eradium omnichannel glossary marketplace

Multichannel retailing

Multichannel retailing is when a company provides numerous ways for customers to purchase goods and services. This marketing strategy could include selling through traditional outlets such as catalogs, brick-and-mortar stores, mail, and telephone. But, it also includes nontraditional electronic and mobile outlets like websites, chats, emails, apps, and social networks. (1)

Today, it is important to deliver the best customer experience because there can be as many as ten touch points for every purchase decision made. Consumers tend to spend more when they have the opportunity to interact over multiple channels during the research, evaluation and acquisition cycle.

Potential buyers use many different channels to compare and purchase products and services, and they expect retailers to provide fast, consistent and seamless interactions in stores, online and via mobile devices.

The key to customer engagement is making multichannel retail feel like one seamless shopping experience with the ultimate aim of delivering amazing retail experiences across the entire process. (2)

Art of Multichannel  Retailing – Choosing the right channels for your products

With more choice than ever before for both retailers and consumers, the idea of juggling multiple channels can seem daunting to many smaller businesses. Choosing the right channels will often depend on the maturity of a business, its target markets, and whether it already has a presence in the target country.

Zara already has a network of stores in China, but chose Tmall exclusively for its web presence, while Costco saw Tmall as a low-risk, low-investment way to get an initial foothold in this market.

At the other end of the scale, small companies often find Amazon and eBay’s international options are the easiest ways to test the waters in new markets.

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Ebay boasts a massive global reach, with 124m potential buyers around the world and direct access to buyers on our European, North American and Australian sites.

As well as its 14 dedicated international sites, it reaches buyers in 208 countries. Merchants have varied options for customising their online store, translating and localising their listings. 

Amazon also has dedicated marketplaces in many countries, with more than 2m businesses, from small retailers to well-known brands using this channel.

As well as these two giants, a growing number of retailers including Sears and BestBuy have branched out to offer their own community marketplaces.

For niche products, there are other options such as Newegg, aimed at technical products, and Etsy, for handmade crafts and similar products. 

These marketplaces offer an easy route to reaching international customers – making it simple for them to find products and reducing issues such as payment integration. It’s still essential to research all the associated costs, local regulations and shipping options. (3)