Top 10 Insights from the Experts: Product Channel Fit
Are you currently selling your products across multiple channels? How do you decide which is the best channel to sell each product on? If you’re still figuring it out, don’t worry. Knowing how to execute maximum profitability across multiple channels isn’t easy!
Ten of our ecommerce experts share their best strategies on how to know where to sell which products. They cover the considerations necessary for proper planning and maximum business growth.
1. Adjust Your Lens
“The way I would approach this is through the lens of brand and brand affinity. Some channels - like one's website or a brick & mortar store - lend itself better to creating a personalized branding experience. So for products that almost require branding to sell well, it's better to use those channels. For products that don't require the boost of its brand to sell, marketplaces can do better. The other strategy that we've also seen work well is to use marketplaces to sell loss leaders to build brand awareness, reach a new audience, and effectively widen the top of one's customer funnel with the longer-term goal of connecting with those marketplace customers through one's direct channels.” - Adii Pienaar of Cogsy
2. Five Fast Tips
“1. Amount of competitors present there. 2. Costs for advertising for paid promotions. 3. Investigate how much profit/ROAS you will make from each sale. 4. When you sell for example wine you should consider moving to product type-specific marketplaces that sell only alcohol or wine-specific products. => Investigate where your audience is located with the highest buy intent and lowest cost. 5. Try to sell only brand-owned products on marketplaces since there is less competition and you have more control on how much profit you want to make than with reseller products that have a set amount for prices. - Pawel Fijak of DataFeedWatch
3. Embrace A/B Testing
“Merchants should A/B test product listings on their ecommerce site and on 3rd party marketplaces while collecting data on purchasing behaviors in brick & mortar stores. Depending on sales velocity, merchants should be able to start understanding which products sell best in different geographies and seasons for their brick & mortar stores. For marketplaces and managed ecommerce websites, merchants should also test out upsell and cross-sell strategies with various products to truly understand the potential of each.” - Sara Du of Alloy Automation
4. Utilize 3rd Party Tools
“There are a number of 3rd party tools that help you test different products for different sales channels. Marketplaces and your own .com are the easiest to test. Start with your core products/best sellers and expand from there. Also, understanding the sales channels intimately is key. Think about marketplace fit and customer to seller ratio. Ask yourself, "is the marketplace saturated with sellers selling the same product?.” - Brian Tu of DCL Logistics
5. Many Many Metrics
“When making decisions about your assortment strategy, it is important to start with studying the market and historical analysis of your own past performance. You should be analyzing a variety of metrics including: Top and bottom sellers for your total store, but also per channel, locale, category/subcategory, style, color, texture, delivery, and any other unique product attributes. Financial metrics, like gross profit margin, net profit margin, average selling price, discount rate, and productivity. Sales metrics like sell-through percent, contribution, units per transaction, inventory turnover rate, and stock-to-sales ratio among each of your various product groups. Ecommerce metrics like traffic, conversion rates, shopping cart abandonment rates, and average transaction value across the different pages and channels of your business. Search engine traffic, marketplace bestsellers, and social media trends across keywords and hashtags for the various products, brands, product types, design details, etc. that you are considering. The result of conducting this thorough analysis of your sales, market, and product data at the end of a season, as well as mid-season, and pre-season, is a more-informed standpoint from which you can make a strategic and profitable product and channel selections.” Taylor Daniel from FOMO Agency
6. Success in Similarity
“Aside from your website, it’s necessary to identify the most promising complementary online selling channels for your retail business, and as they tend to be similar to one degree or another, it’s important to carefully choose the right portfolio of channels to boost your company’s competitiveness. Amazon, Ebay, Etsy, Bonanza, Walmart, Newegg, Sears, Overstock, Wish, Big Box Retailers like HomeDepot, Wayfair, Kroger, Target, and some of the considerations based on the type of product and categories.” Gary G. of StoreAutomator
7. Create Three Key Reports
“There are some key factors when deciding how to split your products by channel. First, margin is one of the most important considerations. Every channel has a specific margin base factored into the cost of the channel. Also, the time to market cost is important. There are some channels where you can launch your product in just a few days to test ideas. While other channels require a longer implementation time. Finally, some channels are categorized to a specific type of customer. Consider who you’re trying to target when expanding your products.” - Carlos Garijo González
8. Make Decisions with ABC Analysis
“The decision should be data-driven and product segmentation ("ABC Analysis") is extremely helpful in this regard because it tells you which items make a profit and which stand in the way of success for each individual point of sale alone. Putting in the time to make the right choice of marketplaces can make all the difference in your business’s bottom line. While multichannel selling takes time and effort, there are ways to reduce that time and even save some money. Multichannel software makes it easy to list products across several marketplaces and manage your inventory. With hard work, determination, and a little help from automation, you too can own a successful multichannel ecommerce store.” - Tania Manzo of Inventoro
9. Set Yourself Apart
“It’s important to consider the competitive landscape of the merchant’s relevant category. The brand should consider others in their space, their points of differentiation, and how much they are investing in marketing/ad spend by channel. Assuming the business has a multichannel strategy, it should consider selling top-performing products via Amazon. Amazon can be beneficial for brand discovery and customer loyalty. On the other hand, the company should sell complementary products to the SKUs available on Amazon on their website — that way, customers will have to navigate to the business’s DTC channel to complete the purchase. In terms of brick and mortar, earlier-stage businesses should allocate their highest-performing products. It is costly to ship and store inventory in wholesale, so businesses should be confident in the ability of those SKUs to sell. The business’s DTC channel is the best for experimentation. Customers shopping via a brand’s website are likely its most enthusiastic cohort, and increasingly likely to purchase new products.” -Tiffany Chan of Dwight Funding
10. Think Long Term
“Make sure you are doing your research to ensure you are correctly targeting the right products for the correct demographics. For example, if you know that most of the core target audience for your brick & mortar are seniors or men and women over 45 years of age, then you should likely avoid stocking products in-store aimed at your child to collegiate target audience. Having worked at big box marts like Best Buy back in the last aughts, I saw what overstock can do to a business. I was there when Circuit City died and it was the result of old guard warehouse management. If Covid taught us anything last year, we need to be thinking strategically when it comes to choosing which products to sell and how we choose to sell them. Think long term, not just short term. Short term thinking only gets you so far.” - Rodolfo Villarreal of Skubana
Interested in learning more about how Skubana can help you avoid under and overselling your inventory?
Ashley Brown is the Partner Marketing Manager at Skubana. She’s passionate about people, thinking outside of the box, and ecommerce!