Turnover is Vanity, Profit is Sanity, some multi-channel sales tips

With many years of multi-channel sales, eBay, Amazon, and Website beneath my belt, and having consulted with thousands of channel sellers in that time, i thought it might be nice to run through some of the things I have learned in that time which applies to small and large businesses alike.

At last night’s eBay seller meetup in Manchester, kindly hosted by those nice people at Iwoca , I ran through some fundamental do’s and don’ts for those considering their multi-channel sales strategies.  A couple of sellers asked me to run this on the blog, as it appears that good solid advice is very thin on the ground these days.  So for our customers, prospective users and those who follow us for information purposes here is a little breakdown of the content…

Do do your research, at product level, at category level and at competitor level. This is highly important for your business plan. There are great tools out there, I recommend Terapeak to my customers. You can find them here http://www.terapeak.com/what-is-terapeak

Do a margin analysis before you order your product. Do not forget to account for your time, time is money, some sellers don’t account for their time, this is critical when working out the margin needed to be a successful multi-channel seller.

Do get to know the marketplace you want to sell into, I am approached by Amazon sellers who often don’t understand the subtleties of selling on eBay, and vice versa which is understandable in part, but in many cases they are even without knowledge of the fee structures for the platforms in which they have decided to sell.  Clearly I advise this be part of the planning and the margin analysis for any multi-channel sales strategy, know your platform, do your research.  There are help pages on both eBay and Amazon that detail everything for you or you can turn to an eBay education specialist if you want it doing for you. Those help pages for you….

http://pages.ebay.com/help/index/A.html and http://services.amazon.com/content/sell-on-amazon.htm

The main point of my talk yesterday was this… Do not be tempted to throw your entire inventory, or massive supplier feeds up into your alternative channels unchecked. Without considering the impact of the 80/20 rule, (or more like 70/30 in my opinion, it will vary according to seller) your e-commerce strategy could end up costing you money, or wiping out those hard fought margins.  This applies to eBay, Amazon just as it does to Website sales.

Start with your top 20-30% best sellers on a proven channel, listing them on alternatives in the secure knowledge they will most likely sell on those alternative channels.  Then move forward and list more in stages of say 5% more, keeping a careful eye on the close rates over a number of weeks / a month.  Once you see drop off in popularity (sales) to the point where the cost outweighs the benefit it’s time to stop.

That point will be different for many of you, and could be different from your current channel sales stats (remember different platforms will perform differently for different products) but not wishing to pay to list products that don’t sell is quite universal in my experience, so stage your uploads and you’ll do just fine!  It will save you paying for the privilege of having dead listings “live” right from the start.  This should form a part of your multi-channel migration.

Check regularly that close rates are high for each product you sell after that, i recommend doing quarterly checks to make sure you are not supporting unprofitable channel listings, and at the very least are making some profit on each item.

So a couple of good tips there for newbie multi-channel sellers, and a reminder to those more experienced i hope.  Turnover is Vanity, Profit is Sanity in StoreFeeder’s view.

 

 

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