You’ve built your ecommerce website and are ready to start selling. But before you can start raking in the sales, you need to make sure you have the right mix of channels in place to reach your target market. In this article, we’ll go over the top 5 channels you need in your ecommerce channel mix.
An ecommerce channel is a platform that enables businesses to sell their products and services online. This can include platforms such as Amazon, Meta, Google, and many more. Most importantly, above all, your website is going to be where you conduct most of your sales if you are looking to truly scale your brand.
When choosing which ecommerce channels to sell through, it is important to consider your target audience, and which channels will work best for the products you are selling. Not all of these channels are going to work perfectly for your company.
For instance, you will undoubtedly need to utilize some social media platforms, however, if you are selling home decor to Millennial women, Pinterest might be a better fit for your company than Twitter.
Overall, ecommerce channels offer many benefits for businesses. When assessing an ecommerce channel for your business, it really comes down to what you expect the channel to do for you.
What you should expect out of your ecommerce channel mix is a culmination of platforms that help you achieve all of your objectives set throughout your entire marketing funnel. Here are just a few of the objectives that you should be able to achieve with the right ecommerce channel mix:
Every ecommerce channel linked to your website should be able to help you achieve at least one of these goals, or possibly more.
Either way, you're really trying to ensure that you have a channel mix that returns increasingly profitable flows of traffic, and there isn't one channel that will solve all of these for you.
In order to give you an idea of what your ecommerce channel mix should look like, I have broken it down to 5 key categories that serve their unique purposes, albeit with some overlapping purposes in some cases (it is bound to happen between channels).
Your website should be the foundation of your ecommerce channel mix. It’s the one place that you have complete control over and where you can provide a truly seamless customer experience.
A well-designed website will help you to build trust with your customers and establish your brand. It is also the place where you will actually sell the most of your product, so it should be easy to navigate and include all the information that your customers need.
A high-converting website is something that you should set as your primary focus because almost all of the potential return on your investment into other channels (i.e. excluding online marketplaces) is determined by your website's ability to convert visitors into customers by driving sales.
If you want to succeed in ecommerce, you need to make sure you have a strong presence on the major search engines, and this means optimizing your website for Google so that people can find you when they are searching for products or services that you offer. After all, Google pretty much dominates the search market, at least 92% of it.
There are a number of things you can do to optimize your website for the search engines. Some of the most important include:
By following these tips, you can ensure that your website is easily found by the Google Search algorithm, and that it builds authority on the platform as you continue to target keywords with site content.
This is not all your search platforms are good for, however. If we consider Google's vast offer of paid advertising placements and targeting parameters, with 11 unique ways to set up a campaign. All of this allows you to really hammer down on:
Technically, there are video ads that can help increase brand consideration, however, this can't really replace social networks in that regard.
Social networks are a great way to connect with potential customers and promote your business. One of the best features of these social platforms as an ecommerce channel is the ability to interact with your audience en masse, which is impractical anywhere else on the web.
There are many different social networks that you can use to reach your target audience. The most popular social networks for ecommerce businesses are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Pinterest. Each of these platforms has its own unique features and benefits.
Facebook is the largest social network with nearly 3 billion monthly active users (MAUs). It is a great platform for building relationships with customers and promoting your brand, and it is ideal for sharing long-form video content that deepens the connection between your audience and your company, as well as a bit of text, as long as it is paired with some compelling imagery.
Facebook also has the ability to offer a shopping experience on-site, and many advertising solutions for reaching and retargeting your audience.
Instagram is the little visual cousin to Facebook, now linked by Meta. Instagram is a great place to build brand awareness and kick off user-generated content (UGC) campaigns. As in the case with Facebook, video content performs well here, albeit the attention span is a bit shorter.
Essentially, you should aim to pack as much information as you can into 15 seconds, because that is right about when users begin to doze off. Instagram also has its own storefront, where you can sell your products directly from your profile, and essentially the same advertising solutions offered on Facebook.
Twitter is a great platform for sharing news and updates about your business, and interacting heavily with your audience. It happens to be the case that 79% of Twitter users use the platform to keep up with companies, which goes to show how the platform can help make your business relevant to a good portion of your audience on the 9th most visited website in the world. Again, you have the ability to run advertisements to reach or remarket to your audience.
Snapchat is a platform that is highly adopted in the United States and is growing rapidly in users, globally. It is a great platform to reach users ages 18-24, and relies heavily on short video content.
However, what makes this platform special is the focus on augmented reality (AR) content. They have a more robust advertising platform than TikTok, offering innovative advertising formats that allow users to more deeply interact with your products.
Pinterest is one of those social platforms (yes, it is a social media platform first) basically just screaming for e-commerce to commence. It is a place where users go to get inspiration for their lifestyle projects and, therefore, inspiration to buy products.
With 433 million MAUs who tend to spend more than 2X as much as users of other platforms, you can guarantee that Pinterest has users that can boost your revenue, assuming that your target audience is in line with the specific users that Pinterest attracts.
Of course, you Pinterest wouldn't be doing their network justice if they didn't offer you a self-serve advertising platform.
Email and SMS platforms allow businesses to engage with their users in a very personal manner, which makes it one of the most powerful ways to improve your customer retention.
By communicating regularly with your visitors and customers, you can provide information and special offers that drive them to increase their order size, order more frequently, or engage in any other activity that you think will ultimately lead to more sales, all the while keeping your brand front and center.
Many SMS platforms, such as Facebook's Messenger, offer in-app advertisements that can be used to generate leads or, in the case of both platforms, retarget visitors.
Email also still happens to be one of the highest ROI channels you will come across, largely due to the level of automation available on the market today: you could template your entire campaign if you wanted to!
Online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, and Etsy are great places for ecommerce businesses to get access to some sales from consumers that almost exclusively use online marketplaces for the majority of their purchases.
While online marketplaces aren't something that you can expect to entirely replace your website, and shouldn't even remotely think of them as such, it is actually quite a bit easier to rank against certain products on their platforms vs content and products on search platforms, and every online marketplace offers promoted placements.
Online marketplaces don't come without their issues. For one, you don't get the valuable user data that you would with your website, but that can be overlooked when you think about the fact that you wouldn't have made that sale if not for your presence on the marketplace.
Similarly, managing your presence on an online marketplace can be time consuming, and there are fees for selling, so you need to be able to estimate if and when a particular online marketplace will work for you.
While Google allows you to run advertisements across sites where you think shoppers will likely be interested in your product, there are other networks that are designed to run display ads.
With programmatic display networks (PDNs), you simply integrate your site, upload the ads, and let their algorithm start placing your ads on similar sites across their network, based on a few targeting requirements at most.
Usually, you either pay for the platform, or you become one of the sites in their network that accepts ads. Needless to say, you would want to pay for this, but only if you want the added traffic and conversions.
Affiliate networks work a little differently, allowing you to reach users on sites where they are looking for information related to your offering.
It might be something like a review site, a blog, or any other site that provides the value of increased information on your market while avoiding direct competition.
In this case, you pay for your advertisements and can generally hope for some decent leads coming through as traffic.
Regardless of how you decide to build out your ecommerce channel mix, most of your traffic flows right back to your site if you are going about this correctly, so it is absolutely necessary that you ensure that your site is ready to convert.
We have compiled an Ecommerce Optimization Package that includes an in-depth guide to building a high-converting website, as well as a checklist and project manager that helps you easily organize and manage the development of every aspect of your site to perfection.
If you want to ensure you are getting the most out of your ecommerce channel mix, check out the Optimization Package now!