Dealing with multiple e-commerce supply chains in a multichannel age

updated on 16 February 2021

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As e-commerce trends rage on with developments drastically altering the business landscape, market behavior worldwide appears to be changing dramatically as well, quite possibly for good (or at least for the long haul).

With retail practices also continually on the move, what used to be the sole domain of brick-and-mortar stores has now given way to diverse options available for e-commerce businesses across the globe. In the midst of all this, something else has become increasingly clear. We are now seeing the ways in which these businesses manage their supply chains also change.

Due to being impacted on so many levels and in such substantial ways, the new structures brought about by this transitioning era of retail innovation now consist of multichannel marketplaces (a hodgepodge of shopping cart systems, e-commerce marketplaces, and various other channels) that are quickly becoming a norm in today’s business ecosystem.

Research shows that retailers selling on two marketplaces or more, as well as their own shopping carts, earn 120 percent more than businesses without that multichannel marketplace presence. There’s a good indication that a decent number of active retailers have jumped on the trend but what about the remaining portion of retailers that haven’t implemented these practices?

For lagging behind in this space, should you be quick to assume ignorance on their part or are they just unsure of where they should even begin?

Whether you are inside, outside or just about to begin your expedition into the wide world of multichannel, a strategic approach to multiple e-commerce supply chains can be a good step in the right direction for any business looking to establish a stronger footing in their industry (maybe even attempt to corner the market).

It has to be done properly though, otherwise, you may stand the chance of losing your footing completely. Here are some pointers to help you manage your supply chains tactfully and efficiently whether for multichannel selling, whether you are dealing with varied supply chains from different sources or both.

Reconfigure your customer support

One of the first things to do when considering a multichannel approach to your shop is to consolidate and sync all customer support initiatives in line with your objectives. The idea is to maintain a prominent presence among your customers by offering them holistic and accessible communication options. Reaching out to you for inquiries and finding purchases through multiple sources should happen in tandem with the type of support you want to deliver. This can become a challenge as you expand your approach to include more and more channels on all fronts. No matter which channel initially attracts a customer (acquisition channel), a seamless flow should lead them through the purchasing process. This can facilitate simpler and more user-friendly experiences, enhance customer success and boost conversions as well as raise customer retention.

Prepare to streamline

E-commerce empowers individual businesses with a stronger grip on the retail market through unification and by expanding on the flexibility of multichannel capabilities. This means that if you want to step up in the e-commerce game, it’s time to bring your various teams together and rally them under a common mission in order to create an environment that puts the customer first instead of the more traditional, fragmented approach where you think of your business as silos that operate independently of each other. Prepare all departments for smoother, fluid operational processes. Brief everyone in so they’re on the same page before embarking on multichannel integration.

Stay on top of your multichannel inventory

With multiple supply chains comes great responsibility, especially with regards to handling your inventory well. One false move and you could be out for the count. Proper transfer, tracking, and organization of your inventory is a vital part of maintaining and expanding your business across more than one channel, vertical or platform. Multi-channel retailing is a fantastic opportunity that is until complaints start rolling in. From miscommunication to customers fuming about products that were apparently in stock to late arrivals and more, not having a tight leash on your inventory can be a costly mistake. Multichannel e-commerce involves more than simply listing products on a variety of platforms and this is where an effective multichannel inventory solution can go a long way towards ensuring that you don’t run into a mess in the long run.

With a system in place for handling inventory, a business can easily track, manage and organize the basic elements that make up its shop including inventory sales, purchases, and production across all channels. An efficiently planned setup for integration makes it easier for merchants to stop relying on pen and paper or spreadsheets when it comes to handling inventory.

Carefully cut costs

How many processes in your business/shop are incurring unnecessary additional costs and how many of these can be easily streamlined? Don’t wait for tomorrow for things to get out of hand. Prepare for this now. In order to reinforce the survival of your retail presence, you could be doing yourself a big favor by identifying those key areas where you could be spending less and fixing those leaks in your setup. This can ultimately lead to more leeway when it comes to optimizing your store to handle multiple supply chains and reap the fruits of increased profits.

The first six areas of your business that you might want to take a look at include inventory costs, inventory valuation, quality control, warehousing, sales channels and fulfillment logistics. Take a closer look because you just might find that, upon further inspection, some of (if not all of) these components can be better optimized so that you spend less and make more.

Customer experience is king

At the end of the day, one of the greatest determiners that can make or break an e-commerce shop/retailer is the amount of effort and focus that the business puts into sharpening customer experiences. These days, customers are demanding, savvy and knowledgeable. Many of them have a growing list of options to choose from and they know it. The power has gradually shifted even more into the hands of your customers. Entire markets sway to their whims and fancies and it is, therefore, important that you keep an eye out on the latest trends. Listening to the market is an art and a science. Spend time constructing the right strategy and position yourself to capitalize on the power of multiple supply chains and sales channels so you can effectively foster connections with your customers.

Stock Sync is changing the game for e-commerce inventory management. With a huge number of integrations, your e-commerce store can now sync stock from various suppliers and sources such as Etsy, Walmart, eBay and more. Your intelligent Stock Sync app gets all your stock nicely fitted into format and you can even set it to automatically download latest stock items from your suppliers via download links. There are plenty of other features and functions that you shouldn’t miss out on as well. Head on over to the Stock Sync website to get your online shop synced up with the future.

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