There are plenty of other sales channels you can utilize to help shoppers discover your brand. To strengthen your online presence, it’s important to understand what types of channels are available for your use.
What is a sales channel?
A sales channel is a means of presenting your products to potential or existing customers. In regards to online retailers, it’s a platform on which they can list their products.
Some ecommerce stores only sell on their own site, but many use multiple platforms to reach a wider audience. Not only does this improve your online visibility, but it also gives your existing customers multiple options for buying your products. This in turn can improve their shopping experience and increase your online sales.
Types of ecommerce sales channels
Using a multichannel approach is a reliable way to expand your reach and attract new customers. If you’re only selling your products in one place, you might consider adding a few other options to your strategy.
Need a bit of inspiration? Here are 12 types of online sales channels you can use for your shop!
1. Your own website
This is the first and most obvious sales channel for your business. This option is entirely dedicated to your brand that you have total control over. You can design it and choose content according to your priorities and preferences, so it’s a great avenue for branding.
Even if most of your sales come from another platform, your store should still have its own site.
Your site will function best when paired with a strong search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. When done well, SEO can help you to appear on the first page of Google results for search terms related to your products or industry. It’s therefore a valuable way to help potential customers find you.
To get started with SEO, focus on improving your store’s user experience and writing high-quality, helpful content that’s relevant to your niche.
Did you know that when you create your online store with WiziShop, we manage all the technical aspects of SEO for your shop for you? Yep, that’s also combined with access to the expert assistance from our Business Coaches, over 400 optimization tools, free training, and more.
Simply put, we love doing everything we can to help you to make your first online sale and the many more that are sure to follow!
2. Social networks
Most people have at least one social media account, and many browse social media in their leisure time. Listing your goods on social networks can help you reach a wide audience, especially if your company already has a social media following.
You could set up a Facebook Store, which allows you to integrate your product listings with your company's Facebook page. This can be a great way to streamline your Facebook activity. It also has a Marketplace feature, which functions like a classified listings site.
Instagram Shopping is another option for ecommerce companies. This service lets users access a business’s products through their Instagram profile or stories. They can browse and buy items without ever leaving the app or website.
Social media has a lower conversion rate than most of the other options on our list, so you probably won’t want to use it as your primary platform. However, it can be a good secondary sales channel, as it provides a direct connection between you and the customer.
3. Large marketplaces
These are third-party platforms that connect buyers and sellers. Small ecommerce businesses can list their products on the marketplace website, and buyers can browse the listings from different sellers.
Amazon is the largest general marketplace for online retailers. It can be an excellent option because of its extensive user base. There may be thousands of people searching for products like yours on the platform. It’s well-known and highly trusted, too, so listing here gives you credibility.
The major downside to Amazon and similar sites is that they leave little room for personal branding. Shoppers may think of your product as an Amazon item without learning anything about your company. You may struggle to build long-term relationships with your customers if you primarily sell here.
4. Subscription platforms
Subscription boxes have become very popular in the last few years. If you use this business model, you could market your products with a subscription-box service like Cratejoy or TapCrate. These websites allow subscription-box companies to list their offerings for shoppers to browse through.
Subscription box platforms are similar in function to large, general marketplaces. They can help you establish a customer base if you’re a new business or expand your audience if you’ve been around for a while.
5. Auction sites
Auction-style sites like eBay are ideal for rare or collectible items. If what you offer is in demand, you can get well above the average asking price for these products by auctioning them.
Although eBay and similar sites charge commissions or listing fees, you may still enjoy a nice profit. Furthermore, these sites can also display your products to thousands of potential customers.
Keep in mind, though, that auctions take longer than traditional sales. They can be riskier, too. If there isn’t much interest in your product, it may sell for less than its full value.
6. Marketplaces for quirky products
These platforms advertise themselves as shops for strange or non-traditional products. If your business belongs to an interesting or unusual niche, this could be a valuable channel.
Some popular options include Bonanza, Storenvy, and RebelsMarket. These websites don’t get as much traffic as Amazon, but there also isn’t as much competition. Shoppers who seek out these platforms tend to value brand identity, too, so you can use these channels to locate loyal customers.
7. Price comparison websites
These websites help consumers discover the best deals by comparing prices for the same items sold by different companies. If you’re competing with other businesses in selling the same goods, listing your items on comparison shopping sites can help you appeal to consumers who are conscious of pricing.
Because this channel is often used by people looking for the lowest prices, it isn’t ideal if you offer high-end, luxury items. If you focus on quality rather than cost, comparing your prices with competitors isn't helpful for your marketing.
Because Google is often one of the first places people go to research a product, Google Shopping is a particularly great choice if you’re interested in this type of channel. Bing Shopping, Pricegrabber, and Shopzilla are additional options of which you can avail.
8. Marketplaces for handmade items
If you sell handmade products, a marketplace like Etsy may be the perfect sales channel. Shoppers who use Etsy tend to feel a strong sense of brand loyalty, so you can use this option to establish a loyal customer base.
Etsy is the most popular option for this type of channel, but alternatives include Craftsy, Zibbet, Not On the High Street, and ArtYah. You may face tough competition from other small, crafty retailers, but you can be successful on sites for handmade items if you have a great niche.
9. On-demand marketplaces
These allow you to produce and sell your products as the customers order them. I recommend this sales channel if you sell products with printed designs.
One of the most popular on-demand marketplaces is CafePress. It takes care of most of the process for you.
All you have to do is upload your designs and set your markup price, and CafePress will print and ship any items you sell. They handle the transaction, too, so you’ll be paid directly from CafePress.
On-demand manufacturing platforms can be an easy way to market your designs. Because the platform is so heavily involved in the process, you may not make as much of a profit as you would with other sites. However, it can be a decent option for supplementing your other sales channels.
10. Marketplaces for curated items
These marketplaces specialize in specific, unique, or custom items. Each one may offer something different, so the best option for your business depends on your industry.
Some may focus on jewelry, some on gag-gift items, and some on art. No matter your industry, you can likely locate a site that specializes in that item.
Listing your items on a niche marketplace may be more difficult than listing them on something like Amazon or eBay. Some require you to apply first so that they keep their scope narrow.
Because the sites are so specific in their offerings, though, you can trust that the shoppers who visit are interested in your products.
11. Sites for daily deals
Daily deals websites promote products from various brands in exchange for a percentage of the sales revenue. The most well-known example is Groupon, a platform that showcases deals from both ecommerce and brick-and-mortar shops.
In order to list your goods on Groupon, you must offer a discount. This generates more interest in your company, and it gives shoppers a reason to use Groupon over other selling options.
With the discount, you might not make a massive profit from listing your products on Groupon. The goal, though, should be to develop a loyal customer base who will seek out your store for future purchases.
12. Websites with classified ads
Sites like Craigslist aren’t the traditional channel for ecommerce businesses. They’re typically intended for individuals to sell used items they no longer want, not for brands. However, classified websites can be an effective resource for advertising your business and attracting new customers.
It’s free to list items on Craigslist, so you don’t have to worry about recouping a loss after signing up. Scams are common, though, so you have to be cautious when communicating with shoppers.
Craigslist is the most well-known classified listings site, but Facebook Marketplace, Oodle, Poshmark, OfferUp, and GumTree are all popular as well.
What to consider when choosing sales channels for your online store
All sales channels have different benefits. Some are meant for specific industries or business models, and others are open to all ecommerce retailers.
There are so many platforms available, and narrowing down your options can be tough. However, it’s better to put a lot of effort into a handful of channels than to list your items on many and neglect each of them.
When deciding on which ones to use, think about what your members of your target market are looking for. Do they value unique or personalized goods? Do they like to browse items, or do they know exactly what they want to buy?
Are they looking for high-quality, luxury goods, or are they more concerned about cost-effectiveness? Where do the people you’re hoping to attract currently do most of their shopping?
Once you’ve identified who your target customer is and how they interact with the internet, you can choose the sales channels that best suit their needs. If you have the time and resources to maintain many channels, try using a wide variety of platforms at first. Then, measure how each one performs, and narrow it down.
To maximize your brand’s potential, you should be using more than one ecommerce channel. The multichannel strategy increases your online visibility, establishes credibility, and gives shoppers options for interacting with your business.
As you diversify your online presence, remember to be consistent with your branding. Your mission statement, products, and target audience are all the same regardless of which channel you use.
By maintaining your image across multiple channels, you can establish your store as being reliable and trustworthy!