Why sell products on one website when you could use multiple sales channels? Think about it: advertising your products on five channels could result in five times as many customers. Multichannel retailing will help grow your business.

Not convinced? Multichannel retailing generated more than $350 billion in the US in 2020. This article will help you expand your online store and increase sales channels. We’ll explain what multichannel retailing is with examples, the advantages and disadvantages, and how to overcome inventory challenges.

What Is Multichannel Retailing?

Multichannel retailing is a popular marketing strategy involving selling products on multiple channels.

For instance, if you sell products on your website, you have one sales channel. However, if you also sell on Amazon, social media platforms and a brick-and-mortar store, you’ll expand your potential customer base.

How does it work? Essentially, multichannel retailing aims to make products available wherever customers want to buy them, including online and offline platforms. You’ll increase visibility and optimise marketing techniques by covering so many touchpoints.

With a multichannel retailing strategy, you give customers a choice to use their preferred channel. Moreover, you won’t miss out on sales happening outside your website.

Multichannel Retail Example

Let’s see how multichannel retailing works in the real world.

Gymshark: One of the fastest growing fashion brands, Gymshark uses multichannel retailing with its e-commerce website and pop-up stores worldwide. The sports-clothing brand has a substantial social media presence. With large followings on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, Gymshark has created a strong relationship with its customers.

However, you’ll notice that everything links back to the Gymshark e-commerce store. You won’t find Gymshark products anywhere else online.

However, the company still uses a multichannel retailing technique by organising pop-up stores across the globe. Gymshark customers flock to these temporary brick-and-mortar stores from Melbourne and Sydney to Toronto.

While it only uses one online channel, its physical stores encourage customer loyalty. Gymshark successfully blends online and offline channels while maintaining a monopoly on its products.

Omnichannel vs. Multichannel Retailing

Multichannel retailing sells products across several channels, each with its own purchasing capabilities. Customers won’t visit your website to buy anything.

On the other hand, omnichannel retail puts the customer at the centre of your marketing strategy. Instead of approaching each channel as an independent platform, omnichannel retailers merge e-commerce websites, emails, social media marketing, and physical locations to present personalised offers to the customer.

Multichannel and omnichannel retail strategies work together to offer customers a high-quality, seamless experience that maximises sales.

How to Create a Multichannel Retailing Strategy

To create an effective multichannel selling strategy, you should focus on building a trusting relationship with your customers. Increased customer loyalty will improve the success of your offline and online marketplaces.

How do you create a multichannel retailing strategy?

  1. Choose your sales channels: Firstly, consider which online channels you want to include in your multichannel retailing strategy. Secondly, think about whether physical stores will complement your marketing efforts.
  2. Supply chain: Inbound and outbound logistics are challenging at the best of times. Ensure multiple channels communicate purchases with your inventory management team to maintain stock levels.
  3. Consistent pricing: Using multiple sales channels can make consistency hard. Seeing changing prices after purchasing can damage customer loyalty. Ensure your prices match all across various platforms.
  4. Technology: Despite the rapid growth of online shopping, most of us prefer to purchase items we’ve seen in real life – especially large purchases. Consider how you can use technology to make your online website as life-like as possible. For instance, can you introduce virtual showrooms?
  5. Marketing: With everything set up, you must implement your multichannel marketing strategy. How will you attract customers to your retail stores? Paid ads, social media, SEO, and email marketing are good online techniques.

What Are the Different Sales Channels?

Can’t decide which sales channels to adopt? While utilising as many as possible might make sense, this could increase your overheads and stretch your resources. Consider which platforms are most appropriate for your target consumers.

Potential sales channels:

  • Physical store
  • Your own e-commerce store
  • Social media channels – Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, allow visitors to make a purchase
  • Comparison shopping engines
  • Marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and others
  • Mobile-friendly websites and apps
  • Wholesale e-commerce stores

Advantages of Multichannel Retailing

Multichannel retailing might seem like a lot of effort. Indeed, it requires more strategizing than only using one channel. However, there are plenty of benefits.

  • Target customers throughout the buyer’s journey: Very few buyers purchase your product immediately; most like browsing and reading reviews. Therefore, by making your product highly visible, customers will have more opportunities to discover and re-discover your product.
  • Leverage powerful marketplaces and search engines: Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and other online marketplaces compete for e-commerce market share. However, multichannel retailers can take advantage by leveraging the power of these giant platforms. As Amazon and eBay compete for market dominance, they market your products for you.
  • Greater revenue: It goes without saying that the more visible your product, the more sales. Moreover, online channels have already put effort into growing their digital presence – you don’t have to. Listing your product on multiple sales channels will improve your revenue without significantly increasing your overheads.

Disadvantages of Multichannel Retailing

Multichannel retailing is an excellent way to sell products. However, eager business owners might find they stretch themselves too thin.

  • Selling on the wrong channels: While the goal is to sell on multiple channels, you must choose your platforms strategically. Posting your products everywhere and hoping for the best won’t work. Ensure you’re targeting the right market to avoid wasting time and resources.
  • Lack of infrastructure: Multiple listings, managing inventory, and processing orders can take a toll. As you grow across channels, you need to expand your team to avoid a backlog of orders that could harm your brand reputation. Scale your team or invest in automation tools that handle the packing and shipping of your products.
  • Sales attribution: It’s challenging to track which channel convinced the customer to make the purchase. For instance, who gets the sales credit if a customer sees an item in your brick-and-mortar store but purchases it online at home? You need a system in place to track customer data.

How Does Multichannel Inventory Management Work?

One of the biggest challenges multichannel retailers face is managing their inventory. You need to keep an eye on your stock levels when you sell products on multiple channels.

Imagine that you sell your product on Etsy and your own e-commerce store. A customer buys the last item in stock on your Etsy site. You receive the order and begin processing. However, your e-commerce website still says that there is one item left in stock. If another customer were to purchase the last item, you would be unable to meet the demand.

Fortunately, there are ways to manage your inventory across multiple channels. You don’t have to update each site manually. Use real-time inventory management software to keep track of your stock and prevent such problems from occurring.

Start Multichannel Retailing

Employing a multichannel strategy is a great way to scale your business. However, as with any marketing tactic, you must consider the additional risks and drawbacks. Ensure you implement a well-researched strategy, using appropriate additional sales channels, invest in necessary tools, and organize your inventory management.


What Is Meant by Multichannel Retailing?

Multichannel retailing refers to businesses selling products across various channels. These could include brick-and-mortar stores, an online store, marketplace platforms, and comparison shopping engines.

What Is the Difference Between Omnichannel and Multichannel Retailing?

Omnichannel retailing leverages multiple sales channels and revolves around the customer. However, multichannel retailing leverages numerous sales channels but revolves around the product. The critical difference is the marketing strategy’s focal point.

What Is an Example of a Multichannel Retailer?

A multichannel retailer is any company with a brick-and-mortar store and online shop. However, many multichannel retailers also sell products across online marketplaces, such as Amazon, eBay, and Etsy.

How Can Businesses Benefit From Multi-Channel Retailing?

Multichannel retailing enables businesses to collect more sales data and customer information. You can learn which sales channel your customers prefer and adjust your marketing strategy to target your customers effectively—moreover, multichannel retailing results in healthy profit margins and business growth.

How Do You Build an Effective Multi-Channel Retailing Strategy?

You must first identify your customer to build an effective multichannel retailing strategy. With this in mind, choose your platforms. Try not to pick too many channels or risk spreading yourself too thin. Create consistent messaging and track customer data.

What Platforms Are Included in Multichannel Selling?

Platforms for multichannel selling include:

  • Amazon
  • eBay
  • Etsy
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Shopify
  • WooCommerce

You should sell products on your own e-commerce store. Plus, many multichannel retailers have a physical location too.

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