Multichannel eCommerce and how to save money on international marketplaces

In this article, we’re going to discuss online retail and how it’s now more beneficial for your marketing strategy to include multichannel eCommerce. Plus, we’re also going to provide ways on how you can save 3%-4% of your international sales revenue.

The question is simple really, why would you put all your eggs in one basket when you could use several different ones – and keep more customers happy, too?

Once upon a time, people would create online stores on just one channel. For example, set up an eBay account and sell only via this medium.

Today, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t use a handful of different websites to buy their goods; perhaps Amazon for books, Asda for food, and Bean to Door for fresh coffee as examples. Customers have changing loyalties and relationships with their retailers.


PREACHING TO A WORLDWIDE MARKETPLACE

reach worldwide marketplaces

The fact is, more and more transactions are being made online by consumers all over the world. Just as people used to trust big names such as Woolworths on the high street, consumers now identify, perhaps even more, with companies like Amazon and eBay.

By having an appealing web store set up across several channels (rather than sticking to one) it automatically opens your business to a wider audience.

How many customers can you attract to a shop on the high street? It’s true that people may come to you through word of mouth or repeat custom, but you’re only really visible to the people who pass by.

But think of the number of potential buyers you could reach across shopping channels like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Google – it literally runs into the billions.

So, when you can have one warehouse of stock open to a worldwide market, why would you do anything else?


Below are the main selling channels you should consider when looking to get involved with multichannel ecommerce

Selling channels to consider with multichannel ecommerce

Amazon Logo

This is by far the most popular platform for any e-tailer. It’s a huge internet marketplace with sites in UK, DE, FR, IT, ES, US, CA, and many more.

Furthermore, people already trust the brand; as they, their friends, and families have already had lots of successful transactions in the past.

Being a seller is easy too! You’ll have access to Amazon’s wide range of services including FBA (fulfilment by Amazon) where your stock will be stored, shipped, and customer relations handled on your behalf.

One of the most popular amongst both small and large-scale businesses. ebay allows you to have easily customised storefronts, create item descriptions, and add some encouraging background about your business.

Move products to ebay and reach over 10% of the total eCommerce trade in the United Kingdom. Access global ebay markets such as the United States, European countries and Asian Markets.

Present in over 100 countries with proven buyers and 20+ global selling channels.

 

magento wordpress shopify logos

Every retailer should have a website. It’s expected. A well-designed website gives your business credibility. And above all else, a website gives you the platform to showcase your services while building trust with the end user.

There is an abundance of templated services like WooCommerce, BigCommerce, and Shopify that make it simple and easy to design an online store.

A website can easily be promoted via Google Shopping, Social Media Ads, and traditional print advertising. Search traffic can be directed towards your website by implementing a targeted SEO strategy.

Linnworks Partner Logo

An automation system is a crucial part of any online retailer. When you’re selling across multiple channels, there is a stack of routine processes to deal with – like processing orders, keeping track of stock levels, printing shipping labels, and creating product listings.

It’s a lot of work if you’re selling on one channel, but when you’re a multichannel eCommerce e-tailer the workload is tenfold. An automation system is the engine behind any eCommerce business – in fact, no online seller can exist for long without a good order/stock management system.

There are many automation solutions on the market, but we’d recommend Linnworks which is one of the very best around.


WHAT FUNCTIONS SHOULD I BE LOOKING FOR TO HELP MY MULTICHANNEL ECOMMERCE BUSINESS?

functions for multichannel ecommerce

Order Management

This allows you to consolidate all your orders into one easy to manage solution. By integrating your sales channels such as Amazon, eBay, and Etsy with Linnworks it allows the system to:

  • Download orders into one place
  • Filter & sort orders
  • Assign shipping services & print labels
  • Process orders
  • Update selling channels with tracking numbers

You can also customise the way you want to process orders. There’s absolutely nothing to stop you doing the above in bulk or using a scanner to process orders one at a time.

Stock Control

To make life easier when selling across multiple channels, Linnworks will automatically update and maintain your stock levels. Once orders are placed, the system will send quantity updates to all selling channels to prevent overselling.

You can even create multiple locations depending on how many warehouses you have; and manage stock within one system.

Shipping Management

When you’re selling to different parts of the world, there’s no doubt that you’ll have to deal with many different couriers. A shipping management function will help you integrate multiple couriers (and generate the correct labels) in one place.

You can even create bespoke shipping rules to assign to orders based on the criteria you input.  So, when you’re dealing with the likes of Royal Mail, DPD, Parcelforce, UPS, DHL or FedEx, think how much time you’ll save on processes like weighing consignments.

Inventory Management

Without an inventory management system, any products that flow through your business will be hard to track – leading to confusion and chaos with orders.  With a system in place, you’ll be able to transfer stock to different warehouses and keep track of the consignments while in transit.

You can sign in stock once it’s been delivered and then rely on the system to update the quantity and mark POs as delivered.  POs can be created and sent directly to your suppliers.

Listing Management

A listing management function enables you to create products manually (one by one) or use a CSV to import data in bulk. It provides you with an option to control a central data hub to list products to multiple channels such as eBay, Amazon, Magento, Shopify, and BigCommerce. You’ll also be able to insert custom HTML eBay templates too.

Miscellaneous functions and tips…

Are you using dropshippers? If so, then you can customise Linnworks to route orders to your suppliers and receive stock level updates. It’s also possible to track numbers for orders already processed.

To save you those precious hours, you can configure automatic email notifications to be sent to customers when an order is dispatched. And to make things even easier, you can set up invoice templates for each channel and print them with a click of a button.

With so many different channels on which to sell your product or service, there’s no reason why you can’t expand to conquer both your domestic and international marketplace.  When you’re looking to sell on international marketplaces, it’s essential that you save money where you can.


HOW TO SAVE 3-4% OF YOUR INTERNATIONAL SALES REVENUE? (PART TWO)

Save 4% on Int Sales Revenue

That’s why we’ve joined forces with our friends at freemarket.  Part two of this article will focus on the financial side of your business and how just focussing on three key areas could save you as much as 3% – 4% of your hard-earned international sales revenue.

The topic of international marketplaces and the benefits to your business is well covered. Expanding your business on international marketplaces can deliver a substantial boost to your sales revenue and have a positive effect on your bottom line. However, there are a number of areas that you need to be fully aware of to ensure that you receive maximum profit from your sales.

 

Below are the three key areas to focus on:

1 – Beware of Foreign Exchange Margins.

In most cases, international marketplaces will manage the process of paying your sales revenue. Those that are licensed to hold money and make payments will provide you with two options. The first option will be to provide them with details of your local in-country currency account. For example, your Euro revenue can be easily paid into a Eurozone-based Euro account. However, the process and cost of opening a foreign currency in-country account is out of the reach of most businesses.

The second option is where the marketplace makes payments to your domestic bank account, in say, sterling. With this option, the marketplace will apply a very wide percentage margin on top of the foreign exchange transaction. This will seriously impact the amount of money paid to you.

If the marketplace is not licensed to hold and manage client money, they will use an external payment provider such as PayPal; these organisations also charge a high percentage on the foreign exchange transactions which will take a chunk of your sales revenue.

2 – Make Foreign Currency Work for You and Reduce the Cost of Your International Supplier or VAT payments

If you must pay international suppliers or local taxes such as VAT, then you should try to find a way to keep your foreign currency revenue, rather than having it converted back to sterling and then re-converted back to Euros for example. Not only are you being hit by two foreign exchange transactions but you will also incur international payment fees.

3 – Increase the Transparency and Control of Your International Marketplace Sales Revenue

Multiple platforms mean these costs discussed above are multiplied too: for example, selling internationally on Amazon plus other local marketplaces means you’ll receive multiple payments from these combinations of marketplaces and payment providers. The more marketplaces you use, the harder it will be to manage. This is because you’ll have no control over when these payments are made.  Using multichannel management platforms like Linnworks will simplify this process by showing these transactions as orders with the correct details.


HOW CAN I USE THESE AREAS TO SAVE MONEY?

4 benefits of currency accounts

So far, we’ve outlined the three key areas that you need to consider which could save you 3-4% of your international marketplace revenue.  But we haven’t yet told you HOW…

The answer is simple.

Service providers such as freemarket can help you manage your international marketplace revenue more efficiently by providing you with in-country currency accounts which you can register with marketplaces and/or payment providers, into which they can pay your international sales revenue.

The benefits of these in-country currency accounts are:

 

1) Reduced percentage margins applied to your foreign exchange conversions compared against marketplaces and payment service providers such as PayPal. freemarket will apply a fixed margin of 0.2% to all transactions; so be sure to check what margin the service providers you speak with are currently charging.

 

2)  Use your foreign exchange revenue to pay your international suppliers and VAT liabilities. You should be able to use your currency balances to pay suppliers including tax authorities; which removes both multiple foreign exchange transactions and international payment fees. Always make sure to check that your service providers’ accounts have this functionality.

 

3) Greater control and transparency, as you should receive notification of all receipts into your currency accounts. You’ll also be able to manage how much currency you convert and repatriate.

 

4) Convert your currency balances into other currencies. If you sell on European marketplaces but buy your stock from China in US$, then you should be able to economically convert your Euro balances into US$ and pay your suppliers. Again, check the margin that providers charge when converting your currency, and if there are additional international payment fees – freemarket applies a fixed 0.2% margin fee including an international payment fee. https://freemarketfx.com/marketplaces

 

We’ve provided different methods to help you in both the domestic and international marketplace. Just by paying attention to these three key financial areas, you’ll be able to save on your international sales revenue.  And by adopting a multichannel eCommerce strategy, along with Linnworks to automate the repetitive tasks, you’ll be able to generate more sales.

We’ve given you the know-how, so now it’s time to implement them into your business. You’ll thank us later.


AUTHORS

PITARON LTD

Pitaron Ltd is an eCommerce Managed Service company, with a focus to deliver business grade, multichannel solutions to UK and International e-tailers. Linnworks strategic partner and implementations specialists.  https://pitaron.co.uk/

FREEMARKET FX

FCA regulated and headquartered in London, freemarket is a unique ‘Member Exchange’ currency platform that’s turning conventional currency exchange on its head. If you’re a business or private individual exchanging currency on a regular basis, join us and you’ll save as much as 95% off the charges you pay using a bank or conventional trading platform. https://freemarketfx.com


 

 

9.07.2018

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