Multi Channel Selling Platform: Embeddable Storefronts for Boosting Online Sales
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- 9 min
- Jan 29, 2018
In modern-day ecommerce, the role of digital and its impact on the use of technology keeps growing. About 70 percent of US retail decision-makers are ready to re-think the traditional business model and adopt automation.
Researchers predict that in the next four years, retailers will shift their ecommerce strategies toward platforms and services that offer brand new approaches to retail. We’re entering the era of multi channel selling.
Multi channel selling involves end-to-end platforms that offer a complete package of services to vendors and affiliates. These services include automated payment processing, real-time merchandise statuses, and inventory management.
Our client recognized that retailers will soon start searching for such end-to-end solutions and platforms, and decided to move one step closer to the future of retail.
New Concept to Increase Online Sales
In spring 2016, we received an interesting inquiry from a Californian entrepreneur Mike D. This entrepreneur had been investigating how technology can help retailers increase sales and automate all sales-related processes.
After a lot of research, our client came up with an idea for a multi channel selling platform that would bring together vendors and affiliates and automate their sales processes so they could focus on revenues and customer success.
What’s So Revolutionary About Multi Channel Selling Platform?
This platform is an end-to-end digital solution that helps vendors to enlarge their market and increase sales by engaging affiliates.
Three Categories of Users on One Platform
Platform we’ve built meets the needs of three groups: vendors, sellers, and consumers.
- Vendors are merchants and brands that own online stores. Vendors come to the platform looking for an opportunity to expand their markets, attract more consumers, and increase their sales.
- Sellers (or publishers or affiliates) are opinion leaders that are interested in promoting and selling products related to their businesses. Sellers own a website or blog with a dedicated and broad audience of potential consumers.
- Consumers follow sellers’ websites or blogs and want to purchase products in a convenient way.
How Does It Work?
Multi channel selling platform lets vendors integrate their online stores with the service. Then the platform pulls product data from these online stores, making product details accessible to sellers.
Sellers can then pick products on the selling platform to promote on their own websites and blogs. Product cards are packed into editable widgets containing everything needed to make a purchase: product details, a shopping cart, and a checkout. These widgets are easy for sellers to set up and publish and are convenient for consumers.
Let’s take a closer look at what the multi channel selling platform offers.
Benefits for Vendors: Larger Audience and Increased Sales
The platform we’ve built is based on the affiliate model of collaboration. But how does this platform differ from the traditional affiliate approach? More importantly, what advantages does it offer vendors compared to traditional affiliate programs?
Unlike traditional affiliate programs, this multi channel selling platform addresses several concerns at once – first, the matter of payments. Since payments are automated and transparent (which we’ll touch upon below), there’s no need to manually track sales made and amounts earned.
Second, this multi channel selling platform helps reduce vendors’ expenses by letting vendors set up specific commision rates depending on their goals: getting rid of stock in the warehouse, suggesting seasonal sales, or driving sales for a particular group of products. This commission is the only cost to vendors.
By working on commission, vendors don’t need to pay sellers unless they actually sell products.
The platform also offers vendors outstanding opportunities and tools for collaboration. Vendors don’t need to waste time searching for and negotiating with individual seller. Instead, they get access to a wide network of sellers with their own broad audiences. Each seller can potentially become an affiliate.
Moreover, vendors don’t need to create individual codes or links for each affiliate to track their sales, as sales and earnings are tracked automatically.
The platform offers complex integrations and automated processes alongside an intuitive interface and tools to help vendors increase sales and manage their inventory, shipments, and payments.
To start selling, vendors just need to complete a five-step onboarding process, which includes integrating an online store and entering financial, logistics, and general company information.
Easy Integration with Ecommerce Platforms
This platform supports over 30 ecommerce platforms including Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, WooCommerce, Zen Cart, eBay, Etsy, PrestaShop, OpenCart, and osCommerce. The platform also lets vendors integrate nearly any ecommerce platform so they can connect their online stores instantly.
Automated Tax Calculation
One more efficient tool integrated into this multi channel selling platform is TaxJar. TaxJar automates sales tax, returns calculations, and generates interim reports so vendors don’t need to calculate and track taxes manually. These calculations account for different tax rates in different states. Everything is automated.
Real-Time Data Tracking
Orders: The platform ensures automatic and transparent payments. After consumers enter credit card information and click Pay, money is automatically split into the vendor’s earnings and the seller’s commission and sent to the corresponding accounts.
After a consumer makes a purchase, the platform creates an order in the vendor’s online store that includes consumer’s contact information and shipping details.
Inventory: Every 24 hours, the platform automatically synchronizes inventories with online stores. Regular updates ensure that sellers get up-to-date inventory information.
Detailed reports: Vendors can easily track their earnings, see their best-selling products, and check the number of sellers interested in promoting and selling their products as well as the number of orders received. All of this data is updated in real time.
Sharing Supportive Marketing Materials
To highlight the quality of products, their key features, and their competitive advantages, retailers can share their brand assets such as logos, booklets, lookbooks, and other marketing materials. These assets can be added by vendors and made accessible to sellers. Sellers can download these assets and use them to promote products.
How Multi Channel Selling Platform Differs From a Regular Affiliate Program
Now let’s look at the key points distinguishing the multi channel selling model from traditional affiliate programs and advantages sellers get by using this kind of platform.
Access to a Wider Selection of Products From Various Vendors
Searching products with the multi channel selling platform is intuitive and smooth. Selecting products to promote is similar to regular online shopping. Plus, sellers can manage several affiliate programs at once and pick products from different vendors. There’s no need to agree on commision or other conditions with each brand.
Ability to Pick the Most Attractive Commission Rates
Vendors can set commission rates for their products based on their goals: season sales, the need to get rid of the remains and so. Sellers can then choose the most attractive commission rates to increase their earnings.
Widgets Easy to Edit, Style, and Integrate
Editing, styling, and managing widgets is easy and intuitive for sellers. After widgets are styled and ready for publishing, the platform generates a unique code that sellers can easily add to their websites or blogs as a natural element of a homepage, a block similar to those for ads, or an online store on a separate page or in a separate section.
Widgets contain not only product cards but also a shopping cart and checkout. Thus, the purchasing process happens right on the seller’s website, keeping consumers on the website after making the purchase.
Vendors and sellers both get detailed and convenient analytics. Sellers can investigate their earnings and number of orders, clicks, and views for specific periods. They can also see a list of best-selling products.
This overview helps sellers track trends, experiment, and plan further campaigns by choosing the most effective offers.
Transparent Automated Payments and Easy Payouts
A multi channel selling platform eliminates payment risks for sellers since all payments are automated. Besides, all financial details are transparent: sellers always know a product’s price and their commission.
Supportive Marketing Materials
Sellers get access to additional marketing materials provided by vendors and brands: logos, lookbooks, booklets, descriptions, and other data. These materials help sellers get official information on products they’re going to sell.
How RubyGarage Built a Multi Channel Selling Platform
We were excited to bring the idea of a multi channel selling platform to life. Here’s the technical side of all these remarkable solutions you’ve just read about.
Human-centered interface: We strived to create more than just another pretty interface. To ensure the platform was effective and easy to use, we took a human-centered design approach. This approach helped us make each module – inventory list, logistics management section, company settings, etc. – convenient and intuitive.
Scalable architecture: The platform is built as a scalable web application that’s able to cope with 900+ million users (vendors, sellers, and consumers) as well as all the data from connected online stores.
To make the platform scalable, we used the proven Amazon Web Services toolkit; in particular, we used Amazon OpsWorks Stacks, which allowed us to automatically scale servers to store all the data needed based on the actual load.
Platform easy to interact: It is as user-friendly as possible. Our human-centred design accompanied by the right technology allowed us to build a platform that’s intuitive to interact with and easy for retailers and sellers to set up and manage.
Real-time analytics and detailed reporting: The platform gathers and analyzes data for retailers and sellers. Both groups of users can track number of orders received, best-selling products, and total earnings for specific periods.
To make this tracking precise, convenient, and most importantly, instant, we used Ahoy analytics. This tool provides a solid foundation for tracking data in Ruby, works with a large selection of databases, and is scalable.
Here’s the technology stack for the multi channel selling platform:
Multi channel selling platforms and solutions are about to become a real game-changer for the retail industry, making businesses competitive and flexible while letting them focus more on their customers and revenue thanks to the automation of sales-related processes.
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