Small businesses were hit hard during the pandemic, with many brick and mortar storefronts closing permanently. It was imperative for small business owners to shift their strategies to operate their stores online. This was a trend that we’ll continue to see grow further in 2021 and beyond.
However, this shift online is not the only trend that we’re seeing. The number of channels that small business owners are using today expands beyond web and mobile, and customers are no longer only on one channel. Enter: the multichannel strategy. Sounds pretty straight forward. The multichannel strategy allows small business owners to sell across multiple channels simultaneously and allows consumers to do the same. The goal of the strategy is to give consumers a choice and allow them to buy when and where they want to.
It’s no secret that consumers want convenience and small business owners want efficiency. They need a way to continue to grow their business and they need to do it while saving time and saving money. So, as a small business owner, what can you do to create a successful multichannel strategy?
First, start with Facebook Shops and Instagram Shopping.
Social media plays a key role in the multichannel strategy. Not to mention, most of the tools that we are using are easy and effective, and have a massive audience of potential customers. In Ecwid E-commerce, it couldn’t be easier: With the click of a button, your products or services will be live on Facebook and Instagram for anyone to immediately buy them. In addition to using Facebook as an effective sales channel, adding Facebook Messenger can help with customer feedback and customer support.
Second, use Google Shopping with your website.
Expand beyond Facebook and Instagram. Depending on your customer demographics, this could be the most important multichannel strategy you employ. Everyone knows that Google is a fantastic search engine. Google will allow small business owners to find new customers and then drive them to your website to checkout. With Google Free Listings, there’s no need to spend money on ads to be successful.
And finally, create a custom-branded mobile app.
Everything—or most things—that we buy can be purchased with one tap of the finger. Creating a custom-branded mobile app will not only build brand awareness, it will allow customers to order directly from the app on their phone.
For a small business owner, implementing a multichannel strategy increases brand awareness, and ultimately, customer sales. With the shift online, it’s important for small business owners to listen to their customers, through social channels like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and more. As we continue to navigate through the pandemic, we’ll be seeing more small businesses implement various channels to sell to their consumer base—and that’s a trend we’ll be seeing beyond this year.
Erik Suhonen is Vice President of Global Product Partnerships at Ecwid, a global SaaS e-commerce platform. Ecwid provides online selling solutions for small businesses in over 175 countries and in 54 languages. Erik leads Ecwid’s strategic product partnerships globally, including Google, Facebook, Apple and Pinterest, as well as Ecwid’s App Market. Erik has decades of business and tech experience, including 9 years at Yahoo. Erik holds an MBA from University of Southern California.
Multichannel for small business owners stock photo by Vitalii Vodolazskyi/Shutterstock