Selling Channels for modern Multichannel Marketing

In today’s article of the series dedicated to online marketing we are going to explore channels you can use for Multichannel Marketing such as Products Comparators, Marketplaces, Social Channels, Affiliate Networks, Performance Advertising Networks and Chat Bots.

Product Comparators & Aggregators

Product Comparators or Aggregators are Selling Channels designed to allow easy comparison of products that have been uploaded there by multiple merchants. Obviously, the most important product attribute to compare is price, though the customer can usually compare also other aspects of the buying process, such as shipping price, speed of delivery or seller’s reputation.

Product Comparators was the first group of Selling Channels bringing wide online audiences to online stores and thus pioneering the idea of the upcoming Multichannel Marketing. Marketing of your products on those comparison websites is called sometimes Feed Marketing. Technically speaking, the term itself refers to the fact that product date were provided in the form of structured product files called feeds (XML, CVS). Although nowadays many modern Product Comparators have evolved and employ API for the store-channel integration purposes, the term Feed Marketing is still being widely used, as it refers to exposing of the products on this subgroup of Selling Channels.

Examples of Product Comparators & Aggregators
Beslist | Kieskeurig | Billiger | Idealo | PriceRunner

Affiliate Networks

Affiliate Networks operate large databases of content websites, blogs, magazines, chat bots, email lists or fan pages (called Affiliatesor Publishers) which all have the potential to become new sales channels for your online store. Affiliate Networks enable online merchants to offer Publishers a share of any revenue that is generated by the merchant from the visitor to the publisher’s resource that completes a checkout process in merchant’s online store.

In addition to the traditional Affiliate Networks, Performance Networks also exist. Performance Networks are typically networks that, in addition to affiliate-based promotions also offer CPM- or CPC-based display advertising.

Affiliate Marketing is an approach of wider Multichannel strategy, referring specifically to product advertising on Affiliate Networks. Back in times, the store-network integration was based on exchange of structured product files called feeds (XML, CSV), though now more advanced techniques are widely used, such as API integration.

Examples of Affiliate Networks
Daisycon | Affilinet | Miinto | Zanox | Twenga

Marketplaces

Marketplaces can be considered the second generation of Selling Channels, built on top of simple Product Comparators. It’s said a good example is worth a thousand words — Amazon. From a merchant perspective, you just need to upload your products to Amazon and Amazon in turn delivers you orders for subsequent processing. From a customer perspective, the customer does not leave the Amazon website — from product search to checkout and payment, all is done within Amazon website. That’s how Marketplaces work.

From a technical point of view, the integration store-marketplace is provided usually through the means of API. This means that most of the processes might be fully automated, including initial product exposure, stock status and availability updates and handling of orders and customer data.

Examples of Marketplaces
Amazon | eBay | Bol | Fruugo | Allegro | Rakuten

Social Channels

Who has not heard about social networks, hey? They have been here for quite a while already. However, what’s still new technology somehow is the ability to promote your products there — hence the term Social Channels. It all started with simple product advertising but nowadays some social networks allow to complete the whole purchase process within the channel, without the need to leave the channel website. In this way Social Channels are overlapping with more traditional Marketplaces. However, the unique feature of Social Channels is that they bring the social aspect to the virtual world of e-commerce allowing you, as a merchant, build your brand and online presence way easier then ever before.

Examples of Social Channels
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | YouTube

Performance Advertising Channels

Performance Advertising is a form of advertising in which the online merchant pays only when there are measurable results, i.e. measurable user actions resulting from advertisement. There are several pricing models used in the online performance advertising market, such as CPC (cost-per-click), CPL (cost-per-lead) or CPO (cost-per-order).

Those cost measures are not exclusively tight to pure Performance Advertising Channels but are spreading also across Product Comparators, Affiliate Networks or Marketplaces as general pricing models.

Examples of Performance Advertising Channels
Google Ads | Media | Infolinks

Chat Bots

Chat Bots are the latest additions to the family of Selling Channels that are about to become an inevitable part of Multichannel Marketing strategy. Combined with the advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning they are very promising Selling Channels of our times. Bots are being build on top of popular messaging and chatting application and early adopters will benefit the most.

Examples of Chat Bots
Messenger | MyChat | WhatsApp

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Perhaps you want to learn also about the difference between Multichannel and Omnichannel Marketing! Or learn why perform Multichannal Marketing.

Stay tuned! In the next article we will talk specifically about channels suitable for Multichannel Marketing! Or you can go ahead and learn about it on the website of Online Store Academy.