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"If you build it they will come." It's too bad that maxim doesn't apply to ecommerce. Then every retailer's products would virtually fly off the shelves. Unfortunately, it's just not the case. That's why savvy online retailers turn to multichannel marketing strategies in order to reach maximum exposure. With so many product marketing options, however, creating a winning game plan can be intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be.

In this blog, we will define the top retail strategies available to online retailers and review tips on figuring out which ones are right for you.

Understanding the Multichannel Landscape

Comparison Shopping Engines (CSEs)

Comparison shopping engines are sites where online retailers display their products next to other merchants’ products. When shopping, consumers can browse a CSEs database of products, each linking back to an individual retailer’s website where the transaction takes place.

Marketplaces

An online marketplace is a site that lists merchants products, with the goal of matching consumer searches with relevant products. The marketplace is  responsible for managing transactions, and then pass along the orders to the merchants to fulfill. eBay and Amazon are examples of popular online marketplaces.

Affiliates

An affiliate is a website that directs traffic to a merchant's site by listing links on their website. Merchants pay affiliates a commission normally based on how much traffic is referred to them, or based on a percentage of how many conversions occur from the directed traffic.

Product Listing Ads (PLAs)

Allow you to include an image, title, price, promotional message, and your store or business name inside your ads, without the need for you to create unique ad for each product you sell. Product Listing Ads show a set of relevant products for a given search. The ads appear in their own box on Google Search (separate from text ads), on Google search partner websites that display and link to products for sale, and on Google Shopping. This also applies to Bing.

Retargeting

Focuses on converting window-shoppers into buyers. Generally 2% of shoppers convert on the first visit to an online store. Retargeting brings back the other 98%. Retargeting works by keeping track of people who visit your site and displaying your retargeting ads to them as they visit other sites online.

Social Media Marketing

The process of gaining website traffic or attention through social media sites. Social media marketing programs usually center on efforts to create content that attracts attention and encourages readers to share it across their social networks. Social marketing has the ability to create look alike and custom audiences, making targeting specific customer demographics a reality and with ease.

Display Advertising

Offers a wide range of advertising formats and contains items such as text, images, flash, video, and audio. Display ads are dynamic and can be targeted based on the consumer's search history.

Mobile Advertising

Helps you reach customers on the go. 60% of the population use smartphones to meet their online needs. Make your site and feeds mobile friendly, or you're going to miss out on a lot of potential revenue.

Developing a Winning Strategy

There's no simple formula of to determine what the right mix of adverting is that will bring you the most success in the shortest amount of time. In order to be successful you need to diversify through multichannel selling. People enter the search funnel in many, many different ways. If you're not taking a shotgun approach to your marketing efforts, your products don't have a chance to capture the attention of a wide audience.  With so many options out there, how do you go about finding your winning combo? Here's three steps that may help.

  1. Have a goal-setting session. We're not talking high level goals here, we're talking listing them out step by step and in order of importance.
  2. What's important to you and why? Are conversions the end game? How important are new customers? What about brand awareness?
  3. Once the goals are all on the table, reevaluate them and be realistic: How quickly can you achieve your goals? Have you set realistic deadlines?
  4. Do you have a checks and balances system in place to ensure your properly assessing progress and holding the systems that are in place accountable for profits and losses? This is going to take some time, but you're building the foundation in which you will be launching your entire advertising campaign from, so be patient and thorough.
  5. Do your research. Research what every revenue channel can bring to the table, and what their individual requirements -- data feed and otherwise -- are in order to list your products on their site.
  6. Know what products do well in what channels.
  7. Know the ecommerce landscape and plan accordingly based on your budget.
  8. It pays to diversify. Rarely is it a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket. The same is true for your product marketing. The key is to have a healthy mix of the 8 above listed channels in order to ensure your products are everywhere the consumers are.

Figuring out what mix of online advertising channels is going to work for you can be an intimidating process. It's time consuming and the risk of choosing the wrong mixture can be devastating if you don't have the proper checks and balances in place.

If after you've put the above advice to the test and still wish to seek additional information and help, GoDataFeed offers a variety of multichannel marketing solutions that can help you get your products on the digital shelf.