It’s difficult to pin down exactly what percentage of online stores fail. Some say about 80 percent die out within the first two years. Others put the number much higher – a horrifying 97%.

Whatever the actual total, one thing is for sure: it is incredibly high.

But why? After all, ecommerce sales are actually supposed to grow by 8 to 12% this year alone. More online businesses should be doing better – so what’s the problem?

The "Field of Dreams" Fallacy

Even if you haven’t seen Kevin Costner’s The Field of Dreams, you have probably heard and internalized that movie’s most famous tagline: “If you build it, they will come.”

This translates to retail as: “If I open a great store and sell products that people want, I can’t help but be successful!”

Here’s the problem though. Even if people want your products, they still have to know you exist in order to be able to buy from you. Unless you are the only business selling a particular product, relying on people to more or less randomly find your store is not the most effective strategy.

Now most retailers know this. They understand that consumers today have a lot of options. The first step in potentially getting chosen is to make sure that their products exist where people are looking.

In other words, in general, today’s online retailers are relatively savvy about the need to put their products onto shopping channels that potential customers are already frequenting.

But these online retailers are still failing at a high rate. Why is that?

Because they’re not doing enough.

New marketplaces are springing up every day, and there are literally hundreds of them out there. Yet many online retailers believe that they can add their products to a single big channel – or a small set of channels – and call it a day.

Adding your products to Google Shopping and Amazon often isn’t enough anymore. Those channels have gotten so big that it is far too easy for your products to get lost and rarely show up in search results.

Focusing on a small set of channels isn’t a much better strategy because you are likely to miss out on a large chunk of the market.

The solution is simple… but not necessarily easy.

Diversify Your Ecommerce Marketing

Put simply, you need to diversify your ecommerce marketing. Get your products listed on as many shopping channels as possible (here's our top 10 ecommerce channels). The more channels you have items listed on, the more chances you have of reaching your potential customers, and the more possibilities you have of making sales.

And not only do you need to diversify the number of channels you are selling on, you also need to optimize your data for each of those channels. Each channel has their own set of best practices. For example, optimizing for Amazon is different than optimizing for Google. What may work for one channel, may not work for another.

For many online stores, the challenge is managing and optimizing the many product feeds. How can you do this without dedicating an inordinate amount of time to the task?

It all starts with setting up product feed automation across multiple channels. This allows you to manage your listings on every single shopping channel from one single dashboard. That automatically updates inventory across channels to prevent problems. That lets you manage your data, automate tasks, create global and specific rules, optimize listings, and more.

At GoDataFeed, our system allows you to connect with -- and optimize for -- more than 200 of the top ecommerce channels while streamlining the process and helping to boost your ROI.