Choose an eCommerce Sales Channel Mix
Choosing an eCommerce sales channel mix translates to choosing the appropriate mix of online marketplaces, website sales, social media communities, and in-country partners; this ratio of channels can be optimized depending upon industry, product, and platform.
It is recommended that an eCommerce business service provider get involved with in-depth planning for your overseas campaigns. At a minimum, you are encouraged to develop an outline of suggested allocation of your own resources.
An "eCommerce sales channel mix" is the ratio at which you assign resources to:
- Your Website- selling directly from, or generating product awareness
- Online Marketplaces- overseas and domestic B2B and B2C marketplaces
- Social Media- consumer brand recognition may drive sales
- 3rd party In-Country Distributor Sales Channels- already established networks, reputation, and consumer credibility in market
In other words, you need to know who your customers are and from where they are buying.
Choosing the right eCommerce sales channel mix depends upon your products/services and customer. Understanding what you are selling and to whom is the starting point for your eCommerce digital strategy. This will also determine your strategy for blogging, social media engagement, direct and indirect marketing, and website content management.
Look objectively at your product/service when choosing your eCommerce sales channel mix, and keep in mind that each channel may not be suitable to your needs.
- Does your industry/product sell through social media?
- Does your industry/product sell through online marketplaces?
- Are sales driven by your website? Should they?
- Can a 3rd party distributor represent us overseas?
- Does your U.S. website already show up in overseas search engine results?
Establish a baseline for where your site traffic comes from. A website globalization review gap analysis can provide a comprehensive analysis of your website’s performance, with corrective actions and customized tips suggested to optimize your international online presence.
If English is not prevalent in your target market, translate the keywords on these overseas search engines and online marketplaces, as potential customers are likely to use their native language.
Is social media an eCommerce sales channel that I should invest in?
U.S. brands looking to establish a presence with a small target audience while building a loyal following should engage in social media. Social media campaigns will need to be customized and localized for each country, and oftentimes require separate cultural campaigns and messaging within a single country. It is important to be considerate of local traditions and sensitivities in order to protect your brand’s image in these markets. It is highly recommended that businesses hire experienced local social media marketing firms to handle their business and brand messaging. Heavy industries (ie: machinery, aerospace, chemicals, etc.) can also benefit greatly from social media, although not to the extent and saturation of the retail and consumer goods industries. Many heavy industries have enhanced their image and brand through thought leadership—such as publishing on business-related social media sites, maintaining a YouTube channel for product demos, or posting content during industry trade shows on media sharing sites.