Multichannel Selling

What is Multichannel Selling? 

Multichannel selling is a sales strategy where companies use multiple platforms to sell their products. By diversifying their approach across physical and digital channels, companies can reach a wider audience while expanding their brand’s market presence.

Common sales channels in a multichannel strategy include:

  • The company’s own website
  • Ecommerce stores
  • Social media platforms
  • Search engines
  • Email
  • Cold calling
  • Online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay
  • Reseller partners
  • Retail stores
  • Catalogs
  • Field sales

For a multichannel selling strategy to work, sellers need to connect with potential customers on platforms they actually use. It’s meant to help them reach their target audience, but an added benefit is it improves the buying experience. When customers can shop on their favorite platforms, they’re more likely to take action and make a purchase (and enjoy the process of doing so).


  • Multichannel sales strategy
  • Omnichannel selling

Benefits of Multichannel Selling

Multichannel selling supports just about every business model. Almost every business uses multiple channels to some extent. And 52% of companies use three to four.

There are several reasons for this:

Brand Visibility

Diversifying across more than one channel gives customers multiple opportunities to see a brand. A direct-to-consumer brand, for example, would severely limit itself by only selling on its own ecommerce site. They’ll reach plenty more customers on social media channels like TikTok and Instagram.

Nowadays, companies can use multiple sales channels without even incurring additional costs. Posting on social media, updating the company blog, using SEO tactics to increase visibility on search engines, and other organic marketing tactics can cost nothing if a business wants them to. This makes multichannel selling the best way to reach customers, even for small businesses with limited budgets.

Market Expansion

Whenever a company rolls out a new product or feature (or simply wants a PR boost), limiting themselves to one sales channel means missing out on potential customers.

If the market expansion entails reaching new geographic areas or buyer personas, sellers don’t know where to find the most success until they try different channels. Small but meaningful intricacies like how to contact a Fortune 500 CEO versus a startup founder ultimately determine whether the company is successful in its sales approach or not.

Access to Customers

72% of customers say they would rather connect with businesses through multiple channels. Interestingly enough, higher brand visibility is actually a convenience to potential buyers who are looking for a product.

Not every customer uses the same channels to look for products, engage, and transact. Neglecting to use multiple channels means you’re leaving money on the table and cutting off at least some members of your customer base.

Increase in Revenue

Usually, when a company’s revenue strategy isn’t quite hitting, the immediate reaction is to test other channels. For many, multichannel selling is a natural response to poor revenue performance.

According to data from TechTarget, it works. B2B companies using a multichannel selling strategy see 24% higher ROI from their campaigns and a 300% performance increase compared to those using one or two sales channels.

More Data on Customer Behavior

Especially in the case of online channels that collect data on everything the customer does, multichannel selling can give businesses an unprecedented view of customer behavior.

Data like how long a buyer spends on a web page, whether they download certain content, and what they said in the comment section of a social media ad can tell companies a lot about their customers and their preferences when it comes to shopping.

Using multiple channels also makes it easier for businesses to talk to their customers, which is the best way to collect data, personalize the customer experience, and build relationships. Responding to a social media comment from a disappointed customer, for example, improves customer satisfaction while giving the company valuable information about what their customers expect.

Multichannel Selling Challenges to Consider

Far and away, the biggest challenge of multichannel selling is over-diversification. Using too many channels doesn’t help anyone if none of them are well-executed. Even though businesses need to support multichannel shoppers, it’s best to start with one or two high-converting channels before branching out and adding to the sales and marketing strategy.

Here’s a look at a few other key challenges associated with multichannel selling:

Customer Experience

Creating consistency across the board is really tough. Customer loyalty suffers when the experience is completely different from one channel to the next.

A consistent customer experience requires all of the following:

  • Accurate product listings on the company’s own website, marketplaces, and third-party retailers
  • Correct pricing information from affiliate partners and review sites
  • Exact branding features across company social media, website, and other outlets
  • Positive support and brand representation from reseller partners
  • Fast responses to support inquiries on all your sales channels

Successful multichannel selling goes far beyond just having a presence on different platforms. It’s about delivering the same kinds of experiences across all channels, which requires more work than it initially seems.


Adding new sales channels doesn’t always cost anything. A sales rep who already cold calls prospects every day can easily test out email. A DTC brand selling online can start creating social media content on their smartphone. With software to manage multiple channels, the company’s bottom line is still barely affected.

But advertising, promoting content, outsourcing services to an agency, and other costs can balloon quickly depending on the goals. Multichannel sellers often have difficulty understanding how to manage the costs and where they should allocate their budget to maximize revenue, reach, and efficiency.


Logistically, managing existing customers across numerous platforms poses multiple challenges:

  • Legal restrictions in some countries and industries
  • Delivering products quickly to customers across different markets or locations
  • Tracking inventory levels when dealing with bigger batches
  • Managing customer relationships without neglecting anyone

If a company’s inventory management software isn’t completely integrated with all of a company’s sales channels, product information will be inaccurate, order fulfillment is completely misinformed, and customer service is poor.

Channel Management

Integrating every platform is one of the most challenging aspects of multichannel sales management. Every source of revenue has its own analytics software to manage it, which makes revenue attribution and tracking exponentially more difficult with ever new channel added.

89% of companies say they have data integration problems. Incomplete, inaccurate, and siloed data leads to:

  • Sales and marketing misalignment
  • Misinformed decisions about which channels to focus on
  • Poorly targeted customer segments
  • Low ROI from campaigns

Multichannel sellers need to centralize their sales data, which means building a tech stack with tools purpose-built to run in tandem with each other.

Inventory Management

For physical products retailers and B2B manufacturers, proper inventory management is the difference between customer satisfaction and lost business. It’s extremely easy for companies to miss a few (sometimes large) purchases if the system doesn’t record them correctly or route them to the right department.

Without an integrated system that produces accurate sales data, forecasting demand is also virtually impossible. That means preparing inventory for fluctuations in demand is a guessing game, at best.


The difficult part about branding while using multiple sales channels is different departments manage each channel.

  • The marketing department manages the company blog, ad creative, and social media profiles.
  • Customer success deals with customer inquiries.
  • Sales spends time talking to customers.

Even if they share the same data (and it’s accurate), they don’t talk to each other every day. They have their own projects and goals. The whole team needs to be laser-focused on one brand message, and that comes from the top down.

Tracking and Reporting

For the same reason data integration is tricky, tracking and reporting are also challenging. Companies have to access their customer and sales data at any given time for it to be useful. And they have to be able to trust it.

Plenty of software automates tracking and reporting for multiple channels. But, again, it’s only effective if all your sales channels are perfectly integrated.

8 Common Channels in a Multichannel Selling Strategy

Every company’s mix is unique to its own customer base. Even in the same sector, two businesses may have completely different approaches to multichannel selling.

Ecommerce Store

For most ecommerce businesses, the online store is the biggest source of revenue. Most multichannel selling strategies (e.g., PPC, social campaigns, PR) aim to drive customers to the store.

Ecommerce stores all share a few common characteristics:

  • Navigable product pages
  • Payment gateways
  • Secure payment processing
  • Shipping options tailored to the business’s needs
  • Clear customer service policies and information

On the backend, every order a customer places online is routed to the company’s order fulfillment team or third-party logistics (3PL) provider.

Social Media Platforms

Social media is the best online channel for connecting with new and potential customers. TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook also have “shop” options, so multichannel retailers can create micro-stores customers can use without leaving the app.

The most successful social media campaigns are interesting, original, and informative. Product launches, giveaways, customer shoutouts, and influencer partnerships are all common multichannel selling tactics on social media.

Brick-and-Mortar Store

A physical store, while expensive, is often a key element of multichannel retail. It isn’t always the biggest revenue driver for companies (especially now that digital channels have become so popular). But there’s often a business case for brick-and-mortar stores that goes beyond revenue.

Companies selling complex products like electronics, for example, benefit from having physical stores. Many customers would rather purchase the product from the retailer’s site (and some do even after testing it in person). But giving potential new customers the ability to test products before buying them makes physical retail channels a critical touchpoint in these instances.

Brick-and-mortar retailers also benefit large companies that need to process returns, repairs, or customer service inquiries. An online store may be able to handle returns. But the customer experience would be a lot better if the abovementioned laptop company could take the laptop in-person and repair it the same day.

Online Marketplaces

An online marketplace is an ecommerce platform sellers use to list their products. It’s a great way to reach potential customers without having to build your own ecommerce store or spend time and resources on your own ad campaigns.

Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Walmart, and Wayfair are all popular online marketplaces for different types of products. Each has its own unique rules and requirements for sellers.

Restaurants and grocery stores even use multichannel selling. Listing a business on DoorDash, Uber Eats, or Instacart results in significantly higher sales revenue for these businesses.

Multichannel sellers use online marketplaces either as their primary revenue driver or a secondary sales channel for their products.

Affiliate Programs

Affiliate programs are a great way to get new customers and drive sales without paying for ads. Companies use affiliates — usually influencers, bloggers, or websites—to refer potential customers.

In exchange, the affiliate receives a commission every time someone purchases from the company’s website after clicking on their promotional link. The commission is usually a percentage of the sale’s total cost.

Affiliate programs are success-based, so they’re a great way to grow your business without investing in up-front marketing costs.

Email Marketing

Email is a tried and true distribution channel for just about any business, B2B or B2C. It’s perfect for:

  • Sending current customers personalized content and promotions (huge upselling and cross-selling opportunities)
  • Reaching out to new prospects in an attempt to start a conversation
  • Sending newsletters and industry updates to nurture leads
  • Solicit feedback to gauge customer satisfaction

Email automation software can help companies segment their lists into categories and send personalized content for different customer groups, from new leads to longtime customers.

Live Chat & Messaging Platforms

Live chat is the perfect way to provide quick, effective customer support when customers need it. It’s also helpful in the B2B space for qualifying leads and booking meetings without the interference of an actual rep.

Software like Intercom, Drift, and HubSpot automate customer conversations and provide instant answers. Messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are also great for connecting with customers in real time.

Reseller Partnerships

Reseller partnerships come in all kinds of flavors:

  • Value-added resellers (VARs)
  • Distributors
  • Wholesalers
  • Retailers
  • White-label partners
  • System integrators
  • Consultants and third-party admins

Partnering with the right resellers can get your products in front of new customers, increase sales, and diversify revenue streams. Sometimes, the parent company’s customer base is unaware its products are also offered under competing brand names.

Content Management Systems (CMS)

A CMS is a powerful tool that helps them maintain their branding across different channels and measure the performance of each channel. For instance, a retailer can use its CMS to coordinate campaigns across its website, stores, social media accounts, and partners’ websites.

Most importantly, a CMS manages the company blog. On average, companies with a blog generate 67% more leads than those that don’t. For a popular website that already gets a decent amount of traffic, that’s several thousand new leads per month.

Industries Using Multichannel Selling Successfully

Multichannel selling is popular in practically every industry. Here are a few that have seen especially successful implementations of multichannel retailing:

  • Clothing and fashion
  • Electronics and appliances
  • Beauty and cosmetics
  • Home furniture, décor, and appliances
  • Grocery stores
  • Restaurants
  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
  • B2B products and services

In every case, a multichannel selling strategy increases the chances of customers discovering a product or service. Companies that successfully combine the right channels with effective sales strategies see tremendous growth in their customer base, revenue, and profits over time.

Advantages of Using a Multichannel Selling Platform

Selling on multiple channels is next to impossible without the right tools. Investing in a multichannel selling platform offers untold benefits to any business using more than one platform to sell its products.

  • Product information management (PIM)Software solves the consistency and accuracy challenges of product data across different platforms. It also helps teams better manage their catalogs and create custom configurations with ease.
  • Order management A good multichannel selling platform makes the order processing team’s lives easier by automatically populating information for packing slips, shipping labels, tracking numbers, and returns. Plus, it ensures nobody misses an order in the first place.
  • Opportunity management Multichannel selling tools have lead scoring and activity tracking features that make it easy manage MQLs across multiple sales channels.

Sales analytics A single dashboard provides updates on the performance of sales channels and product categories. This helps teams focus their efforts where it matters most, forecast future sales/demand, and understand customer buying habits.

People Also Ask

What is an example of a multichannel seller?

An example of a multichannel seller is an ecommerce business selling its products through marketplaces like Amazon and eBay.

The owner may also have their own website, create social media content to engage their followers, and list items in physical stores or through retail partners like Walmart.

More than likely, they will work with affiliates and influencers to capitalize on others’ audiences as well.

What is the key difference between a multichannel and omnichannel retail strategy?

The key difference between a multichannel and an omnichannel retail strategy is that the former focuses on creating multiple sales channels while the latter puts more emphasis on providing a seamless customer experience across all channels. Omnichannel retailers make sure customers have access to product information, pricing, and promotions wherever they shop.

Multichannel retailers are almost always omnichannel retailers and vice versa. Multichannel is more about the sales channels themselves. Omnichannel is about the experience, not all of which is directly tied to revenue.