One of the biggest misconceptions is the notion that a Shopify store is a website. That just scratches the surface. There are literally hundreds of ways to make a website that sells stuff. This includes eCommerce content management systems, third-party shopping carts, and plugins and modules that add shopping functionality to various websites.
Yadda, yadda, yadda.
Shopify is NOT just one of these wannabe, me-too, add-ons. Shopify is truly a full-service, integrated eCommerce platform – and that’s not just marketing spin. There are several big key differentiators that make Shopify different in this regard – things like the Shopify Point of Sales system (POS) and such. But today we are focused like a laser on one of those big ideas – external sales channel integrations.
What Are Shopify Sale Channels?
If you are not taking advantage of Shopify sales channel integrations already, they are a way to manage products, transactions, inventory, and fulfillment inside the Shopify interface, AND have all that effort multiplied across additional sales outlets. Think of it this way … it’s like setting up multiple online eCommerce sites on some of the most powerful and popular platforms on the internet with VERY little extra effort.
Let’s Use the Shopify Amazon Integration as an Example
To start selling your products in Amazon, you set up an Amazon Seller Central account and activate the Amazon sales channel inside your Shopify. Then – depending on the type of product you are selling – you either create new product offerings directly in Shopify (which then automatically appear as sellable products in Amazon), or you have the products approved in Amazon and then link your Shopify to those existing offers.
Your products are now synced on both your eCommerce site AND on Amazon. The offers match, you are notified of any Amazon sales, and Shopify keeps track of all your inventory. You manage the entire process from your Shopify administration dashboards.
Just think about that for a minute. You no longer compete with Amazon, you are a part of the Amazon ecosystem. If Amazon is already a customer’s “go-to” choice for online shopping, you are no longer fighting with Amazon and other merchants for eyeballs in a Google search. The customers are going to search inside of Amazon and they are far more likely to find your products. It’s that simple, and there’s no fighting.
It’s the Same for the Facebook Sales Channel … and More
The Shopify sales channel integration is even slicker in Facebook. If you have a Facebook page for your business, you can have their new, always visible “Shop” tab on your Facebook page. After everything is set up, you can sync products directly from your Shopify admin area. And if you get approved for Facebook payments, you can send customers directly from social post, to shop tab, to BUY NOW … all while your customer remains contentedly within their Facebook app.
We’ve helped hundreds of online merchants set up integrations like this. Shopify has more than a dozen sales channels available to every Shopify store. And there are others available within the Shopify development community.
Basically, once the sales channels are set up, you leverage all your hard work finding great products, taking great photos, and managing inventory across multiple outlets. Each time you add a sales channel you are adding another opportunity to sell for very little extra cost or work.
You did see our post about optimizing perfect photos to be used across channels, right? Save this link for later … you will need it.
Shopify Sales Channels Are Social Science
The social and behavioral science of it all makes complete sense. By leveraging multiple sales channels, you spend less time trying to change customer behavior by driving them cold to your single online store. Instead, you let them shop, find, and buy wherever they want to and feel most comfortable. If they live on Amazon.com, you reach them on Amazon.com. If they spend all their time on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest, you let them click a “Buy” button inside their favorite social media account.
But remember … once they buy from you, they are now your customers. They are more likely to like and follow your social media posts AND you now have their email and other contact info to market to. Drive future traffic directly to your site if that’s what you want. The point is, more opportunity means more customers, more repeat business, and more sales overall.
Why the Shopify eBay Sales Channel Announcement Matters
Shopify and eBay got together on July 13, 2017, to announce that they were cooperating on a sales channel integration. This new sales channel will be available to Shopify merchants in the coming weeks. And – by my count – there have already been dozens articles about it in the first week since the announcement. Most of those articles have been in the business and investment press – Shopify is a public company [ SHOP ] and industry analysts recognize the potential.
Consider that Amazon is the undisputed leader in worldwide eCommerce. China-based Alibaba is a distant second and eBay is #3. The new Shopify eBay sales channel matters because Shopify stores will now have immediate access to two of the top three eCommerce sites in the world. In the realm of social media, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest are all strongly visual platforms with a total of more than 2 billion users. That’s “billion with a B.”
With the Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Amazon, and eBay sales channels taken together, it changes the entire eCommerce game. It takes power away from Google and – to a lesser extent – Bing. Getting consumer attention and doing business online is no longer just about the crowded world of SEO and paid ads. Customers will be able to use the interfaces of Amazon, Facebook, eBay, Pinterest and the rest as focused "social search engines" to find you and your products based upon actual product searches – without ad-fee induced interference.
It’s big … it’s important … and it’s the future of eCommerce. If you are not doing it RIGHT NOW, you should be. If you are already a Shopify merchant, you can set up these sales channels yourself, but if you need help, let us know.
The point is we KNOW that setting up sales channels like eBay, Amazon, Facebook, and the rest is a solid move and a great opportunity for almost every Shopify merchant selling physical products online. And the more successful we all are, the stronger our community and platform becomes.
It’s time to stop just "tending store" and build your business on the platform.
Thanks for reading. Now get those sales channels set up!