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The State of Multi-Channel eCommerce in 2019

This past May 2019, we sent out a survey to multi-channel eCommerce sellers investigating how they acquired new customers, their fulfillment strategies for multi-channel selling, what tools and software they used, and their reasons behind expanding to different marketplaces.

Of the 500+ merchants that responded, 48% make more than $1M on Amazon alone. 21% make between $500K to $1 million,  26% make between $1 and $2 million, and 18% make between $2 and $6 million annually.

Please note that respondents were often given the option to select more than one answer, which is why some percentages add up to more than 100%.

We sent out the survey to equip all multi-channel sellers with the knowledge and experience from their peers, and to answer questions like:

  • What are the drivers for going multi-channel?
  • Which channels should you look to expand to?
  • What tools can you use to synchronize multi-channel selling?
  • How do sellers acquire new customers?
  • What can you do to boost search rankings on different marketplaces?
  • How should you structure your multi-channel fulfillment strategy?

Excited yet? Let’s jump into some data!

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Show me the money!

Let’s start off with the big $$$. We asked Amazon sellers how much they make on Amazon per year, and here’s what they said.

The majority of Amazon sellers make between $1 and $2 million per year, followed by $500K to $1 million. The smallest fraction makes more than $10 million per year.

Why are eCommerce sellers going multi-channel?

When asked what their biggest drivers were for going multi-channel, sellers had a range of responses, from too many marketplace restrictions to increased sales opportunity.

The top reason for expanding to a new marketplace was increased sales opportunity, with 41% of respondents listing that as their biggest decision driver. After that was diversifying and spreading out risk with 23% of respondents listing it as their top reason to expand.

*Note: Previously, we said 25% of respondents listed diversifying and spreading out risk as their top driver for going multi-channel. This has been corrected to 23%.

Tied for last place was too many marketplace restrictions and getting kicked off their first sales channel. But, we still had 10% of respondents who ranked it as their top reason, so it’s important to diversify! And to help you do that, we’re sharing the most popular channels to expand to and the multi-channel integration tools that sellers use below.

Where to expand to

We asked Amazon sellers what channel they would recommend single-marketplace sellers (Amazon) to expand to next. If you’re looking to expand, most Amazon sellers recommend eBay and Walmart to start with. Here’s the breakdown of the top 3 recommended marketplaces.

Other recommendations include Jet, Newegg, and Rakuten.

The multi-channel seller’s toolkit

Getting into the software and process optimization for multi-channel sellers, we got some great tips on what sellers use to organize their businesses. Learn what software to equip yourself with, based on 500+ real seller answers.

Note: Respondents were allowed to submit multiple tools as part of their stack.

And the winner is… GeekSeller, with 30% of sellers who took the survey using their software!

The top 3 multi-channel selling tools used by eCommerce sellers are GeekSeller, SellerActive, and ChannelAdvisor.

Other responses included Listing Mirror, Shopify, Teapplix, Cin7, and custom-built software.

Priorities for the next year

What are successful sellers prioritizing in the next year? This question revealed that the majority of sellers (30%) are looking to find more products to offer. (Luckily, our next question is all about product sourcing.)

In a close second (29%) is expanding to a new channel, then getting fast shipping tags (11%).

Other responses included hiring internally, increasing profitability, and improving process and software efficiency.

Product sourcing

Adding new SKUs to your catalog is vital for business growth, diversification, and increased sales. It’s no wonder most sellers prioritize finding new products to sell for next year. But how do you find items that people want to buy?

When asked how they find new products to source, roughly 50% of sellers answered a mix of their suppliers, an analysis of fast moving categories, and keyword research. Since sellers were able to select multiple answers for this question, it’s likely that many combine all three methods to find new products to source.

Some other answers include using Feedvisor and AMZScout, visiting tradeshows, and being the brand owners or manufacturers.

Customer acquisition for Shopify stores

Aside from adding new SKUs, there are other ways to acquire customers. We asked Shopify sellers about the best way to get new customers, and here’s what they said.

Note: This was one of the optional questions, so not all sellers submitted an answer.

Social media and Google ads came in a close first and second place, with 67% and 61% respondents respectively. Coming in third place is content marketing and SEO, with 55% respondents.

Other responses included personal connections and industry word of mouth.

Marketplace programs and fulfillment strategies

Moving on to marketplace specifics, let’s dive into Amazon, Walmart, eBay, and Shopify! We asked sellers what programs they use to boost search prominence, and how they fulfill orders. Here’s what they said.

Note: Sellers were able to select more than one option for how they fulfill.

What programs do sellers use?

Amazon: The majority of Amazon sellers use Amazon Prime (64%) and Sponsored Product Ads (62%) to promote their listings. This is followed by Headline Search Ads, with 44% of respondents using it.

Other answers include brand registry and seller emails.

Walmart: When it comes to Walmart, a large majority of sellers (68%) use Walmart’s fast shipping program to get listing visibility. After fast shipping tags comes Walmart Performance Ads with 52% of sellers using the program.

Want to get on Walmart’s fast shipping program and start using Walmart Performance Ads? Deliverr sellers get pre-approved access and are exempted from Walmart’s $1000 minimum ad spend.

eBay: For eBay, 66% of respondents use eBay’s fast shipping tags, 61% use Promoted Listings, and 38% use eBay Deals to boost their search rankings.

Other answers included eBay Collective, optimized content, volume discounts, and promotions.

How are sellers fulfilling orders?

Amazon: When it comes to fulfillment, most of our respondents said they use a mix of self-fulfillment and FBA. Other popular options were dropship and Deliverr.

A small portion of other respondents mentioned UPS eCommerce Fulfillment and other 3PLs.

Walmart: As popular as fast shipping tags are on Walmart, it’s a delicate dance to achieve on Walmart. We asked how sellers fulfill their Walmart orders, and the leaders were self-fulfilled (67%), Deliverr (51%), and dropshipping (37%).

eBay: Most eBay sellers self-fulfill (71%) and use Deliverr (45%) to get their orders out. Followed by dropshipping at 38%, with the remaining using other 3PLs, Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment, and Joelister.

Shopify: Shopify sellers sent in their answers to how they fulfill their orders. Like the other marketplaces, self-fulfilled takes the lead with 72% of sellers selecting this option. This is followed by Deliverr with 54% sellers using Deliverr’s fulfillment and 39% dropshipping. The overlap in numbers tells us that many Shopify sellers use a mix of multiple fulfillment options for their stores.


So what does this data tell us? Let’s circle back to the big questions we wanted to answer.

What are the drivers for going multi-channel?

Most sellers expand to another channel for increased sales opportunities and diversifying and spreading out risk.

Which channels should you look to expand to?

Most sellers say eBay and Walmart.

What tools can you use to synchronize multi-channel selling?

Most sellers go with GeekSeller, SellerActive, or ChannelAdvisor.

How do sellers acquire new customers?

Start investing in social media, Google ads, and content marketing.

What can you do to boost search rankings on different marketplaces?

Most sellers use marketplace tools like fast shipping tags and internal ads.

How should you structure your multi-channel fulfillment strategy?

eCommerce sellers use a mix of various fulfillment options, but the most popular combinations involve self-fulfillment, Deliverr, and dropshipping, with FBA for Amazon sellers.

We hope this data provides insight to all sellers on how to source products, tools and software, fulfillment methods, and more. By equipping yourselves with the knowledge and experience of your peers, you’ll be able to grow your businesses sustainably and strategically.

Finally, a big thank you to everyone who took our survey! We’ll see you again next year.

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