ChannelAdvisor review. Online sellers typically start off relatively small and grow their businesses over time, expanding to multiple sales channels. With growth comes complexity. Any juggler will tell you, the more balls you’re trying to keep in the air, the more difficult the task becomes and the less time any one ball spends in your hands. The question for entrepreneurs becomes how to scale their business to achieve the greatest possible sales success without sacrificing quality or simply becoming overwhelmed. In this ChannelAdvisor review, I hope to give you the answer.
ChannelAdvisor handles the mechanics and the details of selling through multiple channels, from listing and optimizing a large number of products, to syncing inventory and customer orders, to drop shipping and using Google analytics to increase sales. For example, every channel has its own listing requirements, and ChannelAdvisor will reformat your product data to comply with them. ChannelAdvisor also provides comprehensive support for drop shipping on multiple channels, ensuring the swift and accurate transmission of customer orders to vendors for fulfillment by customizing data integrations to comply with the specific requirements for each marketplace. Channel Advisor currently supports sellers doing business on more than 100 channels worldwide.
Product Content Optimization
Understand that there is a direct relationship between the way you structure your product content and a product’s standing in search results, which is a key determinant of how well it will sell. ChannelAdvisor’s Product Content Optimization ensures that your product data feeds meet the ever-changing specifications of each channel so that your products make it into search engine results where customers can find them.
Every seller wants their products to make it into the Buy Box or other top position, which requires continual price monitoring and adjustment. If your product can beat out millions of others to gain one of those coveted spots, your revenues will naturally soar. ChannelAdvisor’s Algorithmic Repricers monitor competitive pricing and make automatic adjustments within the maximums and minimums you establish for each item. There is a different repricer for each channel that takes into account the parameters for a product to make it into a top spot.
Support for Social Commerce
More and more online advertising is being done through social media platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Yelp, where consumers are exposed to products and becoming inspired to buy. ChannelAdvisor’s Social Commerce Suite offers options for making your products more visible and encouraging sales. Specifically, it provides a single centralized platform for building an advertising campaign and facilitates cross-channel data analysis to optimize social advertising.
ChannelAdvisor’s Digital Marketing Client Strategy Managers analyze a seller’s performance metrics, like its Google Shopping history, to help you devise ads that gain clicks and a high conversion rate. The cloud-based ChannelAdvisor platform gives you powerful tools for creating Facebook Dynamic Ads and Facebook Carousel Ads and managing them from within ChannelAdvisor along with your ads for other channels.
Advertising on Amazon
ChannelAdvisor’s client strategy managers offer comprehensive support for first-party advertising on Amazon, from selecting the best keywords and strategically bidding on them, to managing your advertising budget, and producing performance reports based on data analytics. In fact, there is a cadre of Amazon experts dedicated solely to Amazon marketing and advertising, which can result in considerable cost savings in terms of a seller’s ad spend.
Support for Google Shopping
Getting your product to a top spot on Google Shopping is not easy, but Channel Advisor’s comprehensive Google campaign management can get it there through optimization of your product content, structuring your campaign, automating the keyword bidding process, and competitive benchmarking.
Paid Search Campaign Management
Paid search is a complicated and challenging proposition, especially for larger sellers with perhaps thousands of products, each with its own keywords. ChannelAdvisor provides all the features needed to manage search engine pay-per-click advertising campaigns, like those for Google AdWords, across multiple search engines. It optimizes and automates key functions, like bidding on keywords and tracking performance, far more effective than sellers can do on their own.
Online Advertising for Brick and Mortar Sales
It’s well-known that consumers are more likely to buy from online sellers that also have a physical presence in their community. Very often, people who prefer buying in person do their pre-purchase research and price comparison online. Channel Advisor’s Product Content Optimization can keep track of in-store inventory as well as e-commerce inventory, enabling shoppers to check price and availability before buying in-store.
ChannelAdvisor can benchmark a seller’s performance against nearly 3,000 competing retailers and brands on Walmart, Jet, Amazon, eBay, and Google Shopping in terms of relative strengths, weaknesses, and growth opportunities. Customizable dashboards allow you to check at a glance where you stand and give you invaluable information for decision-making. Specific benchmarking capabilities are Marketplaces Benchmarking, which enables sellers to compare their sales growth against that of competitors, and Digital Marketing Benchmarking, which facilitates evaluation of a seller’s performance on Google Shopping relative to the competition.
Cross-Border Trade (CBT), the buying and selling of goods and services across international borders, opens up new markets and immeasurable opportunities for online retailers. It also adds even greater complexity to inventory management and order fulfillment due to language differences, taxation issues, currency exchange rates, and international shipping. Channel Advisor’s Agile CBT framework and experts in international e-commerce helps sellers with all of those, making it feasible for sellers to expand into doing business across national borders.
Managed Services Teams
Many online retailers, especially small ones, lack the in-house resources to take full advantage of the opportunities available to them. ChannelAdvisor’s teams of experts are available to fill that gap and help retailers of all sizes expand their businesses and become ever more successful. Marketplace Client Strategy Managers provide guidance, software, performance analysis, technical assistance, and other services to support selling on Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Jet, and dozens of other e-commerce channels.
Digital Marketing Client Strategy Managers support a wide range of digital marketing efforts for sellers advertising through social media, paid search, Google Shopping, and Amazon Marketing Services, with the goal of optimizing search engine results and increasing conversions.
ChannelAdvisor’s Professional Services team, as the name suggests, includes experts in the use of Channel Advisor who provide configuration and technical assistance and training, SEO services, listing error resolution, and much more.
Sellers looking to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their existing online sales efforts have access to experts who can help them implement and get the most out of ChannelAdvisor from both a technical and an e-commerce perspective.
Founded in 2001, ChannelAdvisor has a longer track record than its competitors and arguably offers more features and services, but many smaller retailers find it to be too expensive. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the average annual cost is somewhere in the vicinity of $33,000-$37,000. (Pricing information is proprietary and not published on the ChannelAdvisor website, but is based on a fixed monthly rate plus a percentage of revenue, and some additional fees apply.) Some competitors offer nearly as much support for companies involved in e-commerce and may be more affordable for smaller multi-channel sellers.
The number of companies providing e-commerce solutions continues to grow. ChannelAdvisor’s competitors (listed alphabetically) include:
- Monsoon Commerce
- UniteU Commerce
- VL Omni
Not all of these competitors offer all of the same solutions as ChannelAdvisor, but some rival ChannelAdvisor’s range of services, and others provide e-commerce support to fit more modest budgets.
ChannelAdvisor review | Strengths and Weaknesses
An examination of validated reviews from ChannelAdvisor users reveals these commonly cited strengths and weaknesses:
|The Upside||The Downside|
ChannelAdvisor describes itself as being all about creating connections to customers, enabling sellers to reach them on the e-commerce channels where they are most likely to be found. If your goal is to put the customer at the center of all of your online activities, ChannelAdvisor might just be the cloud-based solution you’re seeking.
Thank you for reading this ChannelAdvisor review! 😎