Channel management software options for your online business

Channel management software options for your online business

A special kind of service provider is designed specifically for businesses that maintain multiple sales channels — online, brick-and-mortar markets, flea markets, arts and crafts shows — to help maintain their highly differentiated store inventories.
For example, Brad Owens sells T-shirts and other merchandise at the Rock Shop Music and Comics store on the Mall of Georgia in Buford, Georgia. When a T-shirt is sold from this site, it must be removed from Owens’ online store inventory or from their eBay, Amazon or BigCommerce inventory.

Owens, who has been selling online for several years, doesn’t have the same range of goods in his stores. He needed an automated solution to adjust the inventory.
“We had to have a solution that not only worked with Amazon, eBay, and our BigCommerce store, but could also manage our inventory of volume differences between the three,” he says. “Instead of manually going into each channel and adjusting our inventory when an item is sold, it does it automatically. We can also manage orders through a single interface. It’s very easy to add items to a different channel.”
Owens talks about ChannelGrabber, a UK-based service provider that specializes in managing multiple sales channels for businesses. ChannelGrabber’s interface presents a business with all its stores and products in a single spreadsheet-type grid: stores are arranged in columns and products in rows. A seller who runs multiple online stores can keep track of all of this by looking at a single screen.
You pay a monthly fee to have these services handle your business. This is in addition to your internet access fee, your store hosting fee, and other fees. For example, ChannelGrabber costs £60 per month for the less expensive Standard package, which allows businesses to sell up to 5,000 products per month. Here are some other channel management offerings you might consider:
1. ChannelAdvisor helps businesses manage their inventory over the years. The price you pay for this service provider depends on the features you want, so email them to get a quote.
2. Volusion is a store, cart, and payment service provider as well as a resource for managing more than one store. You get a website, mobile store, and Facebook store, plus 10 percent off any additional stores you open. Plans range from $15 to $195 per month.
3. Monsoon Pro, part of Monsoon Commerce, allows businesses to list products in multiple storefronts and keep track of inventory. Fees vary depending on the number of products sold, but they start at around $500 per month.
4. Stone Edge is not a channel management service per se, but a specialized backend software provider, which is also part of Monsoon Commerce. Stone Edge enables companies with a multi-presence to manage their fulfillment needs. The price is different from other services; You purchased a license for multiple workstations. Plans start at $4,000 per year for up to five workstations.
Each of these services is definitely an investment. But if your business is your livelihood and you are not able to keep a large number of employees or an IT department, a management package might make sense.
Make sure you get a return on investment (ROI) before investing in a channel management solution.