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May 11, 2021

What is Cross-Store Selling?

I’m sure you’ll have seen half a hundred articles floating around the internet in recent years promoting the ‘next big thing’ in online sales, all jammed full of jargon but with no real, concrete advice for getting started with them. This must be the same, right? Wrong. Enter cross-store selling, the no-nonsense solution recognised by businesses all over Shopify as the best way to boost their business like never before

What is cross-store selling?

Everyone has heard of cross-selling, the process of selling a different product or service to a customer in order to increase the value of the sale. Cross-store selling takes that concept to an entirely new level.

Cross-store selling is a collaborative marketing and sales strategy where DTC brands partner up to sell their products without a formal wholesaling relationship.

The brands can avoid these commitments thanks to the cross-store sales platform which does all the legwork of syncing sales transactions, inventory management and fulfillment between the brands in real-time. The brands can get on with the business of selling together minus all the work and risk.  

You might be thinking that it sounds a lot like wholesaling or dropshipping, but there are a few key differences that give cross-store selling the edge.

Firstly, with wholesaling, you lose all control over your products, passing off your inventory to a disinterested third-party retailer and surrendering all control over the sales process. There’s no guarantee that they’ll sell your product the way you want and you’ll have no say in the marketing process.

Likewise, with dropshipping, you also have very little control – you have no input about product quality control, and if your supplier runs out of stock, that’s it – you can’t get any more product, putting you at risk of losing your hard-earned clients.

With both, the relationship between you and your supplier or retailer remains purely transactional and, with small profit margins and high risk, they can do more harm than good for your business. 

With cross-store selling, by contrast, you’re able to take full advantage of each sale as a growth opportunity by leveraging the storefront of your partner. This will expose your product to a new audience and expand your customer base in a way that other marketing and sales channels could never provide.

What’s more, with your ability to pick and choose your potential partners you can ensure that your products are being marketed and sold the right way, and thanks to the transparent, non-contractual nature of the sales platform you can add and remove your products at will with zero hassle. Cross-store selling keeps you in the driving seat while doing all the hard work for you. 

How does it work?

With cross-store selling, the collaborating brands are able to mutually grow their businesses and sell more by leveraging the other’s traffic, storefront and audience by directly selling their products on other storefronts. Here’s how it works:

  • Like-minded brands with complementary products enter into a partnership to sell each other’s goods on each other’s storefronts. These brand partners market and sell each other’s products in amongst their own collections, driving mutual sales. 
  • In this way, one of the brands acts as the supplier, providing the product and taking responsibility for fulfilment. The other acts as the retailer, marketing and promoting the product, and selling it on their site. 
  • Customer data and profits are shared between the collaborating brands so that everyone benefits.

How can cross-store selling help your business?

Increase sales at no extra cost 

By partnering with a similar brand and leveraging their storefront to sell your own products, you’ll massively reduce your customer acquisition costs while making use of an entirely new marketing channel. 

I’ll explain a little bit more. As an e-commerce brand, you’ll naturally have your own marketing channels to bring potential customers to your site such as paid ads or email marketing.

You pay for these all yourself out of the profits they provide, which usually comes to at least 20% of what you earn.

By using cross-store selling, however, you’re profiting from the marketing channels of your partner at zero cost because they’re covering the costs of attracting customers to their store where they’re selling your products for you. 

Therefore, with cross-store selling, you’ll not only take advantage of your existing paid marketing channels but you’ll sell more of your products for pure profit through your partner’s store, bringing down your customer acquisition costs and expanding your client base for free.

Gain new sales channels through other brands

More than just a way of boosting your sales at no cost, however, cross-store selling promotes business growth at a much more fundamental level by growing your customer base.

Gaining new customer leads is an essential task for any successful business, and by leveraging the audience of your partner you’ll gain access to an entirely new community to fill your sales funnel. 

As with the way it increases your sales, cross-store selling lets you access this new audience at no cost by taking advantage of the marketing techniques that your partner uses to draw in new customers. They will not only be exposed to your products on your partner’s storefront and make purchases there, but they will also want to check out more of what your brand offers, leading them to your own website.

In this way, the cross-store sale will give a previously disconnected customer a chance to experience your brand and become a fan. 

Furthermore, since both profits and customer information are shared between both partners when a sale is made, you’ll be able to make use of the customer information and insights collected from their storefront in your own CRM and marketing techniques.

Take advantage of this with your targeted marketing channels to convert them into repeat customers without having to pay a single penny on acquisition costs, essentially turning your partner stores into free marketing channels.

Grow your business at less risk 

Every business needs to grow and change, or face stagnation. However, throwing large amounts of your hard-earned profits at these endeavours involves a great many risks, with no guarantee of success. The solution? Make use of the cross-store sales platform to test out ideas without the costs or risks! 

For retailers: 

As an e-commerce business, the pressure is always on to bring in new products and collections to keep your customers engaged and coming back for more.

Expanding your product catalogue can cost a fortune, though, especially if your customers don’t engage with what you create. Cross-store selling provides the way around this risk!

By partnering with a business that sells similar products to the one you’re thinking of implementing and including them in your online shop, the cross-store sales platform allows you to test out how your customers engage with the new product in a risk and cost-free way. I

f it draws their attention, you’ll know you’re on the right track and can set about creating your own! 

For suppliers:

The other consideration all brands have to keep in mind is the need to branch out and reach new customers. However, what if you throw a lot of money at targeted advertising campaigns for a new demographic only for them to not engage with your product? You risk wasting all this money while losing your core demographic at the same time. 

Cross-store selling can get you around this dilemma with ease. Partner up with a brand that already targets the demographic you’re considering and implement your products within their existing collections to see if you’ll succeed in this new market.

You’ll get the data you need without wasting money or risking your existing customer base, and can then draw your new fans back to your own online store. Risk-free business growth!

What’s great about the cross-store sales platform is that brands don’t have to fit into one category or the other – they can simultaneously act as retailer and supplier within their partnerships and make the most of the new customers and information they receive to exponentially grow their business. 

Increase brand visibility

Without visibility, you’ll have no customers. It’s the key for making any business grow, and cross-store selling can help give your business the exposure it needs to keep on thriving. 

By partnering with other brands and selling on their storefronts, you’ll spread the word about your products and get your company name out there into view of your potential customers.

You’ll grow your business’ name recognition among your partner’s customers until it immediately comes to mind when they want to make a purchase; they’ll search through their site for your products, or go directly to your website.  

Offer a whole new omni-channel shopping experience

More and more, customers are expecting to be able to save time and effort by getting all their shopping done in one place. We’ve seen it over the course of the pandemic with companies such as Amazon reaping massive rewards by being able to provide everything the customer needs all in one place.

This is called omnichannel retail, a customer-oriented strategy involving bringing your product to your customer and selling to them wherever they are. With cross-store selling, you’re able to take advantage of this. 

The sales platform allows you to make the most of omni-channel retail by making your products available in the stores where your customers already do their shopping, saving them the hassle of navigating multiple sites and streamlining their experience.

In effect, you position your products at every stage along the customer’s journey, increasing your exposure much more than if they could only reach you through your website.

By partnering with brands selling products complementary to your own stock, a customer doesn’t need to go hunting around for anything else they might need to complete their purchase.

Collaborating with a brand specialising in shoes would be an excellent option for a clothing business, for example, because the customer is able to buy a complete outfit all in one place.

By saving them time and effort, they’re more likely to come back to you for making their lives easier, turning them into a repeat customer and elevating their entire shopping experience.  

What are the differences between cross-selling and up-selling? 

In many ways, as I said earlier, cross-store selling is much like an elevated version of cross-selling or up-selling. Let me explain how. First of all, what are cross-selling and up-selling? As you may know, cross-selling involves inviting the customer to buy other products that complement their purchase.

By comparison, up-selling involves getting the customer to buy a higher-priced version of the product that they’re already considering. 

Cross-store selling, then, takes the idea of cross-selling and transforms it; no longer is the customer encouraged to add to their purchase with items from only the same brand – now, they are able to browse other partner brands, products and collections all from within the same storefront, saving them time and effort and levelling up their simple purchase into a complete omni-channel shopping experience. 

Likewise, seeing your products within the storefront of your partner will generate interest within their customer base, encouraging them to explore more of your collections and buy from your stock.

In this way, cross-store selling not only acts as a form of up-selling as your new clients test out more of your products, but you’ll save time and money by acquiring these new leads at no cost. 

Get started with cross-selling now!

As a concept, cross-store selling is very new but spreading fast. More and more businesses are taking advantage of the increased visibility and sales that the platform provides, and we firmly believe that this new form of cooperative e-commerce is the future for all online stores.

All trends are pointing towards the growth of a marketplace-based online store experience making use of diversified sales channels, and the cross-store sales platform could be your ticket there. Don’t miss out!

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