Shopify’s sales channels are a way to reach more customers by selling on other platforms, all while managing your products, sales and inventory in one place. Selling multichannel introduces new customers to your brand, meets customers on the platform that they already spend their time, strengthens the brand name and strengthens relationships with customers.
For example, if your target customer spends a lot of time on Instagram, selling your products directly on Instagram helps new customers find you, and allows them to conveniently shop from the app they’re already using.
With Shopify’s sales channels, you can quickly add your products to other sales channels, while products, orders, inventory and customer lists are all managed on Shopify. Any changes made to your products will automatically sync to the other sales channels. With some sales channels, you even have control to make adjustments such as add on a percentage margin to the product's cost, and round prices up or down to the cent value specified.
Sales channels represent the different platforms where you sell your products, and they’re divided into online marketplaces, social media and retail.
The most popular sales channels offered through Shopify are:
- Online Store: Your brand’s Shopify website
- Social media platforms: Sell on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok
- Shop app: A shopping marketplace of different brands
- Google & Youtube: Sell where people search
- Shopify Marketplace Connect: Sell on global marketplaces like Amazon, Walmart, eBay, and Etsy
- Handshake: Shopify's wholesale marketplace for retailers
- Shopify Collective: Connect with other Shopify stores and sell each other's products *brand new as of July 2023*
- Shopify POS: In-person retail sales
- Buy Button: Sell products on any website with a buy button
- B2B: A wholesale channel for Shopify Plus stores
In addition to these, there are several more sales channels that can be found in the App Store here.
Each of these channels has their own eligibility requirements. For example, Instagram requires a minimum number of followers (around 50 in my experience although there isn’t an official number published) and Pinterest requires accounts to be at least 3 months old. Other sales channels may not allow for selling digital products, for example. The availability of certain sales channels also varies based on your location and your Shopify plan.
By implementing a multichannel sales strategy, you don’t over rely on one platform to make sales. To decide which sales channels to use, you can consider:
- Where your target customer already is and spends their time
- Where your competitors are and are seeing success
- Which have the lowest time and financial cost to start
Now let’s go into more detail for the must-have sales channels for any brand:
The Shop app allows customers to browse products from any store on the app. They can adjust their preferences to see product recommendations according to their interests, “follow” their favorite stores so they always see product updates, and use the ShopPay super fast checkout which reduces abandoned carts. They can also see shipping updates from all their app purchases in one place, making it super convenient for shoppers.
On the store owner side, you’re able to personalize the look of your store. You can have a store image or video banner, your logo, and a description of your brand. Then you can customize the navigation to display different featured collections to organize products for shoppers. You can also do live selling events, display shoppable posts and showcase video reviews. Connect your product reviews app to show the average customer review rating too.
Facebook & Instagram
This app allows you to display and sell your products on Instagram and Facebook. If you’ve ever seen brands tag products in a post, and those products are actually shoppable from Instagram, that’s thanks to this app. It also gives your profile the "View shop" button underneath your bio.
Google & YouTube
This app allows you to list products in Google’s Merchant Center. This will allow your products to appear on Google searches under the “Shopping” section, as well as on YouTube. Product discoverability on Google Shopping is huge as it shows products from all different marketplaces, allowing shoppers to save time finding what they need, and again allowing them to shop where they already spend their time.
On the YouTube side, you can tag products in YouTube Shorts and videos to trigger a shopping button, do product drops during a live stream, and share promotions.
How to set up sales channels
Setting up sales channels only takes a few minutes to set up. To add a sales channel, start from the Shopify Admin sidebar and click Sales Channels > All recommended sales channels. Click “Add” on the sales channels you want, or browse all the sales channels here in the App Store.
When you add a sales channel, all of your products will automatically be available on that channel. If you want to change that, then you should go into the product editor and remove the sales channel that you don’t want the product to be available on. Go to product > Manage (beside Sales Channels) > Choose which sales channels it’s available on.
While products are instantly added, you still may need to take some additional steps to set up each channel. Log in to the appropriate accounts, personalize your profile on each platform, and review all the settings of the particular channel. Within the sales channel you can see a summary of the channel’s performance including sales and traffic.
Each channel has its own terms and conditions so you may notice that some of your products require additional information before being approved, so be sure to double check that your products have actually been published.
Shopify’s sales channels take the headache out of selling multichannel, since products, orders, inventory and customers are all synced immediately and in one centralized place. They allow you to reach millions of potential customers by meeting them where they’re already spending time, potentially saving you money on ads to drive traffic to your website.
I highly recommend returning to the top of this article to review the list of the most popular sales channels and think about which ones would be beneficial to your client's brand growth. Consider where their target audience is spending their time, and set up those sales channels.
Once you add multiple sales channels and begin to scale, you may need to make adjustments to keep up with inventory, add systems to maintain the quality of customer service across channels, and create different marketing strategies for different platforms.