Top eCommerce Channels for Retailers [5 Industries Overview]

  • 13 min read

Choosing the right eCommerce channels is crucial for retailers to thrive in the increasingly competitive eCommerce market. With numerous platforms available, it can be challenging for retailers to determine the most effective ones for their specific product categories. 

That is why we have compiled this comprehensive guide to help you identify the top platforms tailored to your unique needs. Whether you specialize in fashion, electronics, home decor, or any other retail segment, our guide will provide you with valuable insights into the most suitable channels to showcase your products.

Note: The rankings in this article are based on industry research done for the Multichannel Marketing Report 2023, ensuring that you receive the most up-to-date and accurate information to make informed decisions about your multi channel eCommerce strategy.

What are eCommerce channels?

ECommerce channels refer to the various online platforms through which retailers can sell their products and services. These channels provide a digital storefront for businesses, allowing them to reach a wider audience and sell their products online. 

E-Commerce channels can include:

  • online store’s website
  • social media platforms
  • online marketplaces
  • search engines
  • comparison search engines
  • affiliate networks
  • mobile apps
  • and more!

By leveraging these channels, retailers can tap into the growing online consumer market and expand their reach. Read more about each of these in: How to choose the best channel for your eCommerce business?

The growth of eCommerce has been remarkable in recent years. According to various sources, global e-commerce sales are expected to reach $8.1 trillion by 2026, with an estimated growth of almost 30% over the next 3 years. In the US, e-commerce sales have been steadily increasing and it is predicted that by 2027, it will exceed $1.720 trillion and account for more than 20% of total retail sales.

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Top 3 channels chosen by online retailers

Online retailers have a variety of sales channels to choose from when selling their products. According to the Multichannel Marketing Report, some of the most popular and commonly chosen channels by online retailers include: Google Shopping, Facebook, and Custom Channels. As of 2023, these 3 platforms are the top marketing channels in all eCommerce categories. 

Although TikTok is not the leading platform, it has gained popularity in certain areas. Advertisers have focused more on TikTok for product categories like Health & Beauty and Apparel & Accessories.

Google Shopping

Google Shopping is a search engine and the most popular sales channel that allows retailers to showcase their products directly within Google's search results. 

With Google Shopping, retailers can create product listings that include images, descriptions, prices, and other relevant details. When users search for products on Google, they are presented with these product listings, making it easier for potential customers to discover and purchase items. 

google_shopping_icon

Facebook

As one of the largest social media platforms with 2.989 billion monthly active users, Facebook offers a robust sales channel for retailers. Through Facebook's advertising tools, retailers can create targeted ads and engage with their audience directly. 

With features like dynamic product ads, retailers can showcase their products to specific customer segments based on interests, demographics, and online behavior. Additionally, Facebook's Marketplace allows retailers to list and sell products directly within the platform.

facebook_multichannel

Custom Channels

Custom channels refer to sales channels that are tailored specifically to a retailer's unique needs and preferences. These channels can include a retailer's own website or mobile app, specialized eCommerce platforms, or niche marketplaces. Custom channels offer retailers greater control and flexibility over their branding, customer experience, and sales process. They often require the creation of a customized product feed.

custom_channels_multichannel

Creating custom feeds | DataFeedWatch

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Multichannel strategy: advertise on all most popular channels for your product category

A multichannel strategy is a powerful approach to maximize your product's visibility and reach in the ECommerce market. By advertising on all the most popular channels for your specific product category, you can effectively target a diverse range of potential customers and increase your chances of generating sales. 

Whether it's using social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok to engage with a wide audience or leveraging marketplace giants like Amazon and eBay to tap into their massive customer base, each channel presents unique opportunities to showcase your products and connect with consumers. 

With the ever-growing number of online channels available, a well-planned multichannel strategy is an essential tool for retailers looking to stay competitive and maximize their product's exposure.

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Multi channel integration with feed management solution

Using a multichannel eCommerce software for your multi channel strategy is a game-changer if you want to streamline your operations across various sales channels. 

  • One centralized platform to manage feeds for multiple channels

Each channel has its own unique requirements and specifications when it comes to product feeds, making it challenging for retailers to manage and optimize their listings efficiently. However, with a feed management solution, retailers can now consolidate all their feeds for different channels into one centralized multichannel platform. 

  • Preventing data errors

This centralized management platform not only saves time and effort, but also ensures that the data sent to each platform is error-free and up-to-date. This prevents potential rejections of your products.

  • Easy product data optimization

By utilizing a feed management solution, you can easily tailor your product information according to the specific requirements of each channel, allowing you to present your  products in the best possible light. 

From optimizing titles and descriptions to managing inventory and pricing, this tool simplifies the process of multi-channel integration, empowering you to deliver consistent and accurate information to your customers across all platforms.

Read how to choose the best multichannel tool for your business.

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Top channels for Apparel & Accessories 

The Apparel & Accessories sector encompasses a wide range of fashion-related items, including clothing, footwear, jewelry, bags, and accessories. This sector is highly competitive, dynamic, and influenced by ever-changing trends and consumer preferences.

Within the Apparel & Accessories sector, retailers focus on providing stylish and quality products that cater to different demographics, styles, and occasions. They offer diverse collections for men, women, and children, spanning casual wear, formal attire, athleisure, and more. In addition, fashion items come in different sizes and colors.

Read about the most important feed attributes for fashion sellers.

To effectively sell Apparel & Accessories, retailers leverage various sales channels tailored to their target audience. These channels need to focus on the visual side of items and they need to provide retailers with the possibility to present their products in a very attractive way and from many different angles.

The top eCommerce channels in the Apparel & Accessories sector include:

apparel_channels

Source: Multichannel Marketing Report 2023

1. Facebook

Facebook is a number 1 channel used by fashion retailers. In this sector it’s highly important to present products in a visually appealing way and Facebook has the tools to do that.

Facebook allows you to create visually appealing ads featuring your latest collections, unique designs, and special offers. These ads can be tailored to different audience segments. Through targeted advertising, you can reach users who are more likely to be interested in Apparel & Accessories products based on their interests, behaviors, and preferences. 

Using eye-catching images and compelling ad copy, you can capture the attention of Facebook users and entice them to explore your product offerings. Typically, fashion ads on Facebook gain interest from people looking for inspiration, not specific products.

2. Google Shopping

In 2023, Google is experiencing a rise in popularity among fashion retailers. Despite the fact that it’s on the second position behind Facebook, its share among all used advertising channels has increased from 41.38% in 2022 to 47.5% in 2023

Google Shopping is a channel dedicated to shoppers who are looking for more specific products and use keywords like "red long dress" or "Nike Air Force shoes" to find them. Google comes up with a range of products for consumers to compare before making a purchase. By adding many different images to your feed, you can present your products from many different angels and convince shoppers to buy them.

Google has also recently presented a groundbreaking AI shopping feature called virtual try-on for apparel. This innovative tool harnesses the power to display clothes on a diverse range of real models, addressing the common problem faced by online shoppers who struggle to visualize how clothes and accessories will look on them before making a purchase. 

By enabling users to tap on products with the "Try On" badge on Google Search and select a model that resonates with them, this technology provides a more immersive and personalized shopping experience.

Source: Google

3. Custom channels

Custom channels, which typically include niche and local platforms, have seen a decline of 4 percentage points compared to 2022. This suggests that currently, apparel retailers are more inclined to invest in established sales platforms that have proven success.

Yet, custom channels are ranked on the podium of the top channels used by fashion retailers. This means that there are many platforms that are less well-known but worth exploring in the Apparel industry.

Other important channels: Pinterest, Microsoft Ads, TikTok

TikTok has a large and highly engaged user base, primarily consisting of younger demographics. This makes it an excellent platform to promote trendy Apparel & Accessories products that resonate with this audience.

The data shows the Fashion industry has taken notice of TikTok's increasing popularity and emergence as a significant advertising platform. Over the course of the last year, advertisers have doubled their use of TikTok in their advertising strategies.

tiktok_apparel

Source: Multichannel Marketing Report 2023

Pinterest is a platform built on visual discovery, making it an ideal channel to showcase Apparel & Accessories products with appealing images. Additionally it has integrated shopping features that enable businesses to tag their products directly in pins.

Microsoft Ads are usually used by more mature audiences - different from Google's - who also like to buy their clothes online.

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Top channels for Electronics

The Electronics sector includes a wide range of products, including smartphones, laptops, televisions, gaming consoles, and more. This highly competitive industry is driven by constant technological advancements and consumer demand for innovative and high-quality electronic devices.

One of the key aspects of the Electronics sector is the importance of staying up to date with the latest trends and developments. Consumers are always seeking cutting-edge technology and features, making it crucial for businesses in this sector to continuously innovate and offer products that meet evolving needs.

In terms of sales and advertising channels, the Electronics sector benefits from a variety of platforms that cater to different stages of the customer journey. Here are the top 10 sCommerce channels for the Electronics sector:

electronics_channels

Source: Multichannel Marketing Report 2023

1.  Google Shopping

Google Shopping has emerged as a top channel for retailers selling electronics. With its vast reach and user-friendly interface, Google Shopping provides a valuable platform for you to showcase your electronic products. The specificity of product searches on Google makes Google Shopping particularly effective in the electronics sector.

When it comes to purchasing electronics, consumers often have specific requirements and preferences. They search for particular models, specifications, features, and prices. Google Shopping caters to these specific needs by allowing retailers to create product listings that include detailed information such as product images, descriptions, prices, and reviews. This level of specificity helps customers find exactly the products they're looking for, driving qualified traffic and increasing the chances of conversion for retailers.

2. Custom channels

In the Electronics industry, there was a promising increase in using custom channels, going from a 25% to 29% share between 2022 and 2023. This shows that the sector is open to trying new and more personalized ways of reaching its target customers.

3. Facebook

Facebook is also a popular channel for retailers selling electronics to advertise their products and connect with potential customers. The platform offers various features that make it an attractive choice for retailers in the electronics sector. 

Some reasons why you should consider Facebook to advertise electronics include: wide audience reach with 2.064 billion users logging in to Facebook every day, targeted advertising options based on demographics, interests, and behaviors, retargeting opportunities to show ads to users who have shown interest, social proof and customer reviews on Facebook Pages and more.

Other important channels: Amazon, Google Search Ads, eBay

Marketplaces are a great place to advertise electronics products - they have a vast customer base, providing a wide reach for your electronics products. That’s why many advertisers decide to promote their products on Amazon or eBay

Moreover, marketplaces have established trust and credibility among consumers, making potential customers more likely to consider purchasing electronics from them. They offer features that allow users to compare products, enabling you to showcase the unique features and advantages of your electronics. 

Electronics are also a type of product where images are not the most important thing - therefore Google Search ads acts as a great channel to promote a product with a focus on its specifications.

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Top channels for Furniture

The furniture sector is a diverse and thriving industry that encompasses various product types, ranging from sofas and tables to beds and cabinets, catering to different purposes, styles, and spaces. Whether customers prefer traditional or modern designs, they can discover furniture pieces that align with their personal preferences and interior decor. 

Moreover, furniture comes in various materials such as wood, metal, leather, fabric, and more, each offering unique characteristics, durability, and aesthetic appeal. This allows customers to choose based on their specific preferences and budget. 

Additionally, many furniture retailers provide customization options, enabling customers to personalize their furniture pieces. This includes selecting dimensions, finishes, upholstery, and other custom details to meet individual needs and style preferences.

The Furniture industry has seen competition between three channels (Google, Facebook, custom channels), with their popularity changing over time. 

furniture_channels

Source: Multichannel Marketing Report 2023

1. Google Shopping

Google Shopping gained an advantage and became the top choice for advertisers in this sector. In the second quarter of 2023, it had a 38.58% share of all advertising channels compared to 30.46% in 2022. 

The convenience and accessibility of Google make it an ideal tool for furniture shoppers. With just a few clicks, users can access a vast array of options and information about furniture products. Google's search engine allows shoppers to explore different brands, styles, and pricing options.

It's worth noting that Google appears in the top 10 rankings for the furniture sector 3 times - covering different types of campaigns: Shopping, Search and Local inventory ads.

2. Facebook

Facebook is the number 2 online channel for retailers in the Furniture sector as of 2023. It’s a visually-driven industry, and Facebook's emphasis on images and videos makes it the perfect platform to showcase furniture products. Retailers can display high-quality visuals of their furniture pieces. Also, it offers a variety of content formats, including carousel ads, collection ads, and video ads, allowing potential customers to envision how the items would look in their own homes.

Facebook's advanced targeting options enable you to target users who are more likely to be interested in furniture, such as homeowners or those who have recently moved.

3. Custom channels

Custom channels are the third most popular channel type in the Furniture product category. There are many niche furniture stores and retailers need to prepare customized product feeds to advertise on these platforms.

Other important channels: Pinterest, Microsoft Ads, PriceRunner

Other relevant channels for the furniture sector are Pinterest, which is also a platform that focuses on the visual side of products, and PriceRunner, which makes it possible to compare prices on furniture. Microsoft Ads is also used by furniture retailers, probably to connect with older audiences that use the Bing search engine.

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Top channels for Health & Beauty

The Health & Beauty sector encompasses a range of products and services that focus on improving personal well-being and enhancing physical appearance. This sector includes skincare products, cosmetics, hair care products, fragrances, vitamins and supplements, fitness equipment, and wellness services.

As people become more conscious about their health and appearance, the demand for high-quality and effective products in this industry has skyrocketed. With advancements in technology and increasing awareness about sustainable and natural ingredients, consumers are now seeking products that align with their values and provide visible results.

In terms of sales and advertising channels, advertisers in the Health & Beauty sector are shifting towards popular channels to increase their visibility. Here are some of the top channels that have proven to be effective for reaching target audiences:

health_beauty_channels

Source: Multichannel Marketing Report 2023

1. Google Shopping

Between 2022 and 2023, the usage of Google Shopping rose by over 11 percentage points, going from 42.12% to 53.36%. That's a big growth, indicating that this channel works well for retailers selling this type of products.

Once consumers get to know certain Health & Beauty products, they tend to buy them regularly, and the Google Shopping channel is a perfect place to find specific products from a specific brand.

Shoppers can also compare different products, look at product ratings or read product reviews - all by simply looking at ads on Google.

AR technologies for beauty products, besides enhancing the overall online shopping experience, have the potential to speed up the decision-making process when shopping for beauty items online. Sometimes it can be challenging to make choices without trying products on or seeing them up close. 

Through partnerships with ModiFace and Perfect Corp, Google enables users to visualize a vast range of cosmetics such as lipstick and eyeshadow shades from popular brands like L’Oreal, or MAC Cosmetics. Users can see how these beauty products look on different skin tones, compare shades and textures, and find the perfect match through virtual try-ons within the Google app. Moreover, Google Shopping and the Discover feed provide recommendations from beauty experts and enthusiasts, offering insights into their favorite products and usage tips. 

E814_AR_Beauty_Gifs_Eyes_v03

Source: Google

2. Facebook

Similarly, Facebook's popularity increased by almost 4 percentage points, climbing from 14.62% to 18.29%. It's another example of a channel that is effective at promoting Health & Beauty products. But this one is more aimed at new buyers looking for new, effective products to improve their health and appearance.

Facebook's advanced targeting options allow you to reach users who are specifically interested in health and beauty products, for example customers who have shown an interest in skincare, cosmetics, and wellness.

3. Custom channels

On the other hand, there was a decrease of nearly 10 percentage points in the usage of custom channels during the same time frame (from 20.19% to 10.98%). This indicates that custom channels may not be the optimal choice for the Health & Beauty industry.

Other important channels: Microsoft Ads, Pinterest, TikTok

TikTok is rapidly gaining popularity as a preferred channel for the Health & Beauty industry. From the start of 2022 to Q2 2023, its usage among merchants in this sector increased significantly by five times.

tiktok_health_beauty

Source: Multichannel Marketing Report 2023

Other channels often chosen by online retailers in this industry are Microsoft Ads (mostly used by older consumers) and Pinterest - a channel that inspires people to buy new and interesting products.

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Top channels for Home & Garden

The Home & Garden industry includes a diverse selection of products and services that are all about improving homes, designing interiors, enjoying outdoor spaces, gardening, and more. 

This sector appeals to individuals who want to elevate their living environments and establish a cozy and visually appealing atmosphere. Now, let's explore the particular aspects of the Home & Garden sector in detail:

home_garden_channels

Source: Multichannel Marketing Report 2023

1. Google Shopping 

Advertisers in the Home & Garden industry have found great success in leveraging Google Shopping as their go-to platform for engaging with consumers. This channel has proven to be the top channel for most product categories. 

Google Search Engine allows you to easily find very specific products from cookware to garden plants.

2. Custom channels

Statistics show that custom channels have also proven effective in reaching consumers in the Home & Garden sector.

That means that local and niche channels,or channels like distribution partners and personalized recommendation engines can sometimes be more useful in this industry than well established platforms.

3. Facebook

Facebook is the third most popular channel used by retailers in the Home & Garden industry. Again - great targeting capabilities can be highly effective in showing your ads to the right people at the right time.

Other important channels: Pinterest, Amazon, Google Search Ads

Pinterest, Amazon, and Google Search Ads are other relevant channels for promoting Home & Garden products online due to many reasons.

Home & Garden products rely on visual aesthetics and Pinterest is a visual discovery and bookmarking platform that allows users to discover and save ideas for various interests, including home decor, gardening, and DIY projects. Users often turn to Pinterest for inspiration when designing their homes or planning gardening projects. 

Amazon's search algorithm and product recommendation system ensure that relevant Home & Garden products are shown to users who are actively searching or browsing similar items. Additionally, Amazon's review system plays a crucial role in consumers' purchase decisions.

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How many channels should you use?

How many channels you should include in your multichannel strategy often depends on the size of your business and the budget you have at your disposal. There is a correlation between the size of an advertiser's product offering and the number of channels in which it sells those products.

number_of_channels_multichannel

Source: Multichannel Marketing Report 2023

In general, big companies and agencies, who sell more than 50k products, are using fewer advertising channels in 2023 than they did in 2022. On average, they have reduced their usage by 1.5 channels, likely due to the cost-conscious policies they have to follow.

Mid-sized stores and agencies have used the same number of channels for their advertising over the past year, with only slight changes.

Depending on what resources you have, you should decide whether to increase the number of channels or reduce them, so as not to burn through your budget too quickly without seeing many results from advertising.

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Conclusion

There’re lots of opportunities for retailers to thrive and expand their businesses. By leveraging the multichannel strategy that consists of the right channels, retailers can reach a wider audience and increase their sales..

Throughout this article, we have explored the top eCommerce channels for retailers, categorized by 5 product segments. Google Shopping, Facebook and custom channels are common for each category but they also have their own set of channels that cater specifically to its target audience.

It is important for retailers to carefully consider their target market, product offering, and business goals when selecting the most suitable channels. Experimentation and adaptation are key in the ever-evolving eCommerce landscape.

We encourage you to share your thoughts and experiences with eCommerce channels in the comments section below. Let us know which channels have worked best for your business and any tips you may have.


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About DataFeedWatch

DataFeedWatch by Cart.com is the top-rated global product feed management platform that enables eCommerce brands, retailers, and digital agencies to drive multichannel growth. Merchants on both custom solutions and popular shopping carts, like Shopify, WooCommerce, and Magento (among others), can choose from 2000+ integrated shopping channels, affiliate networks, and marketplaces in 60 countries (such as Google, Facebook, Criteo, Amazon, and more). Major global brands like adidas, Decathlon, and KENZO have used DataFeedWatch to improve product performance across channels and expand to new markets. Sign up for a free trial today and receive guided onboarding to get started.

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