Today more than ever, consumers demand online ordering options for all purchase decisions. As the Covid-19 pandemic dramatically altered offline sales channels with the inability to conduct business in person, business facing manufacturers have begun to focus on alternative sales strategies. While Direct to Consumer (D2C) sales strategies have been commonplace in the consumer facing industry for years now, in 2021 we’ll see more B2B manufacturers adopt the same D2C strategy.
In 2021, B2B Manufacturers Will Ramp Their Direct to Consumer (D2C) Sales Strategies
As the D2C strategy adoption grows, we’ll see more and more manufacturers entering the marketplace space as they identify new opportunities to reach new markets of customers directly. Whether it’s Amazon, Walmart.com, or an industry-specific marketplace where buyers (both B2B and B2C) are already shopping, manufacturers will hone in on their ability to extend their product catalog and brand in new ways.
Along the same lines, we’ll also see manufacturers partnering closer with their retail channel, not simply acting as suppliers. Manufacturers will look for ways to work with retail partners to ensure adequate product information and details are shared in the most optimized fashion. Focusing on improving product information to include key search terms, key attributes, and key information can also help to ensure searchability within their digital ecosystems. Improving and providing access to strong product imagery will also remain important.
Direct to Consumer Benefits for Manufacturers
Historically, manufacturers have managed these go-to-market channels (B2B, D2C, marketplace, etc.) across separate, disparate business units who are given the autonomy to make their own decisions about technology. Unfortunately this disconnection creates many challenges that often go unnoticed: duplicate and manual processes; separate and disconnected tech stacks requiring an unnecessary amount of resources to manage; wasted time, effort, and money; and a disjointed customer experience.
By revamping their D2C strategies, manufacturers will realize several benefits.
- Access to more customer data – Today, there is no such thing as too much information when it comes to your customers. By opening up the buying experience to customers who previously only interacted with another channel, you will gain insight into their buying behavior and preferences. Getting real time access to customer data can help inform decisions like inventory planning, product assortment and pricing.
- Greater brand control – In the past, manufacturers had little control over how their brands and products were represented in resale settings. D2C allows the manufacturer to control the entire branding experience from the moment a customer makes their initial engagement right up until the product has been purchased.
- Speed to market – As eCommerce grows, B2B buyers have more options for products and services than ever before. With D2C, manufacturers can make product changes and get to market faster without third-party channel coordination, seasonal delays, or other retail interruptions.
As manufacturers start to think about a more connected and better managed commerce strategy and digital transformation journey, we’ll see them move away from disconnected, disparate systems and onto more flexible, extensible platforms that can support everything from product data and information management needs, to order management and eCommerce experiences.
Learn more about the B2B eCommerce trends predicted to impact 2021 and beyond in the 2021 B2B eCommerce Predictions eBook.