Category: Digital Transformation Strategy
COVID-19 has taught businesses that having a strong digital strategy is vital in order to stay healthy as a business.
The challenge, for many manufacturers in particular, is that having a strong digital strategy doesn’t mean simply giving customers the ability to buy directly from you online. Manufacturers generally go-to-market across a variety of channels and via a variety of means, and without the right infrastructure in place, it is hard to manage.
Let’s explore how unifying your direct-to-consumer (D2C) and wholesale businesses under one “master” eCommerce platform and strategy will create business efficiencies and improve your digital sales revenue.
Manufacturers’ Digital Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) or B2C Sales Strategy Needs to be Put in Place
Historically, the manufacturers known to prioritize D2C sales were consumer-facing branded manufacturers, particularly those with customers who place frequent purchases and feel a sense of brand-loyalty towards the brand. But business-facing (B2B) manufacturers face the same challenge and opportunity today. Selling direct to business buyers is becoming increasingly common as manufacturers take a more customer-centric strategy and as offline sales channels (in-person sales reps, for example) have been inhibited by the inability to conduct business face-to-face.
But, of course, each manufacturer is going to need to think about D2C sales differently. For example, a branded manufacturer like Mars who sells Snickers candy bars, knows that customers would not generally go to a Mars or Snickers website to purchase a single candy bar. But product placement, pricing, and promotion strategies for various marketplaces where customers do shop for Snickers bars (Amazon, Walmart, Target, etc.), is very important.
On the other hand, a manufacturer like Casper who sells mattresses to consumers may find it’s important to have a strong, Casper-branded digital experience to grow digital sales. But they do, of course, also have to think about their wholesale strategy to make it easy to extend product information to retail, distributor, and marketplace channel partners.
Manufacturers Need a Bullet-Proof Omni-Market Strategy within their Retail Channel
Now more than ever, manufacturers need to partner with their retail channel, not simply act as suppliers. Brands and retail partners need to work in new ways to create valuable customer experiences.
Additionally, manufacturers need to focus on working with retail partners to ensure adequate product information and details is 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 is also important.
Manufacturers Need to Move D2C and Wholesale Business Strategies Under One Roof
Often manufacturers’ D2C channel is completely separate from the core wholesale business (where retail relationships and sales are managed). 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.
To move away from this, many brands are upgrading systems – everything from product data and information management systems to order management and eCommerce platforms.
Choosing an API-first eCommerce platform at the center of your technology stack is going to make it easier to manage sales across multiple digital channels, and better align data and processes in one place. You’ll be able to unify your D2C and wholesale business strategies under one umbrella.
With OrderCloud, our API-first eCommerce platform, you can manage multiple different types of buyer experiences from the same administrative experience. You can manage your D2C (or B2C eCommerce) experience for buyers who like to buy from you directly. And you can use our API to extend that same product information to your retail, distributor, and marketplace channel partners’ eCommerce experiences so buyers can find up-to-date, accurate product information there, as well.