In the world of e-commerce, brand manufacturers and retailers are often at odds with one another—each hoping to win the lion’s share of product sales. At least, that’s the perception, but it doesn’t have to be an “either-or” battle. When brand manufacturers work together with retailers, they can actually reap benefits like growing revenue and garnering brand loyalists.
By examining the sales process from a shopper’s perspective, it’s easy to see why both brand manufacturers and retailers can earn loyal shoppers by teaming up. The online sales process can take shoppers from a general and wide informational search to identifying a product of interest, to then determining the best channel through which to obtain the product by purchase. In the end, the customer determines the best option, so it’s best to have an omni-channel approach.
Reasons to Partner with Your Retailers
There are a lot of moving parts for brand manufacturers when setting up e-commerce capabilities. There are e-commerce fees, warehouse space and staffing, inventory management, fulfillment requirements including shipping costs, customer service representatives, payment processing and more to consider. The logistics and costs can be quite daunting. When you’re partnered with a retailer, all of those are already built into their business, and it makes sense that they would want a piece of the pie for providing all of those services. It’s not to say that brand manufacturers can’t or shouldn’t sell direct to customers, but it’s easy to see the benefits of retail partnerships. Manufacturers still get revenue, but don’t have to pay for and manage those parts of the sales process.
What happens when a shopper needs the product immediately? Not all shoppers can wait two-days for a product. Often times customers will check in-stock availability and pick up items the same day at the store, or even buy online and pick up in store (BOPIS). Without a retail partner that’s easily accessible, purchases needed same day could be lost to a competitor.
Finally, retailers have access to a lot of customer data including traffic and purchasing data. By having good relationships with retailers, manufacturers may have access to a variety of data sets, allowing them to better market products, connect with customers and make positive adjustments to future marketing initiatives.
The Consequences of Not Partnering
When the relationships between manufacturers and retailers are strained, it can directly impact the customer experience. Manufacturers should make it easy for customers to find products both through their direct websites (if they choose to participate in e-commerce directly) and through retailer websites. Don’t make customers hunt around for your products! This creates a poor user experience, causes sales funnel tracking and data loss and might even result in loss of the sale. Missing out on the valuable data collected by retail partners could greatly hinder sales and product growth.
This includes partnering with retailers on your website as well. Optimizing your site to benefit both your brand and your retailers is a smart move. Some manufacturers don’t like to show shoppers where else they can purchase the product, but that is a bit short-sighted. Retailer websites offer shoppers a lot of information, including valuable customer reviews, which are one of the primary factors in decision-making. When you don’t show which retailers are carrying your products, not only do you make it hard for the customer to find what they’re looking for, but you’re also closing a door to important data to help your brand in the future.
The most important thing to offer is a seamless shopping experience so shoppers can easily find and buy your products.
Partnerships Create Brand and Retail Synergy
By working together, brand manufacturers and retailers alike can ensure a positive customer experience, track the sales funnel to see how customers arrived at the product, as well as capture that sale in the most convenient place for the customer. Partnering with retailers and creating brand synergy across all purchase channels increases revenue for both manufacturers and retailers. These partnerships set the path for brand-loyal and repeat purchases, which is ideal for both parties.
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