When customers purchase directly from your website, you don’t have to split the sale with a retailer, and it creates valuable remarketing opportunities. To maximize direct purchases, some manufacturers only let website visitors purchase directly from them, even when their products are also available from major online retailers.
It’s true: that is a method to increase direct sales through your website. But it’s a common ecommerce mistake, because it comes at a cost. Your customers have preferred retailers, just as they have preferred products. When you don’t highlight those retailers, some customers are going to leave in order to find your products at their preferred store, and that does two things:
1. It increases the barriers between your customers and your products
2. It risks exposing them to competitors
In other words: it disrupts the path to purchase, and risks losing sales. And that’s why so many brands use where to buy (WTB) solutions on their websites. It’s better for you and better for your customers.
WTB tools let your customers see where your products are sold, with current prices and stock availability. They give you some unique advantages, increase overall conversions, and ultimately help you serve your customers better.
Here’s why your potential customers wish you’d use one.
They already have accounts with your retail partners
Creating a new account slows down the checkout process. It means tediously entering a credit card number and billing information—which your customers may not have on hand. Not to mention, many consumers already have more accounts than they can keep track of, and they’re wary of creating new ones they don’t plan on using regularly.
If they already have an account with a major online retailer, your customers don’t have to enter any of that information again, and they can purchase in a couple of clicks. (Just one with Amazon’s one-click buying!)
That convenience is hard to beat, and so customers will often leave a brand’s website to find the product they want on a site they already have an account on. With a WTB tool, you can streamline the path to purchase by linking customers directly to your product page on their preferred retailer’s site.
Creating convenience for your customers isn’t just about serving them better. It optimizes conversions, too.
Without a WTB tool, you’re creating an opportunity for potential customers to stumble into a competitor or abandon the transaction. Having to search for your product on another site (possibly even Google) adds steps to the transaction and exposes them to your competitors, who will show up in search.
But the hurdle of account creation isn’t the only reason your customers choose to buy from retailers.
They want to take advantage of retailer-specific perks
Perks and incentives are some of the biggest reasons consumers develop loyalty to particular online retailers. Amazon Prime members want to take advantage of free two-day shipping. Home Depot customers want the convenience of BOPIS. Target shoppers don’t even have to get out of their car to pick up their purchase “in-store” anymore. And many of your retail partners offer special credit cards and other rewards programs that give special discounts and other incentives, like the Amazon Prime card that offers 5% cash back.
Major retailers also tend to have pretty generous return policies, which makes the purchase itself feel less risky. You might have a great return policy, too, but if someone has never bought from you before, they may be skeptical about how smoothly that process will be.
It’s hard to compete with those benefits. And getting those perks is often one of the biggest factors your customers use to determine what and where they purchase.
So if you don’t use a WTB tool to show your customers the other places they can buy your products, you’re putting a barrier between them and their perks. And that means you’re risking the sale.
You can show them the best price
When you use a WTB tool to focus on maximizing sales (rather than maximizing your margins through direct sales), it puts you in a position to give your customers something no one else is going to give them: a comparison shopping tool specific to your product.
Retailers aren’t going to show people if another retailer carries your product at a lower price. But you can. With a WTB solution, your customers can see as many retailers as you want to show them, and they can see who has the best price on your products without having to visit each retailer separately.
So even if your customers choose to purchase through another retailer, you can still make a valuable contribution to their shopping experience. And it’s one they’ll be glad you made.
They don’t want to waste their time
When your customers have to leave your site and search for your products on Google or their preferred retailer, it’s an unnecessary waste of their time. But what should concern you more is what can happen when they eventually get to your product page on another site: they might discover that your product is out of stock at their preferred retailer.
At that point, your potential customers have three options:
1. Start the process over with another retailer they trust, and risk encountering the same issue
2. Purchase a competitor’s product from their preferred retailer
3. Abandon the transaction
More likely than not, in that situation, you’re going to lose the sale, because starting over with another retailer is the path of most resistance. The only way someone is going to choose that option is if they’re determined to purchase your product.
When you use a WTB solution, you can show your website visitors where your product is sold and where it’s in stock. You can even choose not to display retailers where your product is out of stock. Either way, you ensure your potential customers aren’t wasting their time trying to find your product on the sites they regularly purchase from.
You’re shortening the path to purchase, which saves them time and increases your chances of making the sale.
These are all important reasons why your customers want you to use a WTB solution. But there’s one reason you should care about even more.
They want to buy your products
Ultimately, your customers want you to use a WTB tool because they want to buy your products. By using a WTB solution, you’re helping people buy your products the same way they buy everything else: from their preferred retailer.
Get the free guide to WTB tools
If you want to maximize online conversions, a where to buy solution is a must. But what exactly does a WTB tool do? And how does it help you reach your goals? In The Manufacturer’s Guide to Where to Buy Solutions, we dig into:
- What a WTB solution actually does
- How this technology benefits both consumers and manufacturers
- What kinds of data WTB solutions give manufacturers
- How WTB solutions strengthen manufacturers’ relationships with retail partners
Get your free copy today.