Manufacturers are selling themselves short when they fail to launch a direct-to-consumer (DTC) channel. Contrary to the lingering myths of channel conflict, DTC channels do not harm channel partnerships—in many cases it strengthens them.
For example, it is not inconsistent for a manufacturer’s website to offer consumers an option to purchase directly as well as a “where to buy” capability that redirects them to a retail partner’s website or local brick-and-mortar store. The fact of the matter is that consumers will buy from the channel that best suits their needs and interests—so it only makes sense to make it as easy as possible for consumers to purchase your products according to their preferences.
For many online shoppers, the shopping process begins at a manufacturer’s website when they are researching a product. Why not capture the sale right then and there? Instead, manufacturers that neglect to offer an option for consumers to buy on the spot risk losing a sale altogether. Adding a purchase capability to their site and taking the sale direct gives the manufacturer, instead of the retailer, the chance to learn first-hand what consumers are shopping for—and why. The business intelligence gathered about buying trends, regional preferences and product positioning can be used internally as well as shared with your retail partners, thereby strengthening the complete channel.
Manufacturers have inherent advantages that consumers are drawn to. It’s important to leverage those opportunities in order to offer buyers options that no retailer can match. In addition to accurate and timely product information, manufacturers can deliver an “endless aisle” of product assortment or include unique bundles and closeout items. Retailers have only so much shelf space – where you are competing with other top selling brands as well as the retailer’s in-house brands. As a manufacturer, you have many more options with your ecommerce site.
In a competitive online landscape, manufacturers must offer many different ways for consumers to purchase their products – all with a focus on how those consumers want to buy. Would you agree? Share your thoughts in the comments field below.