The current retail landscape is evolving at a rapid pace, forcing both brands and retailers to adapt quickly and change roles to leverage new opportunities to engage the empowered consumer.
E-commerce success requires a clear understanding of what consumers want (and expect) as well as when they want it, and how to scale to meet their demands. Here are three key steps for brands to leverage the New Retail landscape.
Control your messaging
Brands need to ensure their products are represented accurately and attractively wherever your product is presented. Solely relying on retailers to provide this information may lead to consumers getting the wrong perception of your brand or products. Don’t assume that if you ship your goods to your e-commerce partners your job is done. Ensure that you provide retailers with strong product information and nurture your retailer relationships. By developing strong engagement with your retailers, you can help to ensure that they give your product range prominence on social media and boosting your brand presence across relevant channels.
Reach your consumer
Brands must also be agnostic as to where customers are looking. Consumers may research on a brand’s site but then proceed to purchase via a marketplace. Your data needs to be structured correctly so that you show up on each of the channels you work with.
This is why it is essential that brands master search and are visible to consumers across a diverse set of channels. This means that you have to ensure your product can be easily found via search engines as well as within the onsite search of your retail partners.
It is also about ensuring you have the right images and a description that sells it to the consumer and right unique selling points to promote the product. This ensures that when they buy, your consumers are getting exactly what they want (and expect). If the information is incomplete or wrong, you will get returns and negative reviews online which will in turn affect your ranking on marketplaces. To ensure a frictionless shopping experience at every stage of the buyer’s journey, maintain the best practice guidelines on all marketplaces (as the data required for eBay is different to what’s required by Amazon, for example).
Your customer is shopping across marketplaces, social media, retailers, and search engines. They are happy to purchase locally or from overseas. They will be searching on their smartphones via apps or browsers while on the go, on tablets, while price-comparing on marketplaces and even while in-store.
This means that as a brand, you should be listing across the channels that deliver the best return on investment for you. You can reach global consumers and reach new markets via cross-border trade. Ensure that you are wherever your consumer is looking.
In the current retail landscape, the lines are starting to blur between retailers and brands. From the perspective of a consumer purchasing online, what matters is the product. Is it what they want, at the right price, to be delivered at the right time? It’s important to create a blended strategy between a traditional and a direct-to-consumer distribution model whilst mitigating channel conflict.
Your consumers are everywhere. Brands should be too.
- Simon Clarkson is MD at ChannelAdvisor APAC.