eCommerce is the fastest growing retail marketing in the UK and is expected to see continued growth. Manufacturers are not doing enough to prepare for this online age. It is important to understand areas that manufacturers should be paying much more attention to now or they risk losing more powers to retailers. Here we have compiled five key recommendations to better prepare manufacturers for adopting eCommerce in a multichannel selling strategy.
Get over internal barriers
A recent study showed that up to 30% of board/senior management lacked support for an eCommerce strategy mainly due to the lack of knowledge and skills about eCommerce. Whether or not a business likes eCommerce, we are in the online age now and if businesses fail to adopt an eCommerce strategy they will be left behind. Other major barriers included challenges of integrating e-commerce with traditional sales channels. Integration was cited as a problem because of the difficulty in connecting different technology with other software and databases. Further issues include customer concerns about data security. These are very real concerns but can be overcome by the help of specialists. Do not lose out by simply putting this notion of eCommerce in the too hard basket because it is now a business necessity to remain competitive.
Think about the keywords when creating products
Take for example the food industry. We are seeing consumer interest grow for healthier choices such as “low salt” or “low sugar” options. When consumers shop online they will simply enter these search words and only products that have these keywords will be displayed. Manufactures should consider this when creating products to fulfil lucrative consumer trends and markets using these keywords, based on good market research and data.
Invest in data analysis and technology
Online retailing platforms can be complex and can vary from retailer to retailer, making it further difficult to understand. Manufacturers can easily end up disadvantaged in their negotiations with retailers if core functions, such as search and how data is collected on a particular retailer’s website isn’t clearly understood. To overcome this, foster good relationships with your retailers and invest in your own tech know-hows so key decision makers can be well informed and take better action.
Cater more to packaging needs for your markets
Packaging can be a great opportunity to cater for different markets and increase demand. In an online environment there is more flexibility to tailor pack and portion sizes towards different demographics. Take for example those wanting to buy in bulk, such as families, and those that do not, such as single-person households. Online, packaging sizes can be tested to uncover quantities that may have not been previously thought worthwhile. In addition, retailers are demanding more retailer-specific packaging sizes to help them differentiate their offering. Pricing can be more transparent online, but retailer-specific sizes can help blur price competition and decrease their exposure to price comparisons.
Do not be afraid to sell direct
Manufacturer to consumer sales may not have been a good idea in the past, as it may not have been worthwhile or for fear of upsetting retail relationships. However, online dynamics are different, and with the right products and marketing it could be worthwhile as you are able to tap into an online market. also, as it has become increasingly the norm for manufacturers to sell directly from their own website, retailers have become more accepting of this practice.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.