7 reasons why manufacturers should sell direct to consumers via ecommerce
As a manufacturer of quality goods, you’ll know how difficult it can be to
make an impact in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace. The chances
are, you’ve spent years refining your products, experimenting with new
materials and production methods, working hard to build relationships with
B2B customers and securing contracts with distribution partners.
And though your business may be ticking over just nicely, no company should
rest easy or assume it will be plain sailing forever. As the COVID-19
crisis has taught us, businesses can be turned upside down overnight, and
being able to quickly adapt is the key to success.
online retail sales up 6.3%
and the global B2C ecommerce market set to be worth an eye-watering $7,700
billion by 2025, you can no longer ignore the figures. Changing your
business model may be scary, but there are many reasons why you should give
it a go…
Help your customers
Perhaps the most obvious reason why you should sell directly to consumers
is to help them find the products they need. The chances are you regularly
receive enquires about one-off orders, and either have to turn them away or
point them towards one of your distributors.
By opening up your business to a new audience, your end-users can access
products they want, cutting out the middleman and helping you to serve them
better. And because your store will feature product literature and FAQs,
they’ll get the support they need to use your merchandise without you
having to invest in a dedicated customer service department.
Get insights into your users
Another benefit to selling directly to consumers is so you can collect data
on who they are and what they want. Sure, B2B customers can give you an
indication of what their customers need based on order numbers and
occasional feedback, but that doesn’t come close to the data that you can
collect on your end-users. With tracking tools and customer survey forms,
you’ll work out which products are in demand, what users want, and how much
Armed with that data, you can tweak your product offering to better serve
your B2B and B2C customers, experimenting with new ideas, pitching them
directly to users to gather feedback.
Increased profit margins
Though your third-party resellers and distributors will help to keep the
lights on and buy your products in bulk, they make a healthy margin
whenever they sell your products. Taking them out of the equation and
selling products directly to users, even at less than the retail price,
means that you’re lowering the cost per acquisition and increasing your
margin on each sale.
It’s important to remember, however, that selling direct to consumers could
have a negative impact on your B2B trade. Be sensitive when pricing and
marketing your products so as not to ‘rock the boat’. Find the right
balance between your B2C and B2C sales channels.
One other thing to bear in mind - when you sell your products directly to
retailers, you also pass on the responsibility of customer service and
distribution. When you sell to consumers, you need to think about
delivering customer service, the cost of distribution, and handling
returns. It may take some time to iron out issues and find a price and
strategy that works.
Offer your whole product catalogue
As a manufacturer, the chances are that you make dozens of high-quality
products that are complementary to one another. Your B2B partners, though,
may only be interested in two or three of them, fleshing out your range
with other products from rival brands. They may also only stock a few
colours, sizes, or variations of your products, leaving some customers to
go without or look for alternatives - again, benefiting rival manufacturing
brands rather than you.
When you open an ecommerce store and allow consumers to buy direct, you’ll
be able to show them your entire product range. Existing fans of your brand
may be surprised to learn that you offer a product they didn’t know
existed, increasing their order value and loyalty.
Reach a wider audience
With the right marketing techniques, you can introduce your ecommerce brand
to thousands of new customers both here in the UK and around the world. The
cost of hiring a sales team in every country you want to operate in would
be huge, but modern ecommerce software allows you to sell your products in
different currencies and languages at a click of a button, and most
distribution companies offer competitively-priced international shipping,
which could help you to carve out a new market in a country you never
anticipated working in.
Shape the sales process
You manufacture your products, and you know how they work and should be
used better than anyone. When you sell to consumers, you can shape the
sales process, offering a truly personal experience that resellers and
rival stores cannot compete with. This added value not only helps you build
long-term relationships but encourages customers to bookmark your website,
return when they next need up stock up and recommend you to their friends.
Sell all day, all night
Your sales department might deliver results and help you secure lucrative
contracts with big players in your industry, but they only work 8 hours a
day. With an ecommerce store, your business becomes more accessible and
allows you to reach customers all day, all night.
What’s more, it frees up your sales team to focus on identifying and
landing new B2B clients and ensuring existing ones are kept happy. With the
right social media marketing and SEO strategy, your B2C ecommerce
department can run with little day-to-day involvement.
Our Gemsuite B2B ecommerce platform
can be customised dependent on user login, so you can build one website
that serves both your trade and consumer markets, showing different
pricing and product details. Reach out on 01656 330 360 today for a