Wednesday, October 17th, 2012
This year omnichannel is omnipresent. Consumers are at the forefront. And retailers are sold on multiple touch points as the pinnacle of user experience.
Research via mobile while standing in a store aisle. Share an ecommerce purchase via social. Revel in catalog imagery gone interactive on a tablet. Order online, pick-up in-store.
You’ve seen the wheel diagrams with arrows pointing every which way. Seamless interaction is the panacea.
But what if you’re a branded manufacturer? For you, channels are retail chains upon which your business relies. Distribution networks may not look kindly upon direct competition. Retailers have been carefully courted and any perceived alienation could negatively impact your bottom line.
Feel conflicted about going full force into direct digital commerce? At Fluid, we’ve seen a resurgence of branded manufacturers grappling with this issue. You are not alone.
Internet Retailer reports that web sales for consumer branded manufacturers in their Top 500 had a 2011 YOY increase of 12%. Web-only merchants 32%. Store-based 15%. Catalog call center companies 12.3%. No one likes last place.
In 1998 Levi’s famously false started into ecommerce when their retailers negatively responded to their aggressive online strategy of retaining exclusive online rights to the Levi’s and Dockers brands. Long before digital, brands like Coach sold in branded stores and via department stores.
In other words, this is not a new dilemma.
The good news: With the right strategy the dilemma can be diffused. Branded manufacturers have a right to pursue the rich opportunity of digital commerce directly. Not doing so runs the risk of lost revenue. In the right circumstances this can be collaborative vs. competitive.
So how to strike the best balance?
At Fluid, we’re seeing six main models of direct digital selling for branded manufacturers:
1. Full On Swagger
2. Full Price Promise
3. Sharing the Spotlight