The traditional role of a manufacturer has been to produce & distribute products to a distribution network. However, the advent of online retailing and concepts like dropshipping have caused the expectations that manufacturers should be available directly to retail consumers, as well.
Direct sales by consumer-brand manufacturers is one of the fastest-growing areas of online retail. Some of the common challenges that manufacturers face when building a direct digital consumer engagement channel are:
Managing Consumer Expectations
Consumers expect manufacturers’ websites to be one of the primary sources of product information for both pre-purchase research and post-purchase requirements. That is why manufacturers’ websites typically have significant consumer traffic. It is important to ensure that the consumers who visit the manufacturer’s website get the information that they are looking for and cultivate a rich perception of products as well as of the brand.
Building a Strong First Brand Experience of Their Products
The impression of products that consumers get on the manufacturer’s own or on retailers’ websites has a significant impact on purchase decisions. It is important to have a rich, detailed & correct product presentation available across the manufacturer’s dealers’ and retailers’ websites to establish a consistent brand experience.
Managing Technology is not a Manufacturer’s Expertise
Technology is often a capital intensive department and manufacturers are often wary of getting into an area in which they lack expertise. It is important for manufacturers to be able to acquire and manage technology without requiring technical expertise or huge capital investments.
Handling Consumers Across Channels
To add to the complexity, shopping searches on the internet and mobile devices are rapidly becoming a logical choice for consumers. They demand instant, short, and accurate information to enable them to make informed purchasing decisions.
Consumers want manufacturers to be available to provide information, shopping guidance, or point them to retail outlets. They might also want to buy products directly from a manufacturer.
Moreover, consumers may get confused if they are provided with different inconsistent information or product experience across different channels. That’s why it’s crucial to create a consistent experience across channels.