With the rise of disruptive technology, it’s easier than ever before for wholesalers to add direct-to-consumer (D2C) sale functionality onto their websites. Integrating D2C gives you the opportunity to delight your customers, grow your business, and sell more.
We’ve collected the top five reasons why wholesalers should consider adding D2C, and how to navigate the potential pitfalls. We’ve used the toy industry in our examples because it’s an industry where trust is absolutely vital — a parent buying a toy isn’t just price-conscious, they’re looking at products that will hold a treasured place in their home and family.
Our advice isn’t just restricted to toy wholesalers! It’s lessons we’ve learnt from building eCommerce solutions for some of Australia’s leading brands, businesses, educational institutions and government organisations.
Read on for our five tips for wholesalers considering D2C.
1. Build trust and authenticity
“Eight-six percent of people say authenticity matters when deciding what brands they like and support.” [source]
We all have so much access to information now, and many savvy consumers are looking at what they’re buying in more detail — who makes it, is it sustainable, is it safe for their children? This means that your retail partners need to build trust with customers, but it also means you have a unique chance to build trust with them yourself.
If your company offers a website with a smooth and easy customer experience, you give customers the choice to buy directly from the brand they have a connection with. What is your brand, and what does it stand for? You can tell your story and own the conversation, instead of relying on the marketing departments of the big box retailers to do it.
Adding review functionality to your site gives customers the power to share what they love most about your products, building confidence in the people browsing.
2. Open additional channels to market
Channel conflict is becoming less important as many major brands are selling via B2B, B2C and marketplaces — all at the same time. Look at brands like Nike, Cannon, 2XU, Rip Curl, Tommy Hilfiger… in the toy space, there’s brands like Lego and Playmobil already making the move. In many cases, it’s not a matter of ‘if’, but ‘when’.
Opening to multi-channel means more touchpoints for your customers, improving your brand awareness and reputation.
3. Learn more about your customers
The data insights you can get from a quality website build are mind-boggling! If you’re only relying on retailers to sell your products, you’re missing out. Imagine being able to see which of your products get the most attention but lead to few purchases. (Is the price too high, are you describing it well enough, do you need more colour options?). Or what items people tend to buy together. (Could you bundle them, or create a new product incorporating the two?). Or who gets to the shipping page and then abandons their cart. (Is the shipping too delayed, too expensive?)
Owning the customer relationship gives you access to all of this data (and more). You can then funnel it all back into the business to create or import products you know your customers are likely to love.
4. It doesn’t mean burning bridges
We know many toy companies have solid retailer relationships and a smooth process that’s down to a fine art — and we’re not suggesting you reinvent the wheel! We just know that it’s possible to add D2C customers without excluding your existing contacts. Consider the extra value you can give to your retail partners:
- Add in wholesale/B2B options on your site. Retailers can still give you a call to talk through their order: but you can also give them the option to quickly log in and re-order what they wanted last quarter. Free up your time and theirs.
- Building a loyalty program for your wholesale/B2B clients that they can redeem online; and building in personalisation options so that different customers see different views. Give them incentive to choose you over your competitor.
- Include ways for customers to find local stockists with an embedded map that searches by location. Some people want that tactile experience before buying – and this means sending your retail partners even more business.
- Consider sharing some of your newfound data and statistics with your retail partners to help them improve their offering too, giving a value-add that other suppliers can’t.
- The world’s your oyster – why not sell internationally and avoid competing with your retailers altogether? Our solutions can take care of the tax, shipping and legalities, without you having to learn the conversion rate of USD to AUD.
5. It’s easy!
Working with an eCommerce solutions agency like Balance Internet means you can go up against the big guys without having to hire a whole extra team. Let us connect everything together in one simple website. A customer can get online, shop for the toys they want, pay the way they want, and — here’s where the integration magic happens — your stock levels are automatically updated, the item is sent, and the customer gets a follow-up email requesting feedback. Clean, simple, effective.
You can stay focused on what you love and what you do best, while this happens in the background. At Balance Internet we care about the success of your business, and our goal is to build a system that takes care of itself, without you needing to learn the technical details.