Brands, Do Your Customers Know Where to Buy?

February 29, 2016

Brands ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

Branded manufacturers don’t all follow the same e-commerce path. Some use their website to sell directly to consumers. Some let their authorized retailers do all the selling. Some use a combination.

But every brand has one thing in common: They want to connect their products to as many consumers as possible.

No matter what your online distribution model is, there are always ways you can improve it. Ways to provide a better consumer experience, gather valuable customer data and ultimately sell more items.

In our work with branded manufacturers through the years, we’ve found that website distribution models fall roughly under six categories. Every brand has a different set of circumstances, each website model comes with its own set of challenges and no one approach is right for every brand. 

Below, pick which website model best describes you and read more about how to make the most of your single greatest marketing tool — your website.

1. Your website: Information Only

Your website offers detailed product information, videos and branding, but no way to purchase the items. You want your site to be strictly a source of information so that consumers can research your product, decide they want it and then buy it wherever they choose.

2. Your website: Information + List of Retailers

You don’t have a webstore, but you provide a list of retailers that sell your product. Or you have a “store locator” that provides a list to retailers, both brick and mortar and online. You want your site to remain primarily a source of information so that consumers can research your product and buy it wherever they choose.

3. Your website: Information + Links to Retailer Websites

You provide links to retailers that sell your product, but you don’t have a webstore. You want your site to primarily be a source of information so shoppers can research your product, decide they want it and buy it from one of the retailers you suggest. Or, if they like, they can just search for your product somewhere else.

4. Your website: Information + Links to Retailer Product Pages

You don’t have a webstore, but you have a homemade “where to buy” solution that you use to push shoppers to the retailers of your choice. Sometimes links don’t work in your homemade solution, but it’s not a huge priority. You’ve never really used hard analytics on your customers and don’t think you need any in the future. You have much better margins if you sell through your own site.

5. Your website: Information + Shopping Cart

You believe in brand loyalty. You have a webstore, even though it may or may not carry your full line of products. You want to keep your customers on your site whenever possible and not send them off to a retailer (even if it’s an authorized one).

6. Your website: Information + Shopping Cart + Links to Retailer Product Pages

You have a webstore, but it may or may not carry your full line of products or update when products run out of stock. You also have a simple “where to buy” solution that you use to push shoppers to the retailers you choose. You prefer customers buy on your site and assume that it will take longer to make a purchase if the shopper has to click away from your page.

As a brand, there are a variety of ways to navigate the tricky waters of e-commerce. But how you use your website says a lot about how serious you take the rise of e-commerce and how prepared you are for whatever changes lie ahead.

If you have any questions about Where to Buy or e-commerce in general, feel free to give us a call at 866-264-8594 or email info@channeladvisor.com.