As we know, e-commerce has thrown a curveball at the traditional ways branded manufacturers market, sell and distribute their products. It’s becoming more and more common for consumers to go directly to the source — in this case, a brand’s website — to obtain the information they’re seeking about a product. The problem is, many brands don’t yet have the capabilities to sell directly to these customers, and they don’t have an efficient way to send these consumers on to trusted retail partners.
Given this growing trend in the e-commerce landscape, ChannelAdvisor recently acquired E-Tale, a company with a leading Where to Buy solution used by brands around the world. The new ChannelAdvisor Where to Buy solution is part of our ChannelAdvisor for Brands initiative, which is aimed at addressing the growing needs of brands in the evolving e-commerce landscape.
Today, we’re sitting down with ChannelAdvisor’s senior director of brand solutions Bradley Keenan, who founded and served as CEO of E-Tale, to discuss how ChannelAdvisor Where to Buy benefits brands, resellers and consumers.
Q: Welcome to the team, Bradley. First of all, so that we’re all on the same page, can you describe who falls under the “branded manufacturer” label?
We define branded manufacturer, or “brand” for short, as a company that produces and sells its own products. For instance, Samsung manufactures TVs, but it also markets those TVs to the general public using the Samsung brand.
Q: Can you explain how a brand’s e-commerce efforts will be enhanced now that E-Tale has joined forces with ChannelAdvisor?
E-Tale specialized in supporting brands, and ChannelAdvisor has a wealth of knowledge of the retail space. By bringing these businesses together under ChannelAdvisor Where to Buy, we’re able to provide a potential end-to-end solution for brands looking to maximize their sales online.
Q: What benefits does a Where to Buy solution provide?
A “Where to Buy” solution provides many benefits for a brand. But to put it simply, it’s a tool that helps customers locate products online. Many brands don’t yet sell directly to their customers through a webstore, so they need a way of pushing those consumers to their preferred channel partners.
The solution is typically found on a brand’s website in the form of a hyperlinked button. Once clicked, the end user is presented with a list of retailers who sell and stock the specific product of interest.
Q: What are the challenges brands face? How does a Where to Buy solution help?
The main challenge our clients face is keeping up with the evolving digital landscape. The internet has quickly gone from a disruption of traditional retail channels to a vital business channel. To convert shoppers into customers, our clients need a way to provide shoppers with the best user experience on each channel. Whether consumers interact with the brand via social media or research a product on the brand’s website, Where to Buy can be there every step of the way. Additionally, Where to Buy is able to track consumers’ clicks and provide essential consumer data to the brand to better serve the consumer down the road. Without Where to Buy technology, the consumer would leave the site and that data would be lost.
Q: Let’s step into the consumer’s shoes for a second. How does ChannelAdvisor Where to Buy solution benefit the consumer?
Shoppers can spend hours online researching a product on a brand’s website. Once they decide on a product, they’ll then have to leave the brand’s website and go to a search engine to find out where they can purchase it. During this search, they’ll be delivered ads for competing products at different price points and potentially from disreputable retailers. In other words, shoppers may be steered away from the product they’d researched and decided on.
The Where to Buy technology brings a list of authorized retailers directly to the consumer. During that initial stage of product research, the consumer will be only one click away from an approved webstore.
Or, if customers prefer to visit a brick-and-mortar location to purchase the product, Where to Buy can point them to offline retail partners as well.
Customers will be able to shop with confidence knowing they’re purchasing your product from a trusted source. The technology decreases a customer’s time spent in the search phase and can also save them money.
Q: How will a Where to Buy solution tie into a brand’s long-term e-commerce plan?
Where to Buy gives shoppers options, improving the end users’ overall experience with your brand. Some shoppers prefer to buy from brands, as they feel that they’re dealing with the experts. Others like to shop where they have more than one brand to consider.
Regardless of whether a brand’s long-term objective is to sell directly to the consumer, Where to Buy technology provides a vital step in a brand’s e-commerce journey by giving brands the ability to support their various retail partners.
Q: I’m sure many brands are curious as to how Where to Buy will appear on their website. Is the look and feel customizable?
We work with our clients to ensure that Where to Buy is in sync with the brand’s overall marketing initiatives. This can be as simple as the color of the button or font used.
Whether a brand is looking to maximize sales through a retailer channel or focus on their own webstore, the users’ journey will be in line with the brand’s overall site strategy.
Q: Can you track the performance of Where to Buy on different channels? For example, performance on Facebook vs. performance on display ads?
Yes, it’s possible to track the user behavior by product, category and brand. ChannelAdvisor Where to Buy can also track behavior at a campaign or implementation level. This data gives our clients the ability to measure shopper purchase intent from all online marketing touchpoints, as well as plan future marketing spend.
Q: What analytics does Where to Buy provide? How will these analytics benefit a brand’s overall e-commerce efforts?
We provide all clients with access to a reporting dashboard. This dashboard contains real-time analytics on leads sent to retail partners. Clients are even able to drill down to product-level data. In addition, the Scheduled Push Reports remove the need to log in to the dashboard. You’re able to set up customized reports to be sent directly to your inbox.
Thanks so much for your time, Bradley. We’re excited to have you on board, and to the functionality that Where to Buy will give brands!
ChannelAdvisor Where to Buy is part of the new ChannelAdvisor for Brands, the industry’s first holistic e-commerce initiative to enable success for brands. For more information on ChannelAdvisor for Brands, download this overview.
Blog post by Jordan Nowlin, social media and blog manager, ChannelAdvisor