How Brands Can Create Meaningful Connections With Online Consumers

July 6, 2020

Brands By Bradley Hearn

As e-commerce continues to evolve, branded manufacturers are faced with what’s arguably the biggest challenge yet: How to create meaningful connections with consumers while simultaneously maintaining relationships with retailers and minimizing channel conflict.

Whether your brand currently sells products directly to your customers or you use retailers, you need to understand the role you play in the customer journey and how you can ease your potential customer’s path to purchase. 

One trend has had a more significant impact on manufacturers than perhaps any other shift in recent years: Consumers often prefer you over your retailers. 

  • 55% of consumers prefer to buy directly from brands rather than multi-brand retailers 
  • More than half of consumers opt to visit brand websites over retailer sites because they offer more comprehensive information and guides 
  • 40% of consumers expect that more than 40% of their spending will go toward direct-to-consumer brands by 2023 

However, there’s a catch: As e-commerce continues to grow and evolve, consumers are empowered with countless options to discover and buy products online. They’re charting increasingly complicated paths to online purchases, and they expect brands to meet their needs no matter where they shop. 

For example, an estimated 61% of shoppers go straight to Amazon when researching a brand, while just 51% will turn to a retailer’s website. Some purchase products they see on Facebook or Instagram, while others turn to Google to ask “Where can I buy?” and find out “What’s near me?” 

No matter what their personal preferences may be, consumers want to see a strong presence and have a seamless experience. Here are four areas to apply focus, based on whether you currently sell products directly to your customers: 

Reviews and ratings — Most consumers rely heavily on online reviews — and they’re unforgiving of the brands that don’t take them seriously. One survey found that an astounding 95% of digital shoppers distrust brands that delete negative reviews, and that 81% mistrust companies with no reviews. The opposite view is held of brands that have built up banks of positive online reviews.  

How well you’ve taken care of just one customer can impact buying decisions for nearly a hundred others. Generally speaking, your top focus should be on maintaining positive reviews and ratings everywhere you sell — and on responding swiftly and satisfactorily to any negative ones.

The Amazon Brand Store — If you sell direct to consumers on Amazon, the Amazon Brand Store is a must. This often-overlooked feature is a great way to get your products in front of more people. It lets you tell compelling stories about your brand, and gives shoppers even more reason to choose you over competitors.

Retail Content Management — If you still sell primarily through retail partners, Retail Content Management makes it easy to create, store and map content to retailers’ product templates. The technology works by using lookup lists and business rules to take raw product data and have it automatically optimized to meet the required specifications for each retail site. This type of automation is especially useful for brands that need to convert product content for a wide array of retail sites.

Where to Buy — Where to Buy Technology provides a seamless connection from your own e-commerce site to your authorized retailers’ product pages or shopping carts — both online sites and local brick and mortar stores. This technology can be used to not only strengthen relationships with retailers, but increase your chances of landing more sales by creating a seamless path to purchase.

Brands have more opportunities than ever before to get products in front of purchase-ready consumers. But to remain competitive, strategies will need to be regularly reassessed and updated as long as the e-commerce industry continues to evolve at a rapid pace.

For nearly 20 years, ChannelAdvisor has provided brands with the technology, the services and the experience to stay ahead of the latest trends, ensure you’re maximizing every opportunity and connect with more consumers around the world.

If you’d like a quick demo of the ChannelAdvisor platform, let us know and one of our e-commerce consultants will be in touch soon.

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