E-commerce has changed the retail landscape significantly, especially for branded manufacturers. Online retail is disrupting the more traditional distribution channels for these companies, and consumer behavior is driving more and more brands to make a move into e-commerce. But wading into these unknown waters can be tricky and a bit scary. We’re here to help.
Over the coming weeks on the blog, we’ll be focusing on brand-specific content — from hot topics to success stories. Our goal is to guide you through this industry transformation and give you more insight into what other brands are doing and why it matters.
Here, Bradley Keenan, ChannelAdvisor’s senior director of brand solutions, sits down with Netgear’s Rob Wells, Senior Director, Northern EMEA, to discuss the role e-commerce plays in Netgear’s business operations. Netgear is a worldwide provider of technologically advanced, branded networking products — such as smart home security, storage and wireless products — to retail, commercial and service providers.
Q: How has the online retailing space changed for you over the last 12 months?
A: The biggest change that we’ve seen in online retail is the growing importance of product reviews. Product reviews are more important to us than ever before. We’re noticing that consumers are looking to their peer group to learn about the experience of using the product, but to the brand for reasons to buy the product. It’s important to us that the reputation of the Netgear brand and products remains strong.
Q: Do you have dedicated staff to focus on e-commerce?
A: Yes — we recognize the importance of supporting e-commerce and have put in place dedicated staff to manage the unique requirements of online channels. Maintaining an online business is complex and needs to be managed by experts in the field.
Q: What is the most exciting change you’ve witnessed in online retail?
A: Any technology that provides the customer with better service is exciting in my book. Let’s take Amazon Prime, for example. I think linking services like next-day delivery as well as video streaming provides better value for the shopper. I also think that the click-and-collect service is a huge step forward, as it brings together the online and offline worlds. For me, online retail is about convenience and making it easy for shoppers to become customers.
Q: What role do you think brands play in the shopper’s path to purchase?
A: Brands are critical in the shopping journey because consumers need correct information to make an informed buying decision. We as brands view ourselves as expert advisors that are here to help people match the correct product to their needs. At Netgear, we invest significantly in making sure the retailers selling Netgear merchandise accurately display our product information. We’re also constantly investigating new ways to communicate with our customers. Some of our recent communication methods include video tutorials and social content syndication to allow shoppers to obtain feedback from customers.
Q: That leads us to our next question. How do you ensure that retailers display accurate product information?
A: We work closely with the retailer’s in-house e-commerce team to provide accurate information. We then make this available in all common formats so it’s easy for retailers to digest, as most retailers have pretty robust content systems in place these days. We also work with our global team of product managers to source additional data should the retailers and customers need it.
Q: Where do shoppers turn for accurate product information?
A: We view our website as a destination for shoppers looking to research our products. We invest heavily in our site’s user experience and ensuring that our product data is accurate. Our website reflects our products, which will in turn affect how consumers perceive us and how they give feedback. However, if a shopper is at the beginning of a decision-making cycle, review platforms and retailer websites are a good source of information.
Q: What products do you think will be big in the next 12 months?
A: I think that we will see a huge increase in smart home technology. We have a product called Arlo. This is our first product offering in the smart home environment. The Arlo is a 100% wire-free home-monitoring solution. With the growth of smart home solutions, people have become more aware of the importance of a robust home network. Therefore, the high-end solutions that Netgear provides will play a huge part of our story moving forward. It’s a really exciting time for Netgear, and we’re looking forward to what the next 12 months will bring for us as a company.
Q: How do you work with other regions to better your online efforts?
A: The online landscape is constantly evolving, and we’re always looking for the perfect formula for our online presence. We meet regularly to discuss online execution and best practices. This is an open flaw environment, where our executives share what has and has not worked for them.
Blog post by Jordan Nowlin, social media and blog manager, ChannelAdvisor