9 out of 10 companies insist on their own e-commerce solution. That is almost invariably a terrible idea.
The end of brand e-commerce
So you built your fabulous new gadget and now you want people to visit your website and buy it there? Thank again. Even with effective promotions, the conversion rate on your own website may be abysmally low.
The naked truth is that selling only on your own website doesn't work. Consumers hate to register on yet another website and giving their credit card to yet another brand. Again and again, hackers get their hands on these data. They also don't see the point of going through the lengthy process of registration on a site that offers just one specific product. Even big brands fail with their proprietary e-commerce solutions. I don't want to compare that Samsung phone to other Samsung phones, I want to compare it to other brands, so I will always prefer Amazon over Samsung's web shop. For these and many more reason, I usually tell companies not to bother building a web shop. It's much more important to have a retailer strategy.
Examine the customer journey
Consider your own online shopping behavior. I you are like me, you can count on one hand how many times you actually shopped on a brand's website. It's so tedious! Having to setup an account, conjure up another password, give out your credit card details to yet another company and then endure their tedious spam mails until you find the Unsubscribe button - which doesn't work! Please, stop!
We want to shop in retail platforms like Amazon, Alibaba, Taobao, PCHome, Rakuten, because we want to compare, see other offerings, and use the account we already have to get points. We do not want to register on every brand website! Or, we want to actually go to the store and look at a product before we buy it. Very often retailers offer lower prices than brand websites. No website can give you a real feel for a product. And we need the exercise. Besides, I'm not just buying a monitor or a phone today, I also need instant noodles, nappies, chocolate cookies and washing power. I can buy all of that in one swoop on my beloved retailer's website.
That's the very reason most brands shouldn't even bother implementing their own online shop.
You'll still need a website though. A well-designed website is a wonderful platform to inform consumers about product features, new products and upcoming releases. They are a good place to offer services, host your user manual, engage with users, and feed the funnel, as it were. It seems intuitive to also offer a shopping solution, but it is usually a waste of time.
Let customers shop where they want
The best way to combine your brand website with a great shopping experience is a buy-now solution. You can easily connect your brand website with your retail partners and guide highly involved browsers directly to their preferred retailer. With just three clicks, customers can instantly put the product in the shopping cart. We all know how important short click journeys are not to lose the customer on the way. It may look something like this:
Several thousand retailers around the globe already trust connectors that display inventory of online or offline retailers on brand websites platforms, including amazon, Walmart, Staples, Carrefour and many local and smaller retailers as well.
Concerns about transparency and competition are fare outweighed by the benefits of buy-now solutions.
Brand owners may be worried about transparency and competition between retail channels. While those are valid concerns, they are far outweighed by the benefits of giving visitors to your website the chance to buy immediately at their preferred retailer. In our experience, key account managers on both sides (brand and retailer) need to talk about the potential to optimize their relationship. We have customers who use this as part of the yearly marketing support package or to create special partner programs.
You still own the data
Many brands we consult for are afraid that without their own e-commerce solution they will be unable to collect customer data. "But you still can use a loyalty program. Loyalty programs are far more attractive and efficient than just spamming your customers via email," says Laura Laubinger, General Manager of our partner Commerce Connector Asia. Over 70% of customers unsubscribe from brand newsletters within one year of a purchase. On the other hand, rewards always work, especially when you are offering them via a convenient and customer-centric solution.
What's more, buy-now solutions can be made to work with physical stores. So instead of the brand website sending you to PCHome or Amazon, it can also show you outlets in your vicinity where a specific product is available in store. We found that in densely populated Asian cities in particular this is often the preferred option.
In short, if you are currently setting up your new website and want your own web shop, talk to us first. You may want to reconsider. We can help you save a lot of money by using state-of-the art software solutions that actually make your customers happy. And if you already run your own e-commerce solution and wondered why no one uses it, well... now you know.
Ready to improve your online sales? Here's what we can do for you. Geber Digital Marketing Services