Building an eCommerce Strategy for Manufacturers and CPG Firms
As we continue through the Trellis video series, one recurring theme that we encourage all clients and online brands to stick to is installing a unified approach to your eCommerce strategy. A well-thought-out and holistic strategy that covers all angles of the market will serve your business best as you look to gain a larger foothold in the eCommerce space. Trellis CEO Isaiah Bollinger describes two scenarios and gives advice for Manufacturers and Consumer Product Goods (CPG) firms to encapsulate as much value as possible from their eCommerce ventures. Both types of businesses hold similarities while a few nuances exist to distinguish the two and your plan should cater to these differences respectively.
Within the eCommerce world, manufacturers find themselves in a unique position. They have greater control of the entire process backing their product line. They are able to think of products, make them come to fruition through direct manufacture, and then distribute the product through their own accord. This grasp gives them an advantage over their competitors as they can create a more unified approach to maximize their product distillation. Manufacturers should think of all types of buyers as they redesign their eCommerce strategy. A well-executed eCommerce site will cater to independent consumers, large businesses, and all buyers in between.
Manufacturers can get ahead fo the curve by creating an experience that drives value for all consumer types whether it is b2b, b2c, b2g, etc. Our tips for building an online store hold true here but we want to focus on the fact that integrating all systems into an immersive and highly functioning site is key. Distributing out your business into different sites or buying patterns will only spread your resources thin and create a muddled experience. Synchronize your services and organize them into a single site that shines and represents your brand well. This will not happen overnight. So have patience and make sure to work with eCommerce and development experts to ensure the operation is done right.
Manufacturers need to make sure that their new unified site integrates with the back-office processes. Their unique position comes with extra steps in the distribution process and managing these can be tricky. With that said, it is possible to integrate all facets of the business into a single site so that all your sales tools, data analytics, and back end systems flow and can be managed from a single source. For example, most manufacturers use an ERP system that should be integrated directly within your site.
Consumer Product Goods (CPG) Firms
At Trellis, we work with a lot of CPG firms which due to the nature of their business are quite similar to that of manufacturers. CPG firms have control of their products and distribution. They own the brand and that is the important thing to note whether they actually manufacture the products themselves or license them out. In both cases, products should be designed for consumers and a sweeping trend is for CPG firms to offer D2C offerings on their site. This is a good tip and something all brands should offer, but it is just the tip of the iceberg. For online brands to encapsulate as much value as possible, here at Trellis we encourage businesses to adopt an Omnichannel approach. Going omnichannel allows for the products to reach all ends of the market from consumers to businesses, and even new or existing marketplaces.
Taking the next step to create an experience for all buyer types will bring your product in front of ore eyes and should create a higher level of distribution. We have been discussing the potential for B2B eCommerce for a while now and it is time for manufacturers and CPG firms to catch on before it is too late. Selling to consumers via your online store and marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Walmart is great but many dollars are being left unexplored by selling to businesses. CPG firms should create a holistic approach to eCommerce that integrates with the marketplaces to best capture value for your company.
The goal should be that ANYONE that may be interested in your product can explore its details and purchase it in any quantity directly online. Consumers, businesses, government, and even marketplaces themselves should be able to find you online and easily go through the steps to get said products in their hands. If you create an all-inclusive experience, your consumers will respond favorable and will attract new businesses in different sectors of the economy.