So, you’re thinking about starting your journey from B2B to D2C. Congratulations! It’s a great move to make for many manufacturing businesses. But where do you begin? How do you assemble all the necessary strategic pieces? And how do you do all this without creating conflicts within your existing channel and harming your distributor relationships?
The great news is, as a manufacturer, you already have the products. You’re reading this, so you already have the motivation, too. Let’s jump right in and take a look at how you can take your manufacturing business from a B2B to a D2C model.
The world has changed. Over the last few years, e-commerce innovations have accelerated. Now, manufacturers have all the tools they need to leapfrog intermediaries and reach out directly to consumers. At the same time, consumers have embraced the convenience of e-commerce. For manufacturers, the promise of selling directly to consumers has become an achievable reality.
Let’s explore the main pillars of a successful D2C strategy, these are:
Understanding your target audiences is key to the success of your D2C endeavours. Any campaigns that you run need to connect with your audiences.
However, up till now, your distributors have been holding all the information on your end users. Plus, you’ve probably spent a lot of time and effort building and maintaining strong relationships with distributors and other channel intermediaries. You want to maintain those relationships while testing the viability of your D2C setup.
As a result, you may want to consider your D2C journey with a customer segment that doesn’t have much distributor penetration. Perhaps it’s a new audience that you’ve found through your existing research and audience data insights. Or maybe you have a new product line that has yet to bed in with your current intermediaries. Either way, these are great places to start.
Once you’ve identified your target market, initiate further research to drill down into the detail. Use your B2B marketing know-how and overlay it onto your chosen consumer demographic. Start with marketing personas, consumer demographics, purchasing behaviours, social media habits and marketing preferences, and take it from there.
And if you need some help transitioning from B2B to consumer marketing, make sure you secure the help of a consumer-focused agency. Your existing B2B agency may not always be the right choice.
By creating a D2C storefront, you’ll have a much better picture of what your customers really want. You’ll gain key insights into the products your buyers are searching for and the products they can’t locate.
You might want to begin by research your competitors’ D2C sites. Identify the techniques they use to appeal to their prospects and customers, sign up for their promotions and newsletters, and explore their social media approach. Go on, get inside their skin., but do it anonymously.
This is all great background, but also think beyond your own industry. Gather inspiration from D2C brands you admire. Ask yourself:
Use your answers to think about the broader design landscape of your own site’s potential. These will form the building blocks of your e-commerce offering.
Yet consumers want more than just a solid experience. They want to be guided through the purchase process in a way that feels effortless. They also want to be entertained and to feel good about their purchases.
To attract and keep these customers, you’ll need to work alongside an experienced digital agency. They will be able to carve your online inspiration and aspirations into a tangible and robust e-commerce offering that you can be proud of.
Here’s some more good news. With the right D2C e-commerce solution in place, you’ll be able to connect your warehouse operations directly into your online sales processes. You’ll also stay in control of online payments, safeguarding the privacy and security of your customers’ information.
Did we mention that consumers will also want to pay using their preferred payment provider? Whether that’s a credit or debit card, PayPal, Google Pay, Apple Pay, Stripe, Klarna, or something else, you’ll need to have it covered. And with the right system in place, that won’t be a problem.
All these elements are critical for building trust and confidence with consumers. With an advanced e-commerce platform and the right research, you’ll be well on the way to making it in the D2C world, reducing your costs, increasing your profit margins and securing a better understanding of your end users.
To learn more about building your D2C advantage, for expert advice on the best route for your business, or just to get to know us a little better, why not get in touch and we can talk you through the detail. Or you might just want to wander through our blogs and whitepapers to get a feel for things yourself. Whatever works for you, works for us.