B2C Drop Ship Website
Directly Service End Customers
Historically, manufacturers have relied on their channel partners for their go-to-market strategy. This strategy has removed manufacturers from direct interaction with their end consumer. In the age of the customer, manufacturers are looking for ways to interact directly with the end consumer. A strategic Business-to-Consumer plan including a Drop Ship eCommerce Website solution might be the answer. In most cases consumers go directly to the manufacturers website to research products, so providing consumers with a path-to-purchase at that moment, will drive more business. For manufacturers with strong B2B channel, there might be some concern around disrupting their channel, with the direct market approach. However, when the manufacturer does a Business-to-Consumer Drop Ship Website, they usually do so with a plan to provide their channel partner with payment on the backside of the transaction. This allows the channel partner to get compensated for the order, and be promoted to the consumer as a local location for parts and service in the future. Another key reason this solution is a viable option is that it captures an order for both sides that may have been lost to a competitor in the long run.
Regardless of the reason, the most important thing to remember is that B2C eCommerce experiences often differ from those of B2B eCommerce. Where B2B buyers are generally focused on getting the job done as quickly as possible and coming to a site armed with product identifiers, B2C buyers may want to utilize a more leisurely browsing style experience, looking to compare a few options side-by-side, or may even enter your site via a marketing channel. While B2C customers often have differing ways of navigating or finding your site, they often share similar expectations when it comes to product information and ease of use.
While manufacturers will likely always have B2B channel partners, the need or ability to serve a broader range of customers traditionally not serviced by your existing channels, or who’d prefer to purchase direct is an opportunity many manufacturers struggle to get right. Quite often, manufacturers build a robust channel partner portal or eCommerce experience that wouldn’t fit the need of direct customers very well. Field sales representatives may be able to easily bring samples or arrange demonstrations for their traditional distributors, many direct customers will be simply purchasing online, without a place to go to see or compare models or options.
Your B2B eCommerce portal likely had easy to find information containing industry terms, special language, and product identifiers without too much marketing material and product imagery. This approach isn’t ideal for direct customers, who through their experiences with other big-box online retailers, have come to expect a different experience. Multiple product images, demonstration videos, ratings and reviews, are just the surface of what the everyday B2C customer has come to expect. B2C merchandisers and marketers also have different goals and tactics they need the eCommerce experience to support. Often-times marketers will want to create an ad-hoc and temporary landing page to advertise for an event, or send email-recipients to. Pricing is likely different and somewhat less complex. Marketers also rely on SEO to assist their prospects, who may or may not have name recognition with the manufacturer to find their products, and web analytics to help quantify marketing campaigns and overall website success.
Whereas many B2B eCommerce experiences can have many different pricing options for a single SKU depending on who’s buying, how many, where they are located and how frequently they purchase, most of the time all B2C purchasers are shown the same price. That public pricing is also another marketing mechanism, especially in competitive markets. Manufacturers may have agreements in place to respect MAP (minimum advertised price) if they’re selling a product their channel partners also sell
Reinforce brand loyalty.
Suzie is an avid fitness buff. She runs many miles a week, and when in the winter, prefers to run on a treadmill to avoid the cold. She used to only go to a local gym, because they had best-in-class X-Life Treadmills. She doesn’t like the high costs of the gym to use one machine, so she goes to X-Life’s website and finds she can buy a treadmill for her own home.
Serve previously untapped territory.
Dean loves the look of Jackson Hardware faucets, and wants to purchase them for his own home. However, there are no Jackson Hardware distributors or showrooms in his home state of Montana. He instead can purchase his faucets directly from JacksonHardware.com, and have them shipped directly to him for him to install in his bathroom.