One of the phases consumers go through in buying journey before making a decision – research. However the importance of providing consumers with accurate information through digital touchpoint and purchase opportunities is often overlooked.
The quality of product information often varies wildly on many websites and even more so on retailers’ websites. This has created an increasing demand for more information among consumers. That offers an opportunity to branded manufacturers to add more value to their potential customers. Go beyond the basics and ensure that provided information about the product is complete and detailed.
Branded manufacturers demonstrative expertise helps build an authenticity surrounding their product. This builds trust among digitally savvy consumers and makes them ready to buy. Forrester Q&A report by Michelle Beeson notes:
“Expertise and authenticity drive consumers to buy directly from brands.”
Imagine you’re a leading manufacturer brand that worked really hard developing deep, rich content to satisfy consumer’s product research. Consumers visit your website.
So what happens next after consumers have experienced your content?
As a brand you’ve finally got consumers where you want them: they’re on the website, they’ve enjoyed a positive customer experience so far and are ready and willing to buy. But what happens next?
For most manufacturer brands it seems the answer is: nothing. Consumers are likely to leave their website to either purchase their product somewhere else or buy a similar product from a competitor.
In the end, you just don’t know what happened. Your skilfully managed customer experience has collapsed at the crucial point of sale and you’ve lost all control over it.
Michelle Beeson from Forrester also adds a note of caution in her report:
“In 2017, just 5% of US online adults said that their most recent purchase occurred via the website of a branded retailer or manufacturer.”
Many of the world’s biggest brand manufacturers are still not selling directly. Some of them don’t connect customers to retailers through their websites at all.
Don’t worry though, the same report notes that not all branded manufacturers ‘need to implement fully fledged direct-to-consumer e-commerce’. Luckily there are other tactics and solutions in the market that can help branded manufacturers with their D2C strategy.
Brands such as Kärcher are now working with ‘Where to Buy’ solutions from Hatch to help their consumers during the buying process. Kärcher’s Strategic Online Marketing Manager
“The solutions Hatch offers for Kärcher, and our website, significantly improves the customer experience. Now we can offer them multiple retail channels directly on our web-shop. This empowers our customers conduct product research on our website and decide where to purchase the product.
Furthermore, Hatch’s solution offers us a great analysing tool. We can monitor how customers get to our website, for example, via our online campaigns, and if/where they eventually purchase our product. Even when they decide not to purchase it in our webshop, we can now track where they choose to shop instead and if a purchase is eventually occured. with Hatch we have a better ROI insights for our online campaigns. Hatch provides us with valuable data about our retail channels, target groups and customer profiles.”
What are Where to Buy solutions and what benefits do they bring?
Where to Buy solutions allow brands to add a ‘buy now’ functionality to their digital touchpoints – such as product information web pages and digital campaigns on different advertising channels like: social media, Google Ads and online banners. This tool helps to connect consumers directly with the correct product page(s) on their retail partner websites.
Where to Buy Online solution can display additional retail information like real-time prices and stock availability. Branded manufacturers get better insights on the customer journey, from first click to final purchase:
Hatch’s Where to Buy Online solution enables branded manufacturers to benefit from a complete D2C e-commerce platform by connecting brands with retailers and creating a clear path to purchase for consumers without the costs and logistical headaches associated with setting up and running such a platform.
To summarise, branded manufacturers’ digital touchpoints are one of the most important destinations for customers to obtain product information. However, while researching products consumers are expecting detailed, expert information as well as buying opportunities with accurate prices, stock availability. Keep in mind that once they’ve purchased they’re also expecting market-leading aftersales support. This is an important step to consider when choosing a D2C strategy.
Are you ready to start satisfying the demands of your customers before, during, and after they’ve purchased something from you?