The digital landscape is changing. The growth of online and the development of digital technology is changing customer expectations. This requires organisations to take a fresh strategy or approach to simply be able to reach their customer. Being able to understand your customer mindset is crucial. But, as we know, difficult.
For many manufacturers, the traditional way of selling through retailers has been the route to market. However, with the increasing importance of brand and customer-centricity, it’s crucial for organisations to communicate directly with the end customer.
Going straight to the consumer comes with its own problems of competing directly with retailer channels, however embracing both a B2B and B2C strategy is absolutely possible, a common term for this strategy is ‘B2B2C.’ Organisations must consider how they are exploring strategies and investing in technology to close the loop in order to reap the benefits of direct customer contact whilst leveraging the retail network of their partners.
What challenges are organisations facing?
Organisations are having to overcome many different challenges in order to succeed in operating with a true customer centric B2B2C business model.
Channels and platforms
With the increased number of channels and platforms to consider its important that’s organisations choose the best channels that support their business and relationships. Once they have chosen their channels its essential that they are consistent in there offering.
The way people shop is changing. Consumers are increasingly moving to shopping using online channels. But, not only are consumers increasingly shopping online, they are also beginning their product searches and research online. This is obviously contributing to the decline in the high street and we have seen the loss of many well-known brands.
But it’s not all doom and gloom for the high street. The store is still pivotal to the shopper experience and provides an opportunity to convert showroomers or drive online purchases.
Pricing and promotions
Price monitoring is fundamental for any organisation. Consumers have never been as price conscious and spend time searching for the lowest cost options.
Opportunities to sell directly to consumers whilst utilising the B2B channels for bargaining power is a good way of increasing a margin.
Digital technology can be a major differentiator in a customer’s choice. Having the right technology in place can truly benefit your business but knowing which ones to invest in can be tricky.
Not only can technology help with solving customer problems, e.g chat bots but having the right features that recommend products at the right time. It’s important as an organisation to be using technology to your advantage, whether that be having a tailored SEO proposition or using your website cookies in the best way.
Ensuring you have brand consistency is key. This will drive loyalty and in return means consumers will be willing to pay a higher price. This consistency needs to expand beyond just digital channels, it needs to include all retail channels.
The market area of B2B2C is becoming increasingly competitive. With the giants of the industry such as Amazon and ASOS dominating the space. They have the supplier relationships and can offer consistently lower prices especially when it comes to things like postage pricing and returns.
Looking beyond traditional B2B models
Being able to look beyond the traditional B2B model landscape is essential in the current economic climate.
Many organisations recognise that they will need to move beyond a traditional bi-lateral B2B strategy and start to engage with consumers directly (direct to consumer or D2C). Organisations need to do more than just give retailers their products, they must do more to engage and inform their customers.
To get this proposition right, there are lots of areas in between that need to be considered. An organisations website is a crucial platform for the retail/ manufacturing industry – whether that be a brochure style or an e-commerce.
Whatever the approach, customer centricity is key. Overall customer satisfaction is vital and it reverts back to how organisations can reach the consumer, close the loop and increase demand for products through a B2B2C strategy.
A successful B2B2C strategy will give the benefits of direct customer contact whilst leveraging the massive retail network of an organisations partners.
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