How To Connect Directly With Your Customers
By Jeff Ashcroft
Vice President, Business Development, MonarchFx
For brands to succeed in The New Retail world they must seize control of their own destiny. “The New Retail is the complete integration of online, offline, logistics, and technology into a single value chain that places customer centricity and convenience above all else,” stated Michael Zakkour, VP with Tompkins International.
One of the challenges faced by major Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) brands is in sustainably standing up their own online business. Even the largest of CPG brands have a limited range of Stock Keeping Units when compared to major retailers and marketplaces. It is easy to understand why consumers do not want to go around to multiple CPG brand websites to order individually products. New solutions such as Google Shopping Actions are consolidating the front end of this process by providing unified shopping cart functionality across multiple brands and retailers.
However, in order to unify this challenge, the back-end supply chain requires a Unichannel logistics approach, which not only unifies fulfillment across these multiple retail and brand sites, but also across all of the channels these retailers and brands use to go to market both wholesale B2B, B2C, and DTC (Direct to Consumer).
Unichannel Customer Experience
As highlighted in The New Retail definition above, a fully integrated, single, or unified customer centric approach is required to provide consumers with a Unichannel Customer Experience.
In order to achieve a Unichannel Customer Experience brands need to utilize a Unichannel Logistics Partner, as no company on their own can cost effectively roll out the needed network to support these requirements. Even the largest companies will require an extension of their network.
What is a Unichannel Logistics Partner?
One of the key methods of delivering an effective Unichannel logistics solution is using distributed logistics to help retailers and brands get closer to their stores and customers.
As one of the first companies to productize and provide end to end distributed logistics, numerous people have asked, and continue to ask, what type of firm is MonarchFx?
Are you a third party logistics provider? Are you a fourth party logistics provider? We are a bit of both and much more. To learn more, feel free to check out "How You Can Get More from a Unichannel Logistics Partner" which takes a deeper dive into the benefits of unichannel logistics.
In addition to unifying logistics across all outside channels and marketplaces, now is also the time for brands to bolster their own online position with consumers. This may sound simple; brands must now think and innovate deliberately with the intent of giving consumers reasons to buy directly from them online. The bottom line is that you need to come up with a compelling answer to the question why customers should buy directly from your brand.
1 - Personalization - Opportunities for consumers to personalize products in many potential ways for themselves and or others on a gift giving basis. A current example of this My Baby Dove Personalization Program.
2 - Subscription - There are many examples of successful online subscription services including Dollar Shave Club, Frank + Oak, and others. There is likely no better way to connect with your customer than signing them on for a subscription to your products either directly or perhaps gifted to them.
3 - Customization - Looking across your entire stable of brands, whether private label in retail or parts of major CPG stable of brands, ask yourself what current customization options could we provide to consumers. Or perhaps are there new ways we could introduce product extensions that do not currently exist to introduce the potential for customization.
4 - Curation - As major brands have hundreds if not thousands of brands and products within these brands, there are ways these can be curated either by the brand or even by the consumer themselves to generate more significant multi-piece online orders. Think specifically about product relevant to holidays or events. Or alternatively allow the consumer to curate and buy their own collections of products creating a customized curation rewarded through multi-item purchase discounts.
5 - Cross Company / Brand Curation - Actively analyze and identify how your products might interact with the products of other brands and then develop targeted cross company multi-product curation offerings.
6 - Stores and / or Pop Ups - Evidentiary proof continues to grow relative to the related online sales uplift available from brand bricks and mortar stores and / or pop ups when properly executed.
7 - Unichannel Logistics - Investigate how Unichannel logistics can unify your disparate supply chains across all channels, giving you back control over the connection to consumers and related data, to ensure your business remains your business.
As the world of The New Retail continues to emerge business as usual will not work. There is a growing need to explore ways of connecting directly with your consumers and not just through predatory channels. Transforming your brand for success in The New Retail is paramount to brands achieving sustainable long-term growth and survival.