Change for the sake of change doesn’t make sense. But change for a better buyer experience, greater efficiencies, and increased sales?
That’s something to embrace.
To compete in a changing retail environment, you need a wholesale/retail strategy that gets your brand out of the past and propels you into a better, brighter future.
Retail Is Changing
The retail landscape has changed. Big-box stores are struggling, closing locations around the country. Several big chains have even gone bankrupt. In a way, none of this is surprising: it’s a retail model built on razor-thin margins and high volume, requiring brands to create cheaper version of their products, depreciating a brand’s value and image. Under Armour, for example, is taking a big hit right now because it’s been focusing too much on this strategy.
And remember those margin and volume problems that you get with big-box stores? Well, the big e-commerce industry (think Amazon) has them, too. In addition, there may be other hurdles that brands have to get over in order to support products. These retailers are big enough to try to dictate the relationship that they have with brands.
Going At It Alone Is Dangerous
One alternative for brands who don’t want to go the big-box route is to shift their focus to direct-to-consumer. This might look lucrative at first, but the danger is that brands underestimate their cost of customer acquisitions, leaving their other retail partners out in the cold.
And remember those margin and volume problems that you get with big-box stores? Well, the big e-commerce industry has them, too. In addition, there may be other hurdles that brands have to get over in order to support products. These retailers are big enough to try to dictate the relationship that they have with brands.
The result, sadly, is one big “race to zero,” where brands essentially engage in a downward bidding war to have the big e-comm outlets put their products front and center or carry their products at all. In addition, brands wind up competing against their retailer partners with their own direct to consumer website. Ibex did this—and went under as a result.
Start Supporting Your Specialty Retailers
So what’s a brand to do? Aim for specialty retail. It’s a growing sector and the one with the largest potential upside. The trick is being able to service these retailers well. Because specialty retailers are small practically by definition, there are a lot of them—and they each expect the same type of unique touch from their vendor partners as they provide to their own customers.
Your brand needs a modern approach, then, to satisfy their expectations while still staying efficient. And that’s a “digital first” approach.
Modernize Your B2B Solution
You need a solution that will reduce the costs of servicing your wholesale channel and at the same time provide a rich experience for your retailers, leading to increased order volumes. Otherwise you won’t be able to satisfy their evolving expectations. Specialty retailers demand constant and easy access to orders as well as all of the assets that support the assortments they carry.
They also expect clear and concise F&B messages that they can relay to their customers. After all, their customers come to them for their expertise, so you need to make your retail partners “experts” on your products in order to win with them. Your marketing content needs to be accurate and up to date, as well as interesting, engaging, and timely. We call it a content destination.
Envoy Is The Premiere Modern B2B
Envoy’s content and commerce B2B strategy will build loyalty in your wholesale channel through education, engagement, and easy order capture. Of course, it’s not just a platform—we’ve got an entire team here to support you right from the start. Your company can enjoy the same kind of success that big players like Wolverine Worldwide and Converse are having.
All you have to do is decide that you want to realize your potential.
By: Mark Troast
VP eCommerce Enablement
With 13 years of experience in solution enablement, Mark Troast uses his considerable experience to represent clients' interests while planning and executing the implementation of the Envoy platform.
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Envoy B2B is a wholesale content and eCommerce platform for your entire team. Our tools and services are designed to help you create dynamic content, increase your speed of sale, and bring you closer to your retailers. Envoy B2B provides the technology you need to empower your sales reps and support your retail channel.