The traditional role of a manufacturer has been to produce & distribute products to a distribution network. However, the advent of online retailing and concepts like drop-shipping has blurred the lines to a point where manufacturers are expected to be available directly to retail consumers as well. Direct sales by consumer-brand manufacturers are one of the fastest-growing areas of online retail. Some of the common challenges that manufacturers face when building a direct digital consumer engagement channel are -Managing consumer expectations
Consumers expect manufacturers websites to be one of the primary sources of product information for both pre-purchase research as well as post-purchase requirements. That is why manufacturers’ websites typically have significant consumer traffic. It is important to ensure that the consumers who visit the manufacturer’s website get the information that they are looking for and get a rich perception of products as well as of the brand.
Building a strong first brand experience of their products
The impression about products that consumers get on the manufacturer’s own or on retailers’ websites has a significant impact on purchase decisions. It is important to have a rich, detailed & correct product presentation available across the manufacturer’s, dealers’ and retailers’ websites to establish a consistent brand experience.
Managing technology is not a manufacturer’s expertise
Technology is often a capital intensive department and manufacturers are often weary of getting into an area which they are not experts in. It is important for manufacturers to be able to acquire and manage technology without requiring technical expertise or huge capital investments.
Handling consumers across channels
To add to the complexity, shopping searches on the Internet and mobiles is rapidly becoming a logical choice for consumers. They demand instant, short and accurate information for making informed purchasing decisions. Consumers want manufacturers to be available when it comes to information, shopping guidance or pointers to retail outlets. They might also want buy products directly from a manufacturer. Moreover consumers may get confused if they get different information or experience of products across different channels and hence it is important to have a consistent experience across channels as well.