ChannelAdvisor steps into the Provider Spotlight
In this, our third Walmart Marketplace Provider Spotlight, we feature expert advice from ChannelAdvisor. With almost two decades of eCommerce success, this full-service solution provider offers one streamlined solution to guide marketing, selling and fulfilling activities. Thousands of customers depend on ChannelAdvisor to securely power their sales and optimize fulfillment on marketplace channels. Here, they offer advice for manufacturers who want to begin direct-to-consumer sales on marketplaces like Walmart’s. Read on to get some great tips, and then head to their site to learn more about the services they offer Walmart partners.
Set yourself up for direct-to-consumer success
Direct-to-consumer sales has become a big focus for many manufacturers in recent years. And as a manufacturer, if all signs indicate now’s the time to start selling direct-to-consumers on marketplaces, it can be tempting to move forward at full speed.
Our suggestion? Proceed with cautious optimism.
Before you begin developing pricing strategies and listing inventory, it’s essential to lay a little groundwork. It’s not uncommon for a branded manufacturer to dive headfirst into direct-to-consumer (D2C) marketplace sales, only to discover later that the company missed a vital step in the process.
To avoid falling into that trap, here are three foundational elements to address first.
Before you begin developing pricing strategies and listing inventory, it’s essential to lay a little groundwork.
#1: Get internal buy-in
If you’re accustomed to first-party and wholesale relationships, you’ve no doubt spent years negotiating with retailers and meeting supply-chain demands.
Once you begin selling direct to consumers, the demands will be very different. You will have a much different set of needs to meet and consumer behaviors to monitor. Job roles for your employees will change, departments may expand, and the company at large will likely go through internal evolution.
For this reason, it’s important to focus first on getting buy-in from your various business units. Your customer service, legal, logistics, sales, marketing, product, finance and human resources teams will all play important roles. If even one department decides it’s not on board or is unwilling to expand to accommodate direct-to-consumer marketplace selling, it could hinder the entire project.
#2: Address external partners
Once the different internal stakeholders are on board with the decision, it’s time to address your relationships with retailers.
Selling direct-to-consumers on eCommerce marketplaces requires a high degree of sensitivity to your partners. After all, in a way, you’re about to be their competition. And this is not a factor to take lightly. While you need to do what’s best for your brand, you also don’t want channel partners to think you’re trying to “go around” them or don’t care about the relationships.
Take the time to consider retailers’ potential fears, and to craft a message that balances this understanding with the added value you’ll bring to the market. Communicate what your goals are moving forward and how they’ll define your relationships within the context your new business model.
#3: Select the right inventory
Which products should you sell? Deciding the right mix of inventory might feel like a guessing game at first, but you have a few ways to narrow your list.
First, study your marketplace agreements to see which products are eligible. There may be certain products that you’re contractually obligated to sell first-party (1P). Once you determine which products are third-party eligible, prioritize your product catalog and start looking for products that may stand out.
One way to stand out is to bundle together popular products as one SKU at a discounted price. Bundles can amplify an “exclusive” offer that consumers won’t find on your website, but they can also breathe new life into products that may have been sitting stagnant for too long when priced individually.
Next steps for a successful transition
While these aren’t the only hurdles you’ll face, they’re three of the important early challenges. If you want to be successful at D2C marketplace selling, you need to make internal teams and retail partners a top priority from the outset.
Once you’ve addressed these key steps, you can begin to select inventory, then decide how you’ll engage with customers and take steps to optimize fulfillment.
We go into much greater detail on each of these areas in our free eBook: The Manufacturer’s Guide to Marketplace Selling. Our e-commerce experts have packed this guide full of best practices and industry insights based on ChannelAdvisor’s experiences with more than 2,800 sellers across the globe.
This is a guest post from Bradley Hearn, Content Marketing Manager at ChannelAdvisor. Their leading eCommerce platform is used by more than 2,800 sellers to streamline and optimize marketing, selling and fulfilling across more than 100 eCommerce channels worldwide.