4 eCommerce Tools to Grow Your Direct-to-Consumer Business

By
Johnny Marx
February 22, 2016

Wholesale distributors and manufacturers getting started in the direct-to-consumer eCommerce market can experience impressive rates of business growth. In fact, a recent Forrester survey of 109 manufacturers that introduced a direct-to-consumer online channel reported that direct-to-consumer online sales could amount to 34 percent of total revenue. While that wasn’t a statistically significant survey, it certainly raises questions about new opportunities for growth. One of the challenges that many wholesale distributors and manufacturers face as they move into direct-to-consumer channels, however, is that the eCommerce tools needed to maximize this revenue stream differ substantially from those needed for B2B. The B2C eCommerce market differs from B2B in several important ways. These differences include:

  • Shorter sales cycle: B2B relationships are built to last. Decisions typically take longer and require more information, but these relationships tend to last longer as well, with more repeat purchases and greater loyalty to suppliers. In B2C, decisions are made quickly, often on the spur of the moment. B2C buyers want detailed product information, but don’t require as much personal handholding through the decision-making process.
  • Less loyalty: In B2C, just because a buyer purchases once doesn’t mean they’ll ever do so again. Obtaining loyalty means making sure the website is easy to use, with competitive pricing and an attractive design.
  • More emphasis on the browsing experience: You’ll also need to prioritize your site’s browsing experience, making it not only simple for customers to find what they need, but also to discover new items.

In a nutshell, your strategy for direct-to-consumer eCommerce needs to revolve around helping customers find you, making it easy for them to decide what to buy and follow through with that purchase.

4 eCommerce Tools to Grow Your B2C Channel

1)    Get Found with Google

AdWords and Google

Analytics: Google Analytics is one of the most important tools for any business when it comes to understanding site traffic and determining how to use those results to get more consumers to your site. You can also use Google Analytics to see what’s working and what isn’t within your shopping cart experience, navigation, etc. Another important tool is online advertising. Google Adwords, for example, works on a ‘Pay Per Click’ basis, which means that you only pay for an ad when a potential buyer clicks on it. Furthermore, it provides in-depth insight to help you measure advertising effectiveness. 2)    Keep Customers Satisfied After They Buy with

ZenDesk:

Conventional wisdom says that it costs five times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to retain an existing one. Keeping your buyers happy and resolving any problems that arise should be a top priority. With ZenDesk’s software, you can provide more streamlined customer service for a low monthly fee. 3)    Keep Buyers Engaged with

HootSuite:

Many brands struggle with maintaining a robust social media presence on the social platforms consumers use most. Hootsuite makes this job easier. With Hootsuite, you can schedule messages in a single location across multiple platforms and keep track of engagement. Hootsuite is also inexpensive, with a free plan as well as a more robust Pro and Business plan available for a monthly fee. It’s a great way for companies entering the B2C space to get started with social media management without a big investment. 4)    Bring Buyers Back with

Mailchimp: While social media is important, email still crushes social media on nearly every metric that is important to eCommerce sellers, with nearly three times as many users and conversion rates nearly 40 times higher. Mailchimp is an email-marketing platform that is free to begin using. It offers many features that make it quick and easy to send effective email campaigns that convert. These are just a few of the eCommerce tools you can use to give your B2C online channels a boost. Is your wholesale business moving into the B2C eCommerce market? What tools are making you more successful? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.