Many brands rely a great deal on their retailers, especially companies that have traditionally sold their products physically. The future is in for a major shift. More companies are deciding to take control of their own brands and to communicate directly with their end customers. The journey onto the internet not only has a positive impact on companies, but stronger brands also benefit retailers.
An increasing number of companies are wrestling with the issue of taking greater ownership of their own brands, digitally, without ending up in conflict with their retailers.
Digitalization and the rapid rise of e-commerce have resulted in B2B and B2C companies suddenly being able to talk directly with their customers and strengthen their own brands. In spite of this, many rely on their network of retailers and hesitate to take the step to go fully digital. In the opinion of Fredrik Hrdlicka, Sales Executive of the Litium e-commerce platform, companies need to take control of their brands and invest in their digital platforms if they want to continue to be competitive.
“Companies that have a long history of physical commerce and who have had close collaboration with retailers are especially likely to hesitate when it comes to a new way of relating to their end customers. Nowadays, you can only keep existing customers and attract new ones if you go digital. By selling directly to the end consumer, you can relay a different feel around your brand than your retailers can, and you can show so much more,” Fredrik explains.
Platform an important tool
By owning your brand, you have the opportunity to reach new markets. Through the internet, companies can aim their marketing efforts to their end customers by communicating directly with them. And in this, your digital e-commerce platform is an important tool.
“Our platform supports and manages all types of information about customer products and works like a hub from which you can send information on to a number of channels, the right way. Not only on e-commerce and the internet, but also on social channels, market places, apps and physical catalogs. We give companies the chance to build their brand as well as to strengthen their relationships with customers and retailers, both of whom can shop on one and the same platform.”
“Strong branding, together”
“Many parties worry that there will be channel conflicts, that one will cannibalize the other, and that they might damage their relationships to their retailer network. It is a matter of being clear on the reason for taking the step into digitalization and highlighting the advantages both parties will benefit from by strengthening the brand,” Fredrik explains. For the lighting wholesaler By Rydéns, being transparent with their retailers throughout their digital journey was a key factor. Thanks to Litium’s digital platform, not only do they reach their end consumers, but they can also provide better support to their network of retailers.
“On our digital journey, we focused on B2B and building a strong brand together with our partners. We have been totally honest when communicating with our physical retailers and have clearly pointed out that we were not trying to compete with them. Our digital platform helps us both in that we can understand the digital behavior of our consumers and ideally direct traffic,” says Jonas Frykman, Sales Manager of By Rydéns.
Direct contact through social media
RevolutionRace, selling sports and leisure wear online, took a different tack. From the very beginning, they owned their own brand without collaborating with retailers. The driving force for the company was to inspire and be creative, and the company has direct contact with their customers primarily through digital channels.
“We were made aware that very few retailers wanted to invest in the colorful clothes we sell, which we saw as a roadblock for creativity in our brand. But with the power of social media, we reach our customers directly and involve them in inspiring new collections. Through direct contact, you gain a whole new level of control. We believe that's the future. It has been a success story for us. With Litium’s platform, we are now outgrowing our Nordic boundaries and expanding onto the international market,” says Pernilla Nyrensten, CEO of RevolutionRace.
Fredrik Hrdlicka explains that regardless of how companies decide to position themselves, whether with or without retailers, they need to be proactive in developing their digital branding strategy.
“Companies create their own destinies. You can't sit around a wait and only be reactive. Your brand will be all the more important, a means of power even, so you have to stay a step ahead,” he concludes.