Matchmaker, Matchmaker: The Art of Internet Retailer Selection
By Josh Walter, CEO
One of our most important roles is working with manufacturers to identify the right internet retailers for their brands. There’s an art to this selection, and in our experience, less is actually more when it comes to the number of internet retailers you’re partnered with. It’s critical to work with those who not only have the ability to drive volume, but are also an appropriate fit for your brand, where there’s alignment with your target audience. A curated internet retailer selection:
• Maximizes channel revenue and brand awareness
• Ensures brand integrity with your intended audience
• Drives a best-in-class end consumer and trade professional experience
• Increases the ability to maintain MAP Compliance
There are a number of factors to consider when determining whether to partner with an internet retailer – and any one of these factors alone is not enough of a reason to move forward. It’s important to be able to check off several to set your brand up for success.
Does the internet retailer source other competing brands? You want to be sure your brand is positioned amongst “peers” that are in line with your general aesthetic and that the internet retailer has the ability to attract your target audience.
Does the internet retailer carry similar price points as your brand? If your brand doesn’t align from a pricing perspective (think Tom Ford at Walmart) your brand will seem outlandishly expensive and will likely convert far less because your customers simply won’t be shopping there.
Do other categories sold complement your brand and products? It would make sense, for example, for a sofa manufacturer to partner with an internet retailer that also sells soft goods such as pillows and throws – or even other categories found in the home furnishings category. It would make less sense however for the same manufacturer to partner with a retailer that specializes specifically in sports equipment (even if the site traffic was very high).
Speaking of site traffic, there are a host of tools that measure traffic, bounce rates, and consumer engagement. Creating a composite of scores will help determine whether the internet retailer has the ability to drive enough people to your brand to justify your investment in the partnership.
Does the overall look and feel of the site — layout, graphics, fonts — give you the sense that the internet retailer is legitimate and will provide a customer experience that exceeds your expectations? If the site doesn’t feel right to you, and appears dated and clunky, there’s a good chance that it’s not the right fit. Go with your gut on this one.
In this incredibly competitive landscape, the strongest internet retailers usually have outside funding which allows them to: leverage the most cutting-edge technology, attract top level talent across all departments, and provide a best-in-class customer experience. If you find that a retailer only has a few team members, while there are exceptions for very niche players, in most cases, the opportunity may not be worth it.
The benefit of working with a partner such as BrandJump, is that we work with brands across different styles, categories and price points, giving us the insight into how well a brand and internet retailer will fare together. With this vision, we can help manufacturers make informed, strategic decisions that generate the highest possible sales velocity, with the internet retail partners most suited to their brands.