Brand control. It’s something you should already be familiar with if you operate in the ecommerce space and are serious about profitability and long-term growth. If you’re not familiar, well, consider this your 101 course.
Pattern’s Chief Revenue Officer John LeBaron hosted a webinar discussing the importance of brand control on marketplace channels and how to achieve it with experts from Atrium Innovations, Vorys eControl, and Borderless Distribution. We’ve summed up the main points for you here, but if you want to immerse yourself in the experience or you need something to distract you while you ride your stationary bike, you can also watch it on our website.
The first thing to consider is the why. Why should you care about who is selling your products on marketplaces? And why should you work to control it?
According to Adam Branfman, eBusiness Director at Atrium Innovations (parent company of Pure Encapsulations), it really comes down to trust. Atrium Innovations’ primary customers are doctors, who also operate a lot on trust with their patients.
“Brand integrity and reputation and relationships with our professional customers, doctors, is critical,” Branfman said. “Anything critical to growth and strategy starts with doctors. We sell our products directly to health care professionals and we rely on them, most importantly, for brand awareness and growth.”
About a decade ago, Branfman said Atrium Innovations had a significant problem with grey market growth, or unofficial sellers selling their products. While it can seem like a boon to brand awareness to have a bunch of people advertising and selling your brand’s product, Branfman said poor brand representation damaged brand integrity and the relationships doctors built on trust.
In short, why should you care about controlling your brand in online marketplaces? Because poor brand representation or worse, poor products (either old or damaged inventory, for example) can ruin the customer experience, thereby eroding your brand reputation.
It can be scary to exercise brand control if you haven’t before. If you decide to switch from 1P to 3P on Amazon, for example, it can be daunting to think about possible revenue loss, and there may be sellers who are unhappy with the control levers you’ve put in place. But doing what’s best for your brand should take precedent.
“You have to understand what your brand objectives are,” Branfman said. “At the end of the day, you have to align with partners that have the same core values. You can’t please everybody.”
Limiting distribution in certain ways to increase brand control won’t decrease demand, Branfman said. Demand will always exist. Ultimately, brand control isn’t about growth as much as it's about protecting valued customers, reinforcing and strengthening relationships that will ultimately lead to brand success in the long term.
Establishing brand control doesn’t have to be all or nothing, explained Whitney Gibson, Partner at Vorys eControl.
“You want to take your levels of control right up to the point where the benefits you’re getting from the control outweigh the burden and the cost,” Gibson said. “I don’t think you necessarily have to limit it down to the point that you’re not getting the exposure that you want . . . there’s just a process.”
Like Branfman, Gibson emphasized that establishing brand control is a matter of building trust, which can be done and sometimes has to be done in steps.
Now that you understand why brand control is important and how it will affect your brand’s growth, it’s time to take control. Before doing anything drastic, make sure you have a plan in place.
Check out our blog to learn more about creating a pricing policy, switching from 1P to 3P on Amazon, and how to protect your brand from channel conflict. Or, if you’re tired of reading after this post and want to get down to business, contact us by filling out the form below. Take control! You got this.
Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces.
Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.
So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.
Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products.
An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.
An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.
Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.
At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services.
It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.
It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.
The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.
Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces.
With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.
Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.