Everyone is now talking about selling online, but not all brands understand the online customer.
Some believe that these are miracle sales, that just by uploading the products on some platform, they will sell themselves with high margins and as if it were a money-making machine that walks on its own.
The differences between online vs. retail consumers are straightforward. The online customer is looking for:
- Time savings in the buying process
- Greater number of choices
- Affordable prices
- Additional product information
- Access where there is no traditional distribution
The retail customer:
- Immediate accessibility to product
- Some improved pricing
- Cash payment methods
In our experience selling products on multi-platforms such as Amazon, Walmart+, eBay, etc., we see that these consumers do not cross paths. Some brands react when they see that online prices are almost triple the in-store prices, but as explained in the points mentioned above, the customer assumes the cost of having access to it. But the published price often already includes shipping costs, credit card transactions, etc.
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On the other hand, ordinary customers ignore the cost of transportation to get to the store and their time value in this process.
A brand must have a complete sales ecosystem, covering a distribution horizon in traditional channels and a digital commercial development, which allows them to cover all the flanks and remain within reach of their regular consumer.
We see in nostalgia products that price is not an issue for them. It is simply a cost they are willing to pay to meet their needs. We see this consistently in essential items such as soaps, which could be substituted by any local brand, up to high-end items. Still, the impulse, brand awareness, and the emotion it generates lead the customer to assume the cost.
For some brands that want to start selling in the U.S. and Canada, online platforms allow them to have a soft entry to open up the market and test the waters on the customer they will be selling to.
In conclusion, online sales management needs to become a priority for both traditional and new entrant brands, offering sufficient information and understanding that one channel does not cannibalize the sales of the other.