How we help brands select the best strategic retail partners

  • On November 13, 2019

This is the third and final part in our blog article series based on the keynote our experts, Mert Bürian and Yannis Boukas, delivered at the PRS IN VIVO business breakfast. In the first, we covered the evolution of the consumer journey; in the second, how the retailer landscape is changing. Here, we give you a flavour of the tried-and-tested methodology we use to help brands select the right retail partners.

Mert Bürian and Yannis Boukas are both much sought-after as consultants and speakers for their expertise related to brand strategy, eCommerce and digital transformation. If you would like to see the slides this article is based on, please download them here.

Ever wondered why you don’t find Gucci loafers in a Target store, or Heinz Baked Beans in the Harrod’s food hall?

 

Retail partners Example 1

Brands must choose the best strategic retail partner for them – our eRetailer Intelligence Framework and retail expertise allows us to give them all the information they need to make the right decisions.

 

You probably won’t have wondered for long, because you’ll realise that these respective products and retailers aren’t a good fit for one another. 

But in an ever-evolving, complex retail landscape increasingly embracing the Omnichannel, it can be tricky for brands to identify and select the right retail partners.

Here, we reveal the tried-and-tested eRetailer Intelligence Framework that we use to help them make the best decisions.

 

Retail partners Example 2

The eRetailer Intelligence Framework we use to help brands select the right partner is based on decades of combined retail and data analysis expertise – Image source: eBusiness Institute

 

Why do we use the eRetailer Intelligence Framework? 

To succeed in what is a challenging and ever-evolving retail landscape, brands must deploy their resources in the most efficient way possible. They must therefore secure the right Omnichannel partners and strengthen customer relationships if they are to succeed.

In order to develop a winning strategy for retail, brands need a framework to segment, asses, and select suitable retail partners, so that they can establish mutually beneficial relationships and create holistic approaches that will allow them to flourish. 

The eRetailer Intelligence Framework gives us a well-defined approach to the retail landscape that enables us to supply our clients with all the information and insights they need to make the best decisions. 

 

Step 1 – eRetailer segmentation

Instinct and experience will only go so far in helping you make correct decisions. Segmenting potential retail partners according to objectively measurable criteria based on excellent data and insights produces far better long-term results for our clients.

 

Retail partners - eRetailer Intelligence Step 1

What are the qualities and, equally, the limitations of potential retail partners? – Image source: eBusiness Institute

 

The first step in the eRetailer Intelligence Framework is to create and define deeper segmentations for a wide range of global eRetailers by assessing both their respective functionalities and limitations.

The results emanating from this step in the framework give our clients invaluable insights into their potential retail partners – and the ones that they should discard as options.

More and more people doing their shopping online [1] – and, indeed, via mobile [2]. So, it’s important to know how much (or little, as the case might be) the eRetailer has to offer in terms of providing options for brands to supply basic Product eContent (simple product information) and advanced Product eContent (like detailed product descriptions, advanced images and video) that helps shoppers make informed purchasing decisions.

And, what about Retail Digital Media (web banners, paid Retail Search, etc.) that is now such an important catalyst for online sales? 

 

Step 2 – online capability analysis

We demonstrated in our article Do you have a strategy for taking advantage of the Singles Day sales phenomenon? that 90 per cent of product research and shopping takes place on mobile devices takes during the world’s biggest shopping day, Singles Day.

The global market analysts at Forrester anticipate that mobile impacts more than one-third (or more than $1 trillion) of total US retail sales at some point in the customer journey and that purchases made on smartphones will reach $175.4 billion in 2022 [3].

All this goes to show – if you hadn’t caught on already – that excellent mobile experiences are of the utmost importance to today’s shoppers. 

It follows, then, that your retail partner must be able to provide this – and our assessment and benchmarking of their mobile web capabilities is a critical part of ‘step 2’ in our eRetailer Intelligence Framework.

 

eRetailer Intelligence Step 2

Does your potential retail partner’s website have all the tools and capabilities to help drive sales of your products – Image source: eBusiness Institute

 

And there’s so much more besides that we assess in terms of online capability analysis in the second part of the framework.

With the objective of uncovering and defining capabilities that can foster growth for the brand, we match the tools and features retail partner websites have to offer against the brand’s needs, such as payment services and delivery options.

Do they offer PayPal and other secure, universally trusted payment methods? 

Do their delivery capabilities match your own brand’s targeted geographies, standards and ambitions?

 

Step 3 – website analytics

If you’re responsible for making the decision about which retailers to partner with, you’re going to want to know – and feel assured – that your target customer groups are already visiting your prospective retail partners’ respective websites.

So, we analyse and assess not only the volume of traffic their websites achieve, but also the relevance of that traffic.

This is critical because, when all is said and done, it’s vitally important to reach the right audience. Moreover, high engagement level throughout the shopping journey translates into higher turnover.

Our assessment will look at relevant top paid and organic keyword searches (do they have good strategies?), which websites and social media platforms are generating the most traffic referrals (are they relevant to your target markets?).

We will also do a deep dive on eStore analytics, such as visit duration and bounce rate (the percentage of visitors that enter a website and then leave immediately rather than continuing to navigate through the same website – the lower the percentage, the better).

 

eRetailer Intelligence Step 3

It’s not just a question of the volume of traffic that a prospective retail partner’s website might receive – is it relevant in terms of your target audiences?

 

Step 4 – UX analysis

UX (User experience) isn’t merely a buzzword.

It’s essential – particularly in eCommerce settings – because its ultimate aim is to meet and potentially even exceed the user’s (and, in the case of eCommerce, shopper’s) needs. 

User experience plays an important role in keeping shoppers loyal to the product or brand, and in allowing the brand to define consumer journeys that lead to conversions.

 

eRetailer Intelligence Step 4

The quality of the user experience your retail partner provides will play a vital role in helping keep online shoppers happy – Image source: eBusiness Institute

 

So, when choosing your potential retail partner, you need to ensure that the user experience they offer to your customers matches your own expectations. We therefore run a UX analysis for you so that it puts you in the best place to make this decision.

This consists of assessment areas like: ‘how usable is the site?’; ‘is the content relevant to your target customers?’; ‘does it look good from a design perspective?’; and ‘is it interactive?’.

 

Step 5 – 1-1 interviews

The fifth and final step in the eRetailer Intelligence Framework is to conduct in-depth interviews with each eRetailer KAM (Key Account Manager) within the client organisation responsible for the retail partner relationship. 

We do this to get a deeper understanding – beyond the facts and figures – of their approach to online business.

The 1-1 interviews allow us to match each prospective partner’s operational capabilities, Omnichannel approach and sales strategies against the KAM’s expectations.

Our team’s vast collective retail and eCommerce experience and expertise really comes in to play here, as we have the insight to spot where the gaps and shortfalls – and, indeed, the particular strengths – of each potential retail partner might be.

 

eRetailer Intelligence Step 5

The interview stage lends us invaluable insights into how the client thinks – thereby helping us match them with the right retail partners – Image source: eBusiness Institute

 

In conclusion – giving you the insight you need to make the best decisions

We want our clients to ‘win’ online and ensure that they are matched with retail partners that are also winners online.

Our eRetailer Intelligence Framework – based on decades of collective retail and eCommerce experience – allows us to do just that.

 

eRetailer Intelligence Outcome 8

We want to put you in the best possible place to make the right decisions about which retail partners to select – Image source: eBusiness Institute

 

The processes involved give us the ability to spot the best opportunities for brands and judge whether prospective partners have the right strategic approach to the Omnichannel that we know is altering the retail landscape.

The framework gives our clients the insights they need to help prioritise resources and maximise potential return on the investment in chosen retail partnerships.

It also allows us to guide you and give you an action plan for creating a step-change in your eContent or Retail Digital Media. And to pinpoint where operational and efficiency improvements might be made through tailored training programmes that we are able to provide.  

Ultimately, our eRetailer Intelligence Framework gives us all we need to help you select the retail partner that will facilitate your growth and sales success online and in the Omnichannel.

 

To recap, here are the topics we’ve covered in this series of articles: 

 

This article was written and created by the eBusiness Institute team.

 

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We can also, as we have shown in this article, help you to better understand the retail landscape, providing you with effective analysis and actionable insights.

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Sources

[1] https://www.statista.com/statistics/251666/number-of-digital-buyers-worldwide/ 

[2] https://www.adweek.com/digital/mobile-shopping-is-on-the-rise-but-remains-split-between-the-mobile-web-and-apps/ 

[3] https://www.forrester.com/report/2018+Retail+Best+Practices+Mobile+Web/-/E-RES141594

 

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