Consumer brands are striving to maintain their identity, even as they face common challenges relating to modern-day e-commerce fulfillment. Matt Barr, senior director of product strategy with Geodis, explains.
So many factors today are beyond the control of consumer brands, who are nevertheless required to managing ever-increasing customer expectations of service. “It all comes back to the fact that you need a very nimble operation,” says Barr. “The challenges are just too unpredictable.”
Many of the problems that brands face today were well in evidence before COVID-19 struck. Over the past two years, however, they’ve become amplified. Chief among them from a brands perspective is the rise to power of Amazon.com, which threatens to undercut brand identity and customer loyalty due to its highly efficient storefront and marketing muscle.
It’s possible to sidestep Amazon and grow brands outside that e-tailing giant, with the help of alternative platforms such as Shopify. “They make it as easy as possible from the back and front end for brands to create the customer loyalty that Amazon doesn’t provide, because to us as consumers it’s all transactional,” Barr says. When shopping on Amazon, “we’re not looking at the brand.” (Unless, of course, that brand is Amazon itself, which further saps the power of traditional brands by selling similar products at a discount through a raft of private labels.)
The dilemma is even more serious for small and emerging merchandisers, which lack the resources and name value of long-standing brands. Rather than rely on traditional advertising channels such as TV, they’re turning to social media to get their message out. In the process, they can target specific types of customers who are most likely to buy their products — and, in the process, avoid the Amazon behemoth.
Timely, incisive articles delivered directly to your inbox.