A Successful Website to Support all Channels
The heart of any successful direct-to-consumer (DTC) strategy is built around a great and effective ecommerce enabled website. Most companies we work with don’t print paper catalogs anymore. They are expensive, their relevance has diminished, and we are all looking for ways to reduce waste and pollution with an eye toward a cleaner planet.
The efforts once invested in catalogs are instead focused on producing fantastic website user experiences full of great images, videos, and graphics. And to maintain the interest of consumers in a fast-changing world, websites need to be designed to be updated monthly as new information and products come to market.
You have essentially two choices when setting up an ecommerce website. You can either design and develop a unique, custom coded website, or subscribe to a website Hosted Solution company. If your web sales are less than 10 million euros, we suggest Shopify for selling directly to consumers. Shopify now has over 757,000 brands selling on websites using their architecture in the US alone. Another common solution is to build a WordPress site and plug in ecommerce capabilities with WooCommerce. If you do not intend to sell any products online in North America, then this can be a good option as WordPress offers robust tools for building visually appealing sites.
Drive traffic to your website
The majority of brands in North America are choosing to sell online, for most of those brands we advise to use Shopify. There are over 500 Shopify compatible apps or plugins to manage ecommerce site functions such as dealer locators, online chat, and secure checkout features, making the platform. We all know that a significant percentage of customers will still purchase products in store, so reaching consumers via online newsletters, social media forms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with interesting images, videos, race results and using your ambassadors or race influencers will help you drive traffic to your website regardless of where the consumer ultimately buys.
Shopify is very flexible, relatively quick to set up, and can be managed day-to-day using skilled DTC staff. This alleviates the need to hire programmers to build expensive, fully custom application programming interfaces (APIs) to accomplish your objectives.
If your company has surpassed online sales of 1 million Euros/Dollars, then you need to consider integrating with your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, e.g. SAP, Oracle Netsuite, etc., as you are likely well on your way to a strong DTC strategy. We find most companies are still just getting started, and if your sales are 1 million Euro or less, we highly suggest the Shopify hosted platform.
The other significant benefit to using Shopify is that the platform can manage the collection of value added taxes, or sales taxes as they are known in the US, which are collected at both the state and city level. The challenge of sales taxes is their variability between locations and collecting them based on where your online customers reside. Sales tax rates vary between states in the US, and cities impose their own sales tax structures. This scenario makes collecting the correct location specific sales taxes an extremely difficult task. Shopify constantly studies state and local tax laws and makes changes to integrate the new fees into their software.
Fraud protection software
The next big DTC hurdle is the integration of fraud protection software. Losses have become another ‘pain point’ for many companies as internet thieves make fraudulent credit card purchases online. Shopify takes on the risk in managing online payments so you don’t have to worry. We have found that the less time you spend on technical issues, to more time you have to concentrate on building a strong and innovative ecommerce strategy.
In the end you want the consumer to trust your site. That gives them the confidence to spend time studying your products, interact with your brand, and make purchasing decisions without worrying about fraudulent practices. Once you get your site built and DTC friendly, it is time to build a successful pathway to purchase. Next Up Part #3: Building a DTC strategy.