Is your e-commerce brand dependent on Amazon to survive? If you said yes, the time is now to start considering alternatives. The online retail giant is pushing you out with its private labels. There is simply no competing with Amazon in its own marketplace.
Don’t panic, though. There are some options for your brand to remain alive and potentially even thrive independently from relying on Amazon. First and foremost, you need to start building the direct-to-consumer relationship that has become a key for some major e-commerce brands to thrive in the Age of Amazon.
Depending on what’s best for your business, there are many tactics worth deploying to push toward attaining a close relationship with customers. One of the more innovative strategies is crowdsourcing products to determine your next move.
Let’s look at Taylor Stitch, a San Francisco-based men’s apparel company, as our example of crowdsourcing for growth. The brand has created a “Workshop” in which it designs a new product and uses crowdsourcing to determine the demand before manufacturing. A product remains available for purchase in the Workshop for four weeks at a 20 percent discount. If a product hits its funding goal, it’s manufactured and delivered to purchasers. It is then also incorporated into the permanent collection. If a product does not hit its goal, Taylor Stitch may manufacture it anyway or buyers will receive a full refund. Either way, the brand wisely stays in close touch with purchasers throughout the process.
This accomplishes a few things important things in building a stronger relationship with customers. For one, it helps build loyalty by making consumers feel like they are a part of the creation process. Everyone wants to feel important and valued. If they love a product, they’ll let you know. That gives the customer a certain sense of stake in what Taylor Stitch is creating. This process also limits the amount of waste generated in the manufacturing process. The brand isn’t over-manufacturing anything that goes through the workshop. That’s a major selling point with the increasing number of environmentally-conscience consumers today. Additionally, there’s the added value of a discount. Customers know they can rely on receiving discounted quality products each time they come to Taylor Stitch and purchase from the Workshop.
From a revenue standpoint, this is also a useful practice. Taylor Stitch doesn’t have to get rid of or enact a firesale on over-produced products because it doesn’t have any. It also easily gains the knowledge of what is in high demand among its consumers and can plan its future collection and inventory accordingly.
This essentially boils down to making people vote with their wallet. It not only helps build a relationship with customers, but it also helps limit costs. In the Age of Amazon, this is a strategy worth considering for e-commerce brands.