Brands are realising that ecommerce and e-distribution is the way for future growth. Not only it is where the consumers are but given the recent developments and experiences on a worldwide basis, brands are realising that they need to find alternate sales channels that are not only dependent on physical brick and mortar distribution
One of the areas that a brand can consider is to create a sales channel merge its influencer marketing with real ecommerce
How would this work?
Influencers setup by the brand to talk about the brands products in the online world can be provided technology whereby they can also have an online shop which is under their name.
The payment collection and the fulfilment for this influencer online shop can be a central ecommerce backbone that is setup by the brand in partnership with a specialist ecommerce services company.
Once the consumer is informed about a product by influencer, the influencer would give the consumer choice to make a purchase from a web store which is branded for the influencer. At this point, this branded store would only have products of the brand that has partnered with the influencer. It may have one or more SKUs irrespective of how many SKUs the influencer is promoting.
The consumer then follows the influencer’s blogs or articles or media presence to the web site which is personalised for the influencer or blogger. Here, the consumer makes a purchase and is informed about the transaction being done through a central ecommerce services partner under whose name the payment is collected and consumer invoice is raised. Thereafter the order is processed centrally and goods sent out to the end customer.
The above is a good way for a company to close the loop on its influencer program as well as enable ecommerce on the influencer’s ecommerce store.
There is another alternate way to approach this which is as follows:
The brand appoints the influencer’s as their franchisees and the influencer holds the inventory with themselves. In such cases, the influencer could be assisted in setting up an online store with the brand products inside and orders would be taken and processed and fulfilled by the influencer themselves.
Under this process, the influencer is actually the retailer whereas the brand is providing a platform and ability for the influencer to hold the inventory and sell and fulfil the same to the end consumer.
The brand can support the influencer in the following ways:
1. Help the influencer setup the online store
2. Provide guidance and advise on management of the online store
3. Provide common support services like logistics, product pickup and delivery and product returns to the influencer
Most influencers may not like to go down this path because they are not ecommerce businesses and would not like to carry the operational workload that comes with such an arrangement.
Hence, having an influencer ecommerce store which simply processes the transactions but is fulfilled by a third party specialist ecommerce services company would be a preferred route for the brand.