November 7th, 2011

‘Competing’ against the manufacturer

by Kim Lannou

It’s always tough when the manufacturer sells direct to consumers, and often times you may feel as a retailer you are ‘competing’ against the manufacturer, but this can also be a moment to sit back, take a look at your site and current marketing strategies and view this as a window of opportunity. This is the time for you to make your site, services and products stand out from the manufacturer, but in a clean, professional way.

To help jog some ideas on what you can do for your company, below are just a few things to help you stay ahead of the curve in selling:

1.    Loyalty Plan/Incentives:
Although you may not be able to control the price of a product, here you can control incentives—such as free shipping, promotional deals, discounts…etc.

2.    Build Local Loyalty:
If you have the advantage of having a brick and mortar store in addition to an online shop—take advantage of this and help build the loyalty among the locals. You can seek out local resorts, tour companies, hard goods stores…etc. and have them help promote both your physical store and online store.

3.    Exclusive Products/Cobranded products:
Depending on the agreement with your manufacturer, you may carry exclusive products not available on their store, or you may be able to cobrand the products for your location—play up on this if you are able to benefit from exclusivity. Promote this on your website, blog, Facebook page…etc.

4.    Website Enhancement:
Now is the time you can beef up your website and make it have that ‘cool’ factor that the manufacturer’s site may not. You can add comparison tools, rating feature, testimonials on people who purchased a product from your site and how they rave about your customer service…etc.

5.    Ramp up Social Media:
There is so much you can do here! First thing’s first, if you have a Facebook page, make sure it is promoted on your site. Add  ‘’ and additionally add the Facebook ‘likes’ to each product page to help boast and promote your site through social media. You can make your Facebook and site more interactive—offering a purchase discount when ‘liking’ or a Facebook contest to help boost your likes. Once you get a ton of likes established, you can consider selling your products on Facebook. You may even consider Facebook Ads to help generate likes or conversions/transactions.

6.    Online Outlets:
Perhaps in addition to selling on your website, you can look into selling utilizing different outlets, such as Amazon that already reaches a huge amount of interested buyers.

7.    Email Marketing:
Reach out to those that have previously purchased from you—collect email addresses via online store opt-in/purchases, physical store and Facebook and use these emails to send new product updates, discounts and specials.

The above just barely scrapes the service on things you can do as a company, especially with the upcoming holiday season. If you are interested, contact us and we are happy to take a look at your company, consult further and help with implementing any of the above ideas.