Jon Faber, CEO of Envoy B2B, and Mike Massey, CEO and Founder of Locally, are back at it again with Rick Saez of The Outdoor Biz Podcast for round 2 of their podcast conversation. In this episode, their conversation centered around what retailers really want, the power of brands and retailers working together, the state of tradeshows, and what kind of support brands should deliver to retailers.
What Retailers Want
Since the start of COVID-19, there has been a huge shift towards digital tools as brands had to scramble to find new ways of doing business. However, Jon explains that this digital approach, while needed in the short term, isn’t exactly what retailer’s want.
“I think as a digital B2B company, people expect us to embrace this idea of everything going digital. But that isn’t what the research is showing,” stated Jon. “Honestly, when you look at what retailers want in the terms of our latest research, they’re saying they want personal contact from sales reps.”
In a survey of 6,500 specialty retailers, asking about their recent experience with digital/virtual stand-in events. Envoy B2B found that the overwhelming majority of them said that they want to be able to touch, see, and feel the merchandise before ordering.
Long term, retailers aren’t interested in virtual and augmented reality. Since the pandemic ramped up, brands have been pushing digital experiences to their retailers, creating entirely virtual versions of the sell-in process. But without being able to see the products for themselves and have a personal relationship with the rep, retailers have found it difficult to learn about and get excited for the products they are going to feature in their stores.
“The premise of our research shows that the brands that are going to do well in this next phase of wholesale are the ones that will double down on their rep relationships, their personalization, and their ability to continue personal contact,” explained Jon.
Clearly, it’s important to stay tuned in to what retailers want. Not just what brands think they need to do to connect with their retailers in terms of digital investments.
The Power Of Brands Working With Their Retailers
In the first part of this podcast series, both Jon and Mike touched on why it was so important for brands to support their retailers. In this episode, they continue that conversation. They hone in on the power they see when brands work with their retailers, especially at the start of the pandemic.
Mike explained that “Brands and retailers have to work together more than ever to ensure that everybody remains healthy or it won’t really work. The ones who just saw this [current state] as an opportunity for themselves proved to be counterintuitive. They were the ones that had the hardest times gaining traction.”
Brands that were (and still are) reaching out to their retailers, communicating with them, and making sure they weren’t siloing themselves realized bigger opportunities. Brands and reps who took time to ensure that handoffs were occurring and local stores were staying replenished were the brands that managed to keep their retail partners healthy.
What About Trade Shows?
The future of trade shows is one thing that has been on everyone’s mind. A large number of businesses used tradeshows as a prime selling opportunity, so new digital ways of attending trade shows had to be adopted. In the podcast, both Mike and Jon offer their insights on where they think tradeshows will go in the near future.
“The thing that is occurring that I think is really powerful is this ‘micro-tradeshow’ format, like regional rep shows,” stated Mike. “I think those will gain relevance because they are better curated. Whereas, very large format trade shows are easy to get lost in and are very difficult to make personal connections.”
Jon chimed in and added that smaller shows, experiences, and even one-on-one meetings are where personal buying experiences are happening. More and more retailers are realizing the power of purchasing through a personal experience with their reps. When reps use a B2B platform like Envoy B2B to deliver personalized experiences, it allows the retailers to better envision how a brand can fit within their store. That means a better overall sell-through experience for the brand.
What should brands be offering their retailers?
According to Jon, brands need to be putting priority into delivering personalized experiences to their retailers. These personalized experiences are opportunities for retailers to envision how a brand will fit into their store as well as touchpoints for education and information on how to better sell those products.
There are multiple ways that brands can enable their reps to offer a personalized ordering experience for a retailer. This can include using custom assortment campaigns, content destinations, visual merchandising, digital catalogs, and making sure stores are capitalizing on local on-trend products.
And for brands to make all of those things personal for their retailers, they need to streamline their wholesale channel, create sustainable go-to-market content, and digitally enable their reps through a dynamic wholesale content and eCommerce B2B platform.
Listen to the Podcast!
Want more great insights, tips, and advice on how brands can better support their retailers? Make sure to listen to the rest of the podcast by clicking here.
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