Deirdre Breakenridge shows you how to select the best commerce channels to reach your customers.
- You've created a solid foundation of market research and a product strategy for your launch. Now, it's time to create your channel strategy but what is a channel strategy? A channel strategy sets you up to educate and sell your product in places where your customers want to purchase products from you. How do you develop a channel strategy? Well, the first thing is to find the right channels for your new product. Here's a tip. The channels you already have in place may not be right for your new product.
Be open to additional channels that target your customers and create a seamless experience. Think about some of the brands you know. Some only have a couple of channels where they sell their products and others have many. For example, Amazon's primary channel of course is amazon.com. However, they also have affiliate partners. On my author's blog, I'm an Amazon affiliate member. Customers who know me and trust me may be likely to click on banner ads to purchase books.
This gives Amazon channel partners a small percentage of the book sales. Here's another example. Airlines provide several channels where you can purchase your airfare. Sure, you can go on the united.com website and make a reservation through the site. However, there are customers who like to call and speak directly to a representative to book travel. If you have an American Express credit card, you can go to their travel services to book a trip. You can also use a travel aggregator such as kayak.com or expedia.com to find the cheapest flights.
As a part of your go-to-market plan, you want to map out the best channels for your product. Forming a channel strategy requires you to ask and answer a number of questions. The number one question is where do your target customers make purchases? Are they mostly online and feel comfortable about online sales or does your product require a retail store demo before a purchase is made? You also have to ask if your product fits the channel. In other words, if you're selling technology then a call center wouldn't be logical to first get acquainted with your product.
In many cases, customers want to review, test and be in the software environment to start and finish the sales process. Next, you should question the level of interaction needed with customers to complete the purchase. There are cases when you want to speak with someone to gather more detailed information with human interaction beyond a chat box but in some cases, jumping online to quickly purchase computer accessories makes a lot of sense.
Let's face it, Amazon customers don't expect a high level of interaction. What about products that are best demoed in person? Does your customer want to buy a mattress online or will they look for the nearest retail store to lay down on a mattress before they make a purchase? Another question focuses on partners. Would my customers purchase through a partner? If the answer is yes then the partner has to be trusted and provide a good brand experience or the same brand experience they would expect from you directly.
Lastly, make sure you pick the channels where you can create an advantage over your competition. Your channel strategy is an important part of your go-to-market plan. If you think you're ready to explore the channels that are right for your new product then remember to open up the channels that make the most sense for your customers.
- Building your go-to-market (GTM) plan foundation
- Assessing whether you need a marketing or GTM plan
- Entering new markets with a competitive advantage
- Developing your product vision and message
- Setting your product price at launch
- Setting up your channel strategy
- Driving better channel performance
- Evaluating KPIs and metrics
- Storytelling and the customer journey