Retailers are now operating in trade anarchy – Here’s how to take back control

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Today’s brands and retailers are like mice trapped in a maze – the paths they need to take to get their products to consumers are annoyingly difficult to navigate.

“We’ve found a new retailer that carries our brand, but they need product data in a new format.”

“Our target audience spends most of their time browsing TikTok and Instagram, but we don’t know how to format content to be shoppable on those platforms.”

“We want to get into the Metaverse, but we don’t have the human resources or skills for an NFT project.”

These are the kind of pain points that almost all businesses in the retail industry feel. It’s trade anarchy and it needs to be stopped.

What Causes Trade Anarchy?

The number of sales channels and marketing tools has increased so much that it is becoming increasingly difficult for companies to keep up. These channels are evolving rapidly as they constantly update purchasing capabilities and changing product data requirements. just look up Instagram, testing an influencer subscription model, or Shopify, which has partnered with China’s JD.com to enable US dealers to sell to JD’s customers in China.

While the proliferation of marketing and sales channels offers more consumer touchpoints than ever before, the truth is that companies don’t have the right strategies to manage their product information value chains in this ever-changing commerce ecosystem. As a matter of fact, 92 percent of Australian business decision makers are concerned about the consistency of product information being routed through their current tech stacks.

Most companies take a step-by-step approach, adding a new platform to their tool suite each time a new problem arises. As a result, their tech stacks have become a jumble of systems that create more problems than they were originally intended to solve. Trying to manage large amounts of product data across thousands of channels in hundreds of markets with multiple systems is impossible – even for the hyperscale commerce giants.

Imagine you are a conglomerate of 40 fashion brands operating in 20 countries and you want to build a consistent presence on TikTok. Are you trying to manage 800 accounts? How do you ensure product information is accurate and up-to-date in these new accounts, as well as the other accounts spread across Pinterest, Facebook, Google, Snapchat, and Twitter? It’s not hard to see how the retail industry is exposed to the anarchy of commerce.

What are the implications for trading companies?

This is a high-risk game where consumers expect a convenient, smooth shopping experience. If trade anarchy is not tamed, it can lead to misaligned information at customer touchpoints, which could have a serious impact on brand loyalty. Even the smallest of mistakes, like an unflattering image, a misplaced decimal point, or a misleading product description, can destroy hard-earned customer trust. Companies that have spent years building customer relationships have watched their once-loyal customers churn to their competitors. According to Raconteurs Future of Retail report, out of 100 shoppers who visit you online, 70 leave without buying anything.

How can companies regain control?

As technological advances herald a new era in retail, companies looking for sustainable future growth are best advised to radically rethink their entire value chain. In particular, they should look at how they bring their products to consumers. Instead of continuously optimizing a system here and there, companies should take a completely new approach to the path that product information takes from the supplier to retailers, marketplaces or social media platforms to the buyer. Known as the Product Information Value Chain (PIVC), this pathway must allow free flow of data end-to-end so that product information can be routed back to suppliers in the form of customer feedback or returns.

Noting that most current tech stacks prevent product data from flowing smoothly across PIVCs, analytics firm Constellation Research has identified a new market category: Product to Consumer (P2C) management.

P2C management streamlines the path that product data takes between suppliers and buyers, eliminating the need for up to 50 different applications within an organization. Rather than relying on multiple different solutions to tackle different trading challenges, P2C management offers a one-stop solution that addresses them all. With a total addressable market of over $11 billion in 2021, P2C has tremendous potential to help companies simplify their omnichannel strategy.

Sustainable US fashion giant EILEEN FISHER is a good example of a brand that has tamed the anarchy of commerce to provide consumers with consistent product information. Using Productsup’s P2C platform, the brand reduced the time it takes to process feeds from several weeks to one day, and they began generating hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue through social media channels.

The emergence of new channels and marketplaces has fundamentally changed the way businesses reach consumers and sell their products. The answer to these changes are strategies that include new holistic and optimized approaches for the management of product life cycles. P2C is the best way for companies to find the direct route through the maze and leave the anarchy to the mice.

To learn more about P2C, join industry experts from Woolies X, THE ICONIC, Coles Liquor, Rendr and Productsup at The P2C World Tour – Australia virtual event on January 26th. to register here.

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