In previous years, many manufacturers had little interest in connecting directly with their customers. They operated in some form of an indirect sales model, selling to other businesses – whom they considered to be their customers – who then resold to the public. However, as a recent Ping article points out, this model is becoming increasingly outdated. Even manufacturers who traditionally maintained only a minimal public online presence are now starting to reach out to their end users online, in a movement being termed “bricks to clicks.”
Simply put, bricks to clicks means taking a business which has traditionally only operated in the offline/real-world space, and opening up new public-facing online outlets. These usually include direct sales options, but can also include other forms of outreach such as social media engagement, or YouTube channels.
For most manufacturers, bricks to clicks initiatives have relatively little risk, and can bring significant benefits. That makes it a smart move for many operations in the industrial space, as long as they aren’t tied down by exclusivity agreements with retailers.
How Going “Bricks To Clicks” Can Benefit Your Business
1. Cost savings
Gaining customers online is almost always less costly than gaining them through traditional offline methods. A functional website is cheap to set up these days, and there are numerous low-cost solutions for online shopping carts and support functionality. Once an online store is established, it has much lower overhead than physical outlets, while streamlining the sales process by cutting out many redundant steps.
2. Gain greater understanding of your core markets
Vendors operating via indirect sales can often be at an information disadvantage. Without much, if any, direct contact with the public, they have to rely on their resale partners for market research and customer reporting. This information may be delayed, or incomplete, or only reflect the particular niche market served by a particular reseller. These can all be serious handicaps for a manufacturer trying to keep up with customer trends and needs!
Reaching out to the public via online sources gives manufacturers much needed direct contact with their end users, allowing them to gather more useful information, and fine-tune their product offerings.
3. Boost customer loyalty
Gaining customer loyalty is more important today than ever before. Buyers have an entire Internet of shopping options in front of them – and chances are there’s someone in the world offering a similar product or service to yours, at a lower price. The best way to combat the threat presented by cut-rate foreign operators, or all-online operations without physical overhead, is by gaining customer loyalty. This means engaging in outreach, customer service, and looking for opportunities to push your total value proposition. Online outlets offer numerous opportunities for this sort of outreach.
4. Find more customers
Of course, the global nature of the Internet can work in your favor as well. With a well-designed website and broad online engagement, you can quickly and easily pull in new customers – potentially from markets where you have no physical presence at all. Combining bricks to clicks initiatives with online training and certification programs can give you most of the benefits of overseas outlets, at a fraction of the cost.
Embracing an Online Presence
Every day, more businesses are realizing that it’s time to get serious about their online presence, and embrace the possibilities in a distributed online business model – but it can be a struggle to properly train and manage their ecosystems during the changeover. LogicBay offers online platforms, tools, and consulting services all designed to make this shift come more easily.
Click our latest asset below, a toolkit that includes comprehensive steps for a pathway to success. This resource bundle provides some practicals steps towards improvement by:
- Establishing the current state of your dealer and distribution network through an internal and external perspective.
- Developing a roadmap for moving forward.
- Aligning all parties through a formal communication plan.