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    August 10, 2020
    4 minute read

    Best Practices for D2C Technology Strategy | Salsify

    by: Jason Fidler

    Brand manufacturers must think about their technology strategy while attempting to balance the desire to go direct-to-consumer (D2C) and managing continued market uncertainty. But how can this be accomplished successfully?

    Jordan Jewell, research manager for digital commerce and enterprise applications at International Data Corporation (IDC), answers this question in a recent D2C Strategy Playbook session.

    Jewell outlines considerations for brand manufacturers looking to optimize their technology stack and how they should determine the technology that best fits their needs out of the many options available to them.

    Interest in D2C Continues to Grow

    Interest in D2C has exploded in recent months. Besides pandemic-related overall ecommerce acceleration, Jewell highlighted that a brand’s website is often the “gold standard” in product information.

    Content, product pictures, and information associated with each SKU tend to be the most up-to-date on a brand’s website instead of third-party (3P) sellers. There are numerous aspects that brand manufacturers need to consider before investing in D2C. However, Jewell noted that too often, brands don’t take the time to determine what their goals are with D2C.

    They may also run into conflict with existing channel partners or internal teams who don’t understand the value in D2C and are unfamiliar with what changes need to happen for it to be effective.

    Then, of course, there is the technological complexity. According to Jewell, there are over 100 vendors offering commerce solutions. Among this sea of competing vendors, how can brand manufacturers ensure they choose the right one for their business and their goals?

    The 4 Categories of Commerce Technologies

    To that end, Jewell has segmented the commerce technology market into four categories: agility-, functionality-, content-, and architecture-led. Each category boasts a set of vendors with particular strengths and weaknesses that need to be considered by brand manufacturers as they determine the best fit for them.

    Category 1: Agility-Led

    • Representative vendors: BigCommerce, Shopify, Squarespace
    • Pros: The key to agility-led vendors is their speed and efficiency. According to Jewell, they are relatively inexpensive, don’t require developer assistance, and brand manufacturers can get them up and running in about a month.
    • Cons: These vendors also tend to offer less functionality and customization. They are also not known for their enterprise-grade capabilities.

    Category 2: Functionality-Led:

    • Representative vendors: Oracle, Salesforce, HCL
    • Pros: These platforms are attractive because they offer a comprehensive set of functionality to handle nearly any digital commerce need, as opposed to stitching together and integrating various technologies.
    • Cons: They also tend to be difficult to upgrade and require lengthier implementation times.

    Category 3: Content-Led

    • Representative vendors: Drupal Commerce, Sitecore, Adobe
    • Pros: Vendors in this category differentiate themselves by offering exceptional content management and customer experience capabilities.
    • Cons: Because of this, they are often the vendors of choice for marketing and content teams, but tend to be less focused on commerce, resulting in customers often needing to find supplemental technologies.

    Category 4: Architecture-Led

    • Representative vendors: commercetools, Microsoft, Elastic Path
    • Pros: The key selling point for these vendors is that their technology architecture is modern, future-proof, and modular — meaning you pay for what you need.
    • Cons: These are also among the most complex commerce technology platforms, requiring developer resources to ensure that they function properly.

    Have Confidence to Make Smart D2C Investments

    By effectively segmenting vendors into categories that decipher strengths and weaknesses, brand manufacturers can save a lot of time in energy in their technology selection stages of the process while also having the confidence that they are ultimately making the right choice. The result is a smart investment to kick off D2C initiatives, which will help scale efforts and prove D2C’s effectiveness.

    Watch the full session, "How to Shift Your Marketing Strategies and Teams Right Now," and sign up for upcoming Digital Shelf Virtual Summit sessions.

    Watch the full session, "D2C Technology Strategy Playbook," and stay tuned for upcoming sessions.

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