B2B to B2C – The shifting role of manufacturers


May 13, 2019

For years the accepted trading narrative for manufacturers was set in stone. A manufacturing organisation would produce products and sell these either to a wholesaler or directly to a retailer, in both situations the manufacturer sells the products for a mark-up but the businesses profits compared to its counterparts are always marginal.

There’s no denying that the internet has created unprecedented opportunities for all kinds of companies, manufacturers included. Previously, these companies needed interested wholesalers or established retailers to stock their products, get in front of customers and make sales. But with the growth of online B2B webstores and marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay it’s obvious that manufacturing companies no longer need to follow the traditional route to market.

The Office of National Statistics highlighted this shift in consumer spending when it highlighted that last November, UK consumers spent over £1.6bn online every week. Customers no longer need to buy just what’s readily available; they have the ability to easily seek out very specific items to meet their needs and interests, and it’s within this shifting consumer landscape that manufacturers have been able to change their market entry strategies.

In times gone by it used to be that companies who portrayed their products as “Not Available in Stores,” were seen as less trustworthy, but the with the proliferation of online marketplaces and the growth of the online customer it has opened the trading landscape to manufactures of all sizes bypassing the established model and going direct to market.

Clothing manufacturers in particular are booming from the growth in eCommerce and marketplaces whilst department stores like Debenhams and House of Fraser are feeling the effects of manufacturer’s growth strategies, despite the heritage, size and legacy of British department stores. It’s this change in buying habits which has revolutionised the trading landscape for manufacturers and opened the door for different sales strategies.

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