Brands have been reviewing and revamping their digital commerce strategies for some time. With consumers forced online during pandemic lockdowns across the globe, this focus on digital has only magnified. But digital commerce opportunities are not created equal for brands. Some brands are seeing significant growth in their direct-to-consumer (DTC) business and grappling with the question of how to manage this alongside existing wholesale retail partnerships. Others — consumer packaged goods businesses, in particular — are focused on how to optimize (digital) sales via wholesale retail partners, since most of their digital commerce revenue comes from digital sales via these partners.

Our latest report evaluates how brands and retailers need to change the dynamics of their relationships to succeed as joint business partners. Key takeaways include:

  • Brands must become active partners, not just suppliers. Brands need to change the dynamics of their retail partner relationships, in addition to building any direct digital commerce capabilities. Retailers are more likely to give premium placement to brands that share complete, high-quality product content and provide more flexible and accurate access to inventory and replenishment, helping retailers to optimize assortment at minimal cost.
  • Brands and retailers must share responsibility for customer experience. Brands and retail partners must work in new ways to create valuable customer experiences. Facilitating access to the same data sources, whether point of sale, supply chain, or loyalty, will help brands and retailers to conduct joint business planning using common language and shared KPIs to reach better decisions.
  • Brands connect direct digital and wholesale businesses to become unified organizations. Brands face the challenge of managing wholesale businesses in addition to building their DTC commerce businesses. They must reconcile organizational structures, technology, systems, and processes across digital commerce and wholesale partner teams to remove redundancy and improve efficiency.