The Manufacturing Industry’s Shift to B2C
Responding to a Changing Consumer Sentiment
“[It’s all about B2C]. Consumers have changed more in the last [few] years than in the last 30 years. In simple words, they want anything, anywhere, at any time… Another big consumer expectation is personalization — getting the right products that are really tailored to their needs.”
Benefits of a B2C Shift for Manufacturing
We get it. In the new digital world, you want to own the relationship with the consumer. After all, they are purchasing and enjoying the products you manufacture. Setting up direct-to-consumer B2C channels offers a great many benefits, including instant consumer feedback, higher profit margins, and the ability to offer your full range of products instead of just the ones retailers have chosen as your top line. B2C marketing also “helps the manufacturer become more sensitive and more responsive to changing consumer tastes.”1
For consumers, the B2C approach strengthens brand awareness which can ultimately lead to brand loyalty and generate brand ambassadors. And, since there is less pipeline to fill, new products will likely have a shorter time to market. However, with benefits come obstacles to overcome — perhaps the most obvious is putting “the manufacturer in competition with their wholesalers and distributors.”2
Manufacturing Challenges Transitioning to B2C
When manufacturers decide to transition toward B2C, there are several challenges they must address. Top of mind is the relationship with the resellers you’ve worked so hard to establish. Should you not mention your new strategic decision until you’ve captured new sales revenue, or should you initiate a conversation with your retailers to discuss logistics? Perhaps you can assure your resellers that they will retain one of your exclusive product lines. Or maybe you wish to discuss revenue sharing depending on how much value your retailers offer you. No matter which way you handle it, this should likely be the first area of business to settle before embarking on a new B2C venture — but a close second is customer communication.
How will you communicate directly with your consumers if this hasn’t traditionally been your practice? If you have fully or even partially depended on your resellers to move your products, you might not be knowledgeable in best practices around effective, strategic marketing and consumer communication.
Unique B2C Communication Challenges
Many B2B manufacturers transitioning to B2C marketing lack the in-house staff to effectively handle customer service, including pre-sale inquiries, purchases, and post-sale issues. And without an established eCommerce website, consumers won’t have the ability to browse and purchase your products independently. Manufacturers looking to communicate directly with their customers should also consider investing in technology to interact with consumers at every stage of the purchase journey.
How do you plan to collect, analyze, and glean insights from consumer data, for instance? The global marketplace has also opened up online purchases worldwide, meaning you could have increased traffic from consumers who don’t readily speak English. In fact, according to Common Sense Advisory, not only do “76% of online shoppers prefer to buy products with information in their native language [but] 40% will never buy from websites in other languages.”3
Data Source: CSA
The 2020 survey (which was based on over 8,700 global consumers in 29 countries in Europe, Asia, North America, and South America) also revealed a strong consumer preference for selecting and buying products at local-language sites. As Dr. Donald A. DePalma, CSA Research’s Chief Research Officer, points out, “[t]here is a longstanding assumption that enough people feel comfortable using English online, especially when buying high tech or expensive products. [However,] if a company chooses to not localize the buying experience they risk losing 40% or more of the total addressable market.”4
Data Source: CSA
75% of the survey’s respondents reported being “more likely to purchase the same brand again if customer care is in their language. “Even 60% of those who are most confident in reading English favor having customer care in their own language.”5 In other words, whether your business represents a regional or global brand, your marketing content plays a vital role in your success.
B2C Transitioning Requires Multilingual Solutions
Regardless of the marketing strategy you use, every company’s end goal is to drive business and earn customer loyalty. For manufacturers shifting to a B2C marketing approach, this end goal becomes even more challenging. The digital content you create will undoubtedly become an invaluable part of your success. After all, it is ultimately the content that will guide your customer journey.
But as online purchasing becomes more globally accessible, businesses must now find viable solutions to communicate effectively across multiple languages. Finding a language solutions partner with expertise in the manufacturing sector is definitely a step in the right direction.
Welcome to Vocalink Global.
Partner with Vocalink Global
As a seasoned language innovation firm, Vocalink Global enables companies to communicate with their customers through various channels, platforms, and mediums in over 275 languages — and our INSIDERS excel in multilingual communication that knows no bounds. We offer customizable multilingual solutions tailored to your unique business needs. Elevated by our advanced, proprietary technology, we are a team of solutions-minded and industry-leading experts who collaborate with you to amplify brand awareness and deliver culturally rich experiences for your consumers.
You’ve made the move to B2C — now it’s time to enhance the customer experience. Protect the brand you have worked so hard to build by partnering with Vocalink Global today.
1, 2 Finch, Caleb. “Shifting the Focus from B2B to B2B2C.” QAD Blog, 23 July 2019, www.qad.com/blog/2019/07/shifting-the-focus-from-b2b-to-b2b2c#:~:text=Setting%20up%20direct%2Dto%2Dconsumer,direct%20and%20personalized%20buying%20experience.
3, 4, 5 “Survey of 8,709 Consumers in 29 Countries Finds That 76% Prefer Purchasing Products with Information in Their Own Language.” CSA Research, csa-research.com/More/Media/Press-Releases/ArticleID/655/Survey-of-8-709-Consumers-in-29-Countries-Finds-that-76-Prefer-Purchasing-Products-with-Information-in-their-Own-Language.
In addition to:
“The Manufacturing Sector (B2C) | I.O.T. Powering The Digital Economy.” YouTube, YouTube, 16 Apr. 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPfn7FhEJxE.
Services, Research. “Consumer Sentiment Towards Brands During COVID-19.” 4A’s, 13 Jan. 2021, www.aaaa.org/consumer-sentiment-towards-brands-during-covid-19/.
Jason Greenwood | Podcast Host | Futurist “THE STRUGGLE IS REAL: TRANSITIONING FROM A B2B TO B2C BUSINESS.” LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/pulse/struggle-real-transitioning-from-b2b-b2c-business-jason-greenwood/.
“How Manufacturers Are Transitioning from B2B to B2C.” Sagittarius, sagittarius.agency/en/our-thinking/blog/how-manufacturers-are-transitioning-from-b2b-to-b2c.