Retailers are Now Operating in Commerce Anarchy – Here’s How They Can Take Back Control

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By Published On: January 27, 20220 Comments

Today’s brands and retailers are like mice trapped in a maze – the pathways they need to get their products to consumers are infuriatingly difficult to navigate.

“We found a new retailer to carry our brand, but they need product data in a new format.”

“Our target audience primarily spends time browsing on TikTok and Instagram, but we don’t know how to format content to make it shoppable on those platforms.”

“We want to get into the metaverse, but we don’t have the human resources or skills for an NFT project.”

These are the kind of pain points nearly all businesses in the retail industry are feeling. It’s commerce anarchy, and it must be stopped.

What’s Causing Commerce Anarchy? 

The number of selling channels and marketing tools has increased to the point where companies are finding it harder and harder to keep up. These channels are evolving quickly as they constantly update shopping features and alter product data requirements. Just look at Instagram, which is testing an influencer subscription model, or Shopify, which partnered with China’s to let US merchants sell to JD’s customers in China. 

While the proliferation of marketing and selling channels provides more touch points with consumers than ever before, the truth is that companies don’t have the proper strategies in place to manage their product information value chains in this ever-changing commerce ecosystem. In fact, 92 percent of Australian business decision-makers are concerned about the consistency of product information being passed through their current tech stacks. 

Most companies have been taking a piece-meal approach by adding a new platform to their suite of tools every time a new problem arises. As a result, their tech stacks have become a tangled web of systems that are creating more problems than they were originally designed to solve. Trying to manage large volumes of product data across thousands of channels in hundreds of markets with multiple systems is impossible – even for the hyper-scale commerce giants. 

Just imagine you’re a conglomerate of 40 fashion brands active in 20 countries and you want to start building a consistent presence on TikTok. Do you try to manage 800 accounts? How can you ensure product information is accurate and up-to-date in those new accounts as well as the others spread out across Pinterest, Facebook, Google, Snapchat, and Twitter? It’s not hard to see how the retail industry has become subject to commerce anarchy. 

What’s the Impact for Commerce Businesses? 

This is a high-risk game where consumers expect a convenient, frictionless shopping experience. Failure to tame commerce anarchy can lead to misaligned information across customer touchpoints, which could have serious implications for brand loyalty. Even the smallest of errors such as an unflattering image, a misplaced decimal point, or a misleading product description can destroy hard-earned customer trust. Companies that spent years building consumer relationships have watched their once-loyal customers leave for their competitors. According to Raconteur’s Future of Retail report, for every 100 shoppers that visit you online, 70 will leave without purchasing. 

How can Businesses Take Back Control?

As technology advancements are ushering in a new era in retail, companies seeking sustained future growth, are best advised to radically rethink their entire value chain. They should specifically look at how they are getting their products to consumers. Instead of continuously optimising a system here and there, companies should consider an entirely fresh approach to managing the path product information takes as it moves from suppliers to retailers, marketplaces, or social media platforms, and finally to buyers. This pathway, known as the product information value chain (PIVC), needs to allow for an end-to-end free flow of data, allowing product information to loop back to suppliers in the form of customer feedback or returns. 

Considering that most current tech stacks prevent product data from flowing smoothly across PIVCs, analyst firm Constellation Research identified a new market category: product-to-consumer (P2C) management

P2C management streamlines the path product data takes as it moves between suppliers and buyers, eliminating the need for up to 50 different applications within an organisation. Instead of leaning on multiple different solutions to address various commerce challenges, P2C management provides a one-stop solution that addresses them all. With a total addressable market of over 11 billion US dollars in 2021, P2C has tremendous potential to help businesses simplify their omnichannel strategy.

Sustainable US fashion giant EILEEN FISHER is a good example of a brand that has tamed commerce anarchy to bring consistent product information out to consumers. With Productsup’s P2C platform, the brand cut down the time it takes to process feeds from several weeks to a day, and they started generating hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue across social media channels.

The emergence of new channels and marketplaces has completely transformed how businesses reach consumers and sell their products. The answer to these changes are strategies that include new holistic and streamlined approaches to managing product lifecycles. P2C is the best way for companies to find the direct path through the maze, and leave the anarchy to the mice.

To learn more about P2C, join industry experts from Woolies X, THE ICONIC, Coles Liquor, Rendr, and Productsup at the virtual event ‘The P2C World Tour – Australia’ on 24th February. Register here.

About the Author: Power Retail

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