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Making the Brand/Consumer Connection (and sale) Online
By: Jeff Falk
Posted: July 6, 2009, from the July 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.
page 3 of 9GCI: How have partnerships/working relationships between brands and retailers been impacted by the proliferation of online retail channels?
Kevin Kells: They are much more reliant on each other’s data streams and all that comes with that—consumer insights, accountability and measurement, to name a few. CPG companies and their retail partners are also looking deeply at the optimum spending level and usage of co-op and trade marketing dollars, including both online and off-line.
Shawn Tavakoli: It really depends on the brand and the retailer. Beauty Collection builds partnerships with brands based on their marketability, and company and brand integrity. We have had experiences where brands committed inventory to us but later changed their minds because they wanted to take advantage of an opportunity to sell direct online. That experience made us realize that the brand was not supportive of us, and we ended up limiting our support and exposure of the brand. Most brands, I think smartly, have used their online channel to provide a resource to the consumer to date. That may change, but so far it seems to work.
Lawrence Mortenson: The incident Shawn mentions left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. It’s critical in this day and age for brands to honor their commitments to retailers and vice versa, and for relationships to be based on mutual respect and integrity. At the same time, my guess is that the traditional lines that have been drawn between brands and retailers are going to continue to be redrawn in time—and probably at a pace that’s faster than most currently operating in the industry will be comfortable with.
Laura Kenney: The online relationship has strengthened some brand/retailer relationships and weakened others. Since many brands now have so many possible points of distribution (including their own Web sites), more and more retailers are demanding exclusive products from the brands to give themselves an edge over other retailers.