This year has been a tough one for the retail industry. Retail bankruptcies and store closings are on a record pace, and a number of companies (Wet Seal, The Limited, hhgregg) have gone out of business altogether.
The role of traditional brick-and-mortar retail is changing drastically. To keep up with new digital-first consumers, brands need to take more control over their products. Selling direct-to-consumer is one way to do this.
Jabra, a company that sells intelligent audio solutions like Bluetooth headphones and speakers, has launched localized direct-to-consumer (D-to-C) online stores across more than 50 countries, including Australia, Denmark, Great Britain, China, Japan and the U.S.
“We see the overall macro trend — customers want to buy wherever they are,” says Jonas Forsberg, Jabra’s vice president of global online sales. “A lot of customers today start their journey on the brand or manufacturer site. It's important for you to make sure you have an option for them to quickly transact should they want to do that.”
Launching D-to-C in 50 countries didn’t come without challenges, however, according to Forsberg. Here are a just few that stood out for Jabra:
- each market has different payment options and tax laws;
- cross-border shipping regulations; and
- seamless customer service and returns across regions.
To overcome these challenges, Jabra enlisted the help of Digital River, a cloud-based commerce, payments and marketing services company with a global expertise. Leveraging Digital River's solutions, Jabra was able to determine which payment options are being used where, how to navigate local tax regulations, how consumers’ shopping behaviors vary in different markets, what markets are healthy for a consumer electronics company to enter, and what markets should be prioritized in the expansion. Forsberg notes that this information was “key to our rapid expansion.”
Benefits of Going D-to-C
As part of its D-to-C efforts, Jabra is tracking everything from average order value and cost per new customer, to return on ad spend and the sources of new traffic, to determine how well it's performing in each market.
“We get so much data, and it’s important for us to process that data,” notes Forsberg.
Jabra processes the data collected to know who is buying its products, why they're buying them and when they're buying them. By selling D-to-C, Jabra has been able to create direct relationships with end customers, get better quality data on products and services, build more intelligent and smarter products, drive more business and value through channel partners, and quickly and easily test new markets and products before fully launching.
“It’s important to know where your customers are,” adds Forsberg. “Online is growing globally. It’s a $3 trillion opportunity for brands.”