Channel Alignment and Brand Control in eCommerce Teams

High performing channels are cross-organizationally aligned both internally and externally, with a clear 360-degree view of the brand.

When channel alignment and brand control are disproportioned within an organization, you may be finding these questions becoming more common:

  • Who is that company selling my product on Amazon?
  • How can they afford to sell at that price?
  • How did my product end up in that country?
  • Why is my product being sold for different prices in different marketplaces?
  • Why are my distributor partners are continually upset with us?

Is your channel supported appropriately?

When the value proposition, solution, and business model are consistently supported – from the brand to the brand’s distributor partner(s) and through to the end consumer – there is channel alignment across all selling channels and platforms. With the continually evolving nature of technology and consumer expectations & preferences, channel alignment can be difficult to maintain long-term.

However, with the added implementation of brand control, the brand experience can remain consistent for the end consumer across all online channels they encounter.

Ensuring brand control and alignment

Much has been written about the changes to distribution (Distributor relationships vs Brick & Mortar vs e-Commerce), the increase and growing reliance on marketplaces, challenges of brand protection and the importance of channel alignment and brand control.

Unfortunately, what is often missed and not discussed is the critical role the Brands Leadership Team plays in ensuring Brand Control and Channel Alignment.

The role of organizational leadership

Sales teams are often set up by customer or market segment (commercial, direct, tier, region, product type, etc.). Segmenting results in market verticals which can become market silos with each silo owner being incentivized to grow their individual silo without regard to the overall well-being of the brand. This can result in both supply-side and demand-side challenges resulting in upset Distributor Partners, a decrease in Brand Equity and ultimately, decreased market share and profitability:

  • Supply side examples: product diversion or product going to less profitable channels
  • Demand side examples: retail arbitrage or breaking of MAP policies

It is the ongoing responsibility of the Leadership Team to be aligned internally so they can be aligned externally.   There should be a person on the leadership team who takes a 360-degree view of the brand with the authority to ensure all policies (distribution, promotions, pricing, sales incentives, bonuses, etc.) are consistent across all verticals and complement the brand strategy while ensuring Internal Alignment, Channel Alignment and Brand Control.

It may sound simple but requires a significant amount of commitment from the Leadership Team to recognize the organization will likely have to change its business practices and accept that some less profitable verticals may suffer while more profitable verticals will ultimately benefit.  

The Leadership Teams control and alignment effort will result in a stronger Brand, better Distributor Partner relationships and a clearer, a stronger relationship with the End Consumer which results in a healthier and more profitable brand.

If you are interested in this topic, or if your business is interested in how Retail Bloom can assist your brand with control and alignment in online marketplaces, schedule a consultation with our team.

Feel free to reach out to us with questions, or subscribe to our blog so you don't miss a thing. 

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