I’m always looking for the next big retail trend. When we opened the doors to Dotcom Distribution in 1999, a new, novel concept called “e-commerce” was the next big thing. Then came daily deals. Then subscription services. And eventually omnichannel eCommerce as we know it today. What’s next for commerce? Over the past few years, we’ve seen B2B brands moving to set up e-commerce channels.
But there’s another emerging trend that could steal the spotlight as the next big thing: M2C, or Manufacturer to Consumer e-commerce.
Although it seems like an obvious opportunity, M2C is a developing trend. Up until very recently, there hasn’t been a way for manufacturers to easily reach and sell to the end user.
Here are three reasons why M2C is the next wave in e-commerce:
Selling a product through traditional retail channels highly inflates the price paid by the end user. Because of this, consumers are not always getting more quality for more of their money. On one M2C marketplace, pricing is displayed as the actual price to the buyer versus what the retail price of the product would be if purchased from a brand the factory worked with. This works in the customer’s favor, as the product quality may greatly surpass what they would otherwise purchase from a traditional retailer at a similar price.
The internet gives consumers access to more information than they’ve ever had. And because of this, buyers are more price-conscious, and more price-aware, than they’ve ever been. According to Dotcom Distribution’s 2019 E-commerce Consumer Study, 26 percent of online shoppers listed lower prices as their primary reason to buy online vs. in-store.
The M2C model allows shoppers to have their cake, and eat it too.
Two top-of-mind considerations of consumers today are returns and speed of delivery. In fact, almost a third of online shoppers will pay more to receive their order faster, and 93 percent say that a free returns is an important factor when making an online purchase.
These expectations are not new, but will be embraced by M2C platforms to cater to the needs of the customer. One M2C marketplace in the fashion and apparel space established a partnership with DHL to make returns easy- customers simply bring the product to a DHL drop off location. The same marketplace fulfills customer orders within 24-48 hours.
As long as e-commerce has been around, there hasn’t been a dedicated, widely accepted platform for manufacturers to showcase and sell their products to consumers. With purpose-built marketplaces being created that handle everything but the manufacturing element of the transaction, it’s easier than ever for factories and manufacturers to reach the end user.