For Infor M3 customers, the impact of COVID-19 on their supply chains and existing business models has been, and continues to be, visibly undeniable. With consumers at home readily accessing mobile apps and online retail services, more of our distributors need to go directly to the consumer via ecommerce stores. Suddenly, the concept of taking Infor M3 direct-to-consumer is a top priority.
Although Nike is the biggest clothing brand to adopt DTC, it’s not alone. Profitwell reports that 77% of apparel and accessory businesses are skipping the middleman and going direct-to-consumer.
Needless to say, selling directly to buyers has enormous benefits; that being said, the required additional shipping complexity poses a challenge for businesses pursuing this strategy. In this article, we discuss how you can build a best-in-class direct-to-consumer (DTC) strategy.
The Benefits of A Direct-to-Consumer Model
DTC brands wield complete control over their branding, data, pricing, and business strategy, whereas other sales models need the cooperation of third parties. Here are three advantages of adopting a direct-to-consumer model:
Ecommerce strategy optimizes sales channels
Using eCommerce to sell products directly to buyers removes the geographical barriers of relying on third-party distribution channels. Apart from reaching buyers faster, selling directly to customers improves customer service quality. Furthermore, this model provides greater access to valuable data for better product iteration and decision-making.
DTC eliminates the middleman
Margins can add up pretty quickly. Distributor margins range from 3% to 30%, and retailers take up to 60% of a product’s selling price. DTC cuts out the middleman and gives the manufacturer more control of their product’s pricing.
DTC is a way to simplify your supply chain
Direct access to your customers simplifies your supply chain—no distributor contracts, complex legal agreements, third-party security loopholes, and other supply chain issues. You can also gain a better understanding of your consumers’ needs and can respond to market changes faster while forecasting future trends.
Ecommerce & Shipping platforms
Companies that transition to Infor M3 DTC must have two core pillars of their business in order—their ecommerce and shipping. Let’s explore both to help you identify the right ecommerce platform and shipping solutions for your business.
The best ecommerce platform for your business will depend on the size of your business, your market, and your products. Small companies or new startups might benefit from using Shopify, but enterprise brands with larger budgets that want an advanced store design and greater functionality would be better with an e-storefront.
For example, if you sell in multiple marketplaces, you should look for an ecommerce solution that features automated tax management, multilingual and multi currency functions. Overall, you need to ensure your ecommerce store delivers a great customer experience.
Analytics is critical for evaluating performance and making crucial business decisions. Ensure your ecommerce solution has robust analytics to help you understand your marketplaces, marketing campaigns, and product sales performance. Your online store should be capable of tracking orders and integrating with helpful third-party software.
Your shipping software should cater to your present and future sales channels. About 54% of buyers are willing to stop an order if they think the shipping cost is expensive. An Infor M3 shipping software like XPS Ship that emphasizes cost savings can help without compromising your customer experience.
Moreover, shipping orders to different cities and countries with unique regulations and market dynamics can be complicated. That’s why Infor M3 DTC businesses rely on Infor M3 shipping software providers like ProShip, XPS Ship, and ProcessWeaver for insightful analytics and management tools. Accordingly, these businesses streamline their supply chain management across multiple companies, countries, and channels with those insights and tools.
For example, sales seasonalities can influence your shipping volume, but a solution like ProcessWeaver accommodates volume fluctuations. Likewise, delivering products to hard-to-reach places requires shipping partnerships, a solution that ProShip provides to its users.
How to Use M3 Integration In A Direct-to-Consumer Model
Infor M3 customers can maximize the efficiency of a DTC model, as an ERP system enables you to unify your ecommerce platform with your shipping management.
Infor M3’s Intelligent Open Network (ION) helps users connect with third-party solutions. So, users can automate their data transfer and management from one place.
Infor M3 supports order status tracking during production and notifies a user’s integrated shipping partners of ready-to-ship orders. Orders placed on M3-enabled stores benefit from the pull methodology for supply chain management, where demand follows supply.
For example, XPS Ship integrates your store across multiple marketplaces to receive orders and process them as soon as they happen. As a result, users can lower production waste and inventory while still meeting their customer’s demands. Toyota embraces the pull method to cut down on inventory and waste, which simultaneously improves production.
Infor Factory Track provides an automated end-to-end manufacturing solution. Specifically, this M3 solution helps businesses streamline their operations and manage inventory, including:
- Collecting labor data
- Tracking time and attendance
- Lowering compliance errors
- Automating logistics
- Managing barcodes
For example, an order event triggers Infor M3 to send automated data to ProcessWeaver—a multi-carrier shipping platform. The warehouse team receives the order and uses ProcessWeaver to create and print barcodes and other shipping labels. M3 tracks and sends updated details to the shipping software until the product delivery is complete.
Above: Here is the holistic overview of the full integration and process of an order traveling from the Ecommerce store via M3, with delivery through a shipping partner.
How Infor M3 Improves DTC
Infor M3 provides the tools to run a stable direct-to-customer operation. In addition to the integration capabilities above, here are three additional benefits of using Infor M3 for DTC:
M3 streamlines the DTC process
According to Business Insider, last-mile delivery (LMD) accounts for up to 53% of total delivery costs. That cost is partly due to issues relating to address inaccuracies. With an integrated address verification system, M3 can help lower package delivery costs and improve labeling efficiency.
Improve efficiencies and eliminate hopping around different platforms
You can print your branded packing slips and labels, complete with tracking numbers, within your M3 solution. This efficiency level removes the need to use different platforms to print and match tags and packing slips with individual orders.
Take complete control of your ecommerce and shipping
M3 allows you to take more control over the end-to-end management of your DTC process and customer experience. It also supports integrations across third-party ecommerce and shipping solutions.
For example, the Infor CloudSuite Fashion supports apparel and footwear businesses with an industry-leading ERP solution that covers management needs like:
- Design and development
- Inventory and
- Business development
Without a well-managed system, an Infor M3 DTC model can become overwhelming, inefficient, and expensive to the point it delivers a negative return on your investment.
Doppio Group streamlines all aspects of your operations and management on both your ecommerce and shipping fronts. We support integrations across third-party software solutions to cover every part of your direct-to-customer needs.
Get in touch with Doppio Group by filling out the contact form to see how we can help you succeed with an Infor M3 direct-to-consumer model.