Due to high weight-to-price ratios, direct-to-consumer e-commerce has consistently been a challenge for brands. Amazon Pantry, Walmart.com, and similar e-tailers provide an opportunity for brands to make their way into consumer baskets. L2’s 2015 Digital IQ Index: Personal Care finds that brands are embracing e-tailer handoffs instead of investing in DTC. Facilitated handoffs are becoming more sophisticated, with 15% of the 65 brand site year over year offering a “cart” experience that links on-site product selection to an off-site checkout. Those who opted for DTC are scaling back. Seventh Generation – one of the independent brands that experimented with DTC in 2014 – has reverted to static product pages with links to ePantry.com.
Meanwhile, e-tailers are vying to be a brand’s featured or preferred retailer. For example, Google-owned Channel Intelligence now integrates sponsored “Buy Now” buttons directly onto product pages via API. Fourteen percent of Index brands use this approach to drive consumers to featured e-tailers, bringing elements of SEO/SEM into the brand site experience.
As of now, Walmart.com (63%), Drugstore.com (59%), and Amazon.com (58%) are the most popular retailers among brands in the Digital IQ Index: Personal Care.