For generations, retail was simple. Brands sold to retailers and retailer sold to shops. But in the age of the internet, consumers can interact directly with brand manufacturers. And while this may seem like a small thing, it actually has a dramatic change on the way people interact with business owners. A recent study highlights the need for a good brand website as the majority of consumers expect a better experience from a brand sand from a retailer.

Astound Commerce surveyed 1,000 consumers who shop online and have visited a brand

manufacturer's website in the past six months. The survey found the majority of these shoppers (54 percent) turn to brands over retailers for more comprehensive product information, in addition to enhanced customer service, better prices and more personalization options.

In fact, more than half (55 percent) of shoppers prefer to shop directly with brand manufacturers over retailers, according to Astound Commerce Insight's "Global Brand Shopper Survey". The researchers also found that 59 percent of respondents already use a brand manufacturer's website for researching products and usually make their purchase there as well. About 37 percent of respondents said they expect a more engaging experience on a brand manufacturer's website than a retailer's. Pricing was also a concern, with half of respondents expecting better prices on a brand manufacturer's website compared to a retailer's website.

"The role that brand manufacturers play in today's retail landscape has evolved," said Lauren Freedman, SVP of Digital Strategy for Astound Commerce, in a press release. "Consumers' heightened expectations for digital commerce means brands must master online selling and present compelling and competitive shopping experiences, on par with multi-brand counterparts. Moving forward, brands and retailers must explore even more creative ways to demonstrate value and engage through experiential means to woo younger customers and maintain customer loyalty, particularly in light of the challenging retail climate."

This shift toward more brand site usage has implications for business owners. Business owners can't rely on retailers alone to sell the product. In an age where consumers do a lot of research on the items they want to buy, it's necessary for a brand's website to be as effective as a salesperson at a store.

This means that business owners can't skimp when it comes to developing their brand's website. It's not enough to provide basic information. People who are coming to the brand site will have detailed questions and they will have higher expectations for the information given. Afterall, if the brand's website can't answer the question they have, who can?

There are a few ways for a brand to make their website more useful to Consumers. For example, a frequently asked questions section is always useful. Live chat is a popular way to provide customer service to Consumers at the brand site. And make sure that commonly searched information such as price size reviews Etc are all easy to find on the website.

Producing a higher quality brand site can benefit the business in multiple ways. First, it can increase direct sales from the brand's website. It can also increase sales at retailers because many people will go to a brand website when they want more information about a product they see at a store. So in a way, a good brand site can become its own advertisement.

For more information that can help business owners create but a marketing plans, read this article on conducting better email marketing campaigns.