Retail Wednesdays: e-commerce platform Quivers on connecting brands and retailers

What started out as a solution to e-commerce channel conflict, has today evolved into a full service platform that helps brands connect with new audiences while still supporting their brick and mortar retail base.

Quivers, conceptualized in the ’90s when the dot.com boom was at its peak, is evolving rapidly along with the retail landscape, explains CEO Ruben Martin.

“The sporting goods industry and e-commerce space has changed significantly just in the past few years, particularly when it comes to how brands interact with their consumers and meeting their expectations,” Martin said. “Consumers are now more accustomed to shopping online for all products, not just specialty items, and expect to start their buying journey where they want.”

Related: Case Study | Quivers founders strive to solve channel conflict

Adapting to this change, Quivers has organically developed its platform to help brands sell through any number of channels, including social and a multitude of sites, while enabling omnichannel capabilities for consumers to pick-up products in-store at local retailers. The company is now working with brands like Rossignol, Marker and Babolat to name a few.

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To better understand this complex dynamic, and how it helps support everyone in the retail landscape, we checked in with Martin recently to pick up the conversation where we left off and hear what the company is working on for the future.

Quivers CEO Ruben Martin. Photo: Quivers


What new brands are you working with that you are most excited about?

Since we started this e-commerce journey, Quivers has partnered with and launched a variety of large brands across many different industries. In the sporting goods industry alone, companies like Rossignol, Marker, Babolat, 2XU, Radar / Ronix, and Scott Sports are taking the Quivers platform to new heights by deploying online stores, or "marketplaces."

Quivers allows them to offer personalized marketplaces that are specifically setup for a brand's unique audience, such as store employees, VIPs or ambassadors, and corporate partners. Some of these marketplaces are put into effect directly on a brand's site, while others have deployed on partner sites. Our team is most excited about seeing how brands have utilized the Quivers toolset to create new buying experiences, going beyond anything they've offered before.

A look at the mobile retail experience on one of Quivers’ partner’s sites. Photo: Quivers

How have you seen the platform evolve and improve over the last few years? What are some of the new capabilities that you are seeing have the largest impact on how brands and retailers do business?

Though we've improved our platform with full fraud protection, global sales tax calculations, inventory management, a robust discount engine, and detailed analytics, the biggest evolution of the Quivers platform has been the concept of "marketplaces." Using a single product catalog, a brand can create any number of online stores and launch them onto any sites with just a single line of code.

There are clients that utilize the Quivers platform to launch more than 50 marketplaces. In doing so, each of those online stores have a different product selection, price point, and access level to target a certain consumer audience. This allows brands to truly engage closely with consumers, while still having the order management aspect of Quivers which allows for order routing to retailers or the brand's warehouses.

In what categories do you hope to see Quivers grow over the next six to twelve months? Right now you are primarily working with sporting goods brands, but do you see that expanding out to other markets anytime soon?

The sporting goods category has certainly been an area where we've made significant strides with many well-known brands. However, in the last 12-18 months, we've also made great moves in the consumer electronics, automotive, power sports, music, footwear, and industrial goods sectors.

The brands in those categories have similar goals: closely engage with their consumers, retain control of their brand, personalize the product offer and price while still supporting the retail channel (if desired). Across the board, brands are focusing on growing their ecommerce and keeping control of their brand's image, yet at the same time still considering their dedicated retailers.

Where do you see the state of direct to consumer sales headed, and how do you see Quivers fitting into that equation?

Direct to consumer (D2C) is no longer an option for brands. If brands are not giving consumers the ability to purchase directly from a brand's site, they are missing a large opportunity, and their competitors are most likely benefiting from it.

The consumer is in the driver's seat, meaning if brands do not meet consumer demands, consumers will take their purchase elsewhere. We will continue to see this transition happen over the next few months and years, with D2C becoming not just the exception but the norm.

Brick-and-mortar retailers will continue to play a role in the solution by offering consumers remarkable in-store experiences.

quivers

Photo: Igor Miske/Unsplash

For those brands that feel like they already have their D2C and in-store retail strategies dialed, what would be your advice to them? What are some of the common pitfalls you’ve seen with brand and retailer relationships in this regard?

The biggest pitfall we have seen is forgetting about a channel to strengthen another channel. For example, a brand that sells directly to consumers but forgets about their robust retailer channel.

In most situations, a significant portion of the overall sales happens at brick-and-mortar retailers. Taking on eCommerce as a brand should not mean cannibalizing the dealer network. Many brands have spent significant time setting up their retailer channel. When planning any eCommerce ecommerce strategy, keep in mind that it should support your established retailer network, give consumers more options to find and purchase products, and provide the choice to end the buying journey based on the consumers' preferences. Overall, a piece of advice we give to brands is to avoid looking at their consumers as sales channels but instead as people, and in-doing so offering those people the information, products, pricing, and fulfilment options that meet their expectations.

Anything else you’d like to add about what we can expect in the future from Quivers or any new partnerships or projects you are excited about?

Though we've grown a lot as a solution and business, 2018 will truly showcase how we can help brands reach their eCommerce goals. Currently, we are working with some major global brands that will be joining the Quivers family, providing further opportunities for us to enhance both our technical capabilities and business. Though I'll leave the specifics for when we get closer to our releases, the solution will expand to easily include further capabilities on-the-fly, and allow brands to quickly add components, integrations, and customizations that are specific to their business model. Overall, Quivers will continue to evolve to meet the needs of brands, providing them the freedom to choose where to sell online, how to merchandise, and who does the fulfilment.

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