How a personalisation strategy can help smaller online retailers compete

By our African Marketing Confederation News Team | 2024

Can smaller single-brand online retailers beat the dominance of the big players such as Amazon? A study finds there are ways.

Do brands stand a chance of eroding the dominance of giants like Amazon with their own online shops? A study recently released by professors Jan Becker and Christian Barrot of Kühne Logistics University (KLU) in Germany finds the answer is ‘yes’.


The believe brand-operated online shops that sell directly to customers (D2C) can indeed compete with major merchants, especially when it comes to exclusive and personalised products, where customers intensively inform themselves before making a purchase.


The study, titled ‘Understanding customers’ choice for digital D2C versus multi-brand operations’, has been published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Retailing.


It shows how brands can get their online shops in the best possible shape, and who has the competitive edge at different points in the purchase decision-making process.


In the dynamic and competitive field of digital retail, navigating potential customers is vital to success. As the study by a team led by Becker and Barrot shows, consumers prefer the personalisation, additional information and selection offered by smaller D2C online shops – even before they’ve given any thought to the product they’re looking for.

Photo by Kindel Media from Pexels

Concrete tips for retailers


The most decisive factor is the personalisation of the customer’s experience at the online shop, the study concludes.


Retailers can flourish by focusing on product categories with more product-mix depth when setting up their D2C online shops. At the same time, they should pursue selective marketing strategies for exclusive products.


“Direct sales strategies hold considerable potential,” says Professor Becker. “Understanding consumer preferences and properly integrating the category qualities of their products means staying competitive on the digital marketplace.


“Our research offers valuable insights for branded companies looking to optimise their omni-channel strategy and D2C operations.”


You can find out more about the study here.

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    Dr Kin Kariisa

    Group CEO - Next Media

    Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
    With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
    Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

    Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

    Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

    • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
    • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
    • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
    • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.