How to Build a Successful Direct-to-Consumer Strategy with Infosys Equinox and AWS
Global ecommerce sales are expected to grow to $4.2 trillion this year, and the direct-to-customer (DTC) segment is expected to grow by 19.2% in 2021. Given this trend, most consumer-packaged goods (CPG) companies are shifting to digital commerce in order to retain their customer base and capture additional market share. Moreover, consumer shopping habits have changed since the pandemic, thereby causing CPG companies to adopt a DTC strategy in order to build a direct relationship with consumers, better understand their needs and preferences, open lines of communication, and deliver exceptional customer experience.
This post will discuss the success factors for DTC and look at how Infosys, an AWS Retail Competency Partner, provides a DTC solution that is tightly integrated with AWS services in order to expedite this journey for CPGs.
Infosys launched Infosys Equinox in 2021 in order to help enterprises securely deliver hypersegmented, personalized omnichannel commerce experiences for B2B and B2C buyers. The platform’s future-ready architecture provides flexibility for enterprises to pick and choose out-of-the-box microservices and pre-built experiences in order to build curated digital journeys that enhance their digital commerce. This delivers end-to-end commerce-as-a-service so that enterprises can drive results that shoppers care about throughout the purchase lifecycle.
Key Success Factors for DTC
Implementing a successful DTC sales strategy is essential to continued growth for many CPG companies. But it takes years of investment in technologies and distribution systems in order for CPGs to achieve success in this space. However, the path to a robust DTC strategy can be expedited with cloud-based platforms and future-proof solutions that provide agility and flexibility.
As you consider your DTC rollout, here are four components that can help ensure success:
- Website and marketing—Create multiple digital touchpoints for your consumers, including creating a new website for DTC sales or revamping your existing website. CPGs must deliver an engaging user experience that creates loyal consumers and strengthens brand affinity.
- Customer data—Collecting, maintaining, and securing first-party customer data, or personally identifiable information (PII), like name, address, and phone number, are important elements of DTC sales. While tremendous benefits can be gathered from obtaining customer data, CPGs need a strategy that complies with local, state, and country data-management laws.
- Payments and localized sales taxes—DTC sales are very different from wholesaling products to retail partners. You must put ecommerce payment and accounting systems in place to manage transactions and comply with local sales tax regulations. CPGs must also comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) in order to ensure data protection and security for all credit card transactions.
- Fulfillment—CPGs usually ship large quantities of products to a few distributors and wholesalers. DTC will change your fulfillment model as you begin shipping much smaller product quantities to a multitude of individual consumers.
Infosys Equinox Commerce Platform
Infosys Equinox provides digital commerce offerings to customers across multiple industries, including retail, CPG, manufacturing, and telecommunications. Infosys Equinox is a headless, cloud-native, microservices-based ecommerce solution enabling enterprises to build and deploy omnichannel commerce solutions rapidly.
As a headless platform, it seamlessly works with multiple digital touchpoints that enable in-store, voice commerce, conversational commerce, social commerce, customer care, IoT, and AR/VR capabilities. Infosys Equinox has a microservices-based architecture that allows businesses to utilize services as required in a phased manner, thereby providing flexibility without the need to go through a “big bang” re-platform. CPGs can choose to retire existing legacy services and replace them with Infosys Equinox cloud-native microservices. Furthermore, integration with existing and on-premises systems is easy with an integration layer that supports APIs, flat files, batch feeds, or event notifications.
Infosys Equinox microservices include:
- Cart and checkout—Create carts and check out features.
- Digital catalog—Create and manage rich, transaction-ready, and multiple hierarchical catalogs.
- Promotions—Author and deliver targeted offers and pricing incentives.
- Merchandising—Manage product presentation on the storefront with the ease of drag-and-drop tools.
- Pricing—Create and manage multiple pricing lists.
- Inventory—Support multiple fulfillment sources, maintain inventory in different distribution centers, integrate real-time inventory, and fulfill from physical stores.
- Customers—Support the creation and management of online customer profiles.
- Notifications—Inform through SMS, push notifications, and emails.
- Payment gateway—Support multiple payment providers and currencies.
- Recommendations—Personalize merchandise and create product and top seller recommendations.
- List—Create and manage wish lists, favorites, and save-for-later.
- Tax interface—Integration solution with leading online tax providers.
Infosys Equinox can support multiple implementation types, such as B2B, B2C, B2B2C, marketplaces, digital malls, branded sites, catalog syndications, contactless stores, and endless aisle.
Some key B2B features include contract-based pricing, contract-based catalogs, shared carts, subscriptions/recurring orders, cross-sells/upsells, spending limits, approval workflows, role-based access control, invoicing, account management with reporting and analytics, configure, price, and quote (CPQ) integrations, credit payment, one-click reorder, multiple billing and shipping addresses, and predefined shopping lists.
Some key features for B2C are multi-level catalogs, omnichannel carts, pricing, recurring orders/subscriptions, cross-sells/upsells, buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS), reserve-online-pickup-in-store (ROPIS), loyalty engine, multiple payment options, one-click reorder, split shipments, and shopping lists.
Infosys Equinox Architecture on AWS
Infosys Equinox is built on an open-source framework that provides the flexibility to integrate with other platforms and solutions. Some of the open-source tool options include:
- Orchestration—Apache Camel, Spring boot
- Service discovery—Kubernetes
- Messaging—Apache Kafka, RabbitMQ
- Data store—MySQL, MongoDB
- Microservices—Apache Camel, Spring boot, Hibernate
- Search—Apache Solr
- Data processing—Apache Spark, Spring Batch
- Distributed cache—Redis, Memcached
- Configuration management—Apache ZooKeeper
- Container management—Kubernetes
- Content management—Apache JackRabbit
- DevOps—Jenkins, ReadyAPI, SonarQube, Liquibase
Infosys Equinox has been running on AWS since its inception, and it leverages many of the core AWS services in order to provide an agile, flexible, and scalable architecture. The current generation of Infosys Equinox microservices run on Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) clusters and utilize Amazon Aurora as data stores, thereby leveraging the benefits of a serverless database. Open-source technologies, including RabbitMQ, Apache Solr, and Apache Zookeeper, run on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) clusters. Infosys Equinox leverages Amazon API Gateway, AWS Shield, and AWS Web Application Firewall (AWS WAF) for endpoint security. The backend is supported by Amazon Aurora and MongoDB, with Redis providing the cache layer.
DTC with Infosys Equinox and AWS
Infosys Equinox provides a comprehensive set of microservices, and, when integrated with AWS services, it can provide CPGs with an end-to-end DTC solution. Some of the services providing additional capabilities for CPG companies include:
- Amazon Connect—Boost consumer engagement with a cloud-based contact center that seamlessly integrates with Infosys Equinox and other AWS services.
- Amazon Pay—Utilize an online payment service that makes payment and checkout fast and secure for your consumers worldwide.
- Amazon Fraud Detector—Leverage machine learning (ML) and Amazon’s 20+ years of fraud detection expertise in order to identify potentially fraudulent activity and then reduce risk.
- Amazon Pinpoint—Utilize flexible and scalable outbound and inbound marketing communications over channels like email, SMS, push, or voice.
- Amazon Multi-channel Fulfillment (MCF)—Leverage the world’s largest fulfillment network to achieve reliable, CPG-oriented fulfillment capabilities for branded ecommerce sales channels.
- Amazon Personalize—Utilize an out-of-the-box, ML-based personalized recommendation engine for consumers.
- AWS IoT—Monitor and track consumer behaviors with smart store edge devices.
The following is an Infosys Equinox DTC reference architecture on AWS:
If your company wants to implement a DTC sales strategy, this end-to-end solution powered by Infosys Equinox on AWS will help you launch your digital commerce initiatives quickly, along with less risk and lower costs. If you have questions for Vijay, Danny, or Balaji, leave a comment on this post. To request a demo, visit Infosys Equinox or contact your AWS account team today to get started
AWS Retail Competency Partner Spotlight
Infosys Equinox helps enterprises securely deliver hypersegmented, personalized omnichannel commerce experiences for B2B and B2C buyers. The platform’s future-ready architecture provides flexibility for enterprises to pick and choose out-of-the-box microservices and pre-built experiences in order to build curated digital journeys that enhance their digital commerce.