Why direct relationships matter for long term growth

Despite Amazon dominating Ecommerce in 2017, it's the forward-thinking companies who know that establishing a direct selling relationship with customers is the strategy for healthy growth over the long term.

As my Jawbone colleague Jason Child once said to me, the direct sales channel is "the way to control your own destiny." Jason's perspective is a valuable one, it's coming from a guy who served as International CFO for Amazon for over a decade. 

Within the context of an Amazon dominated landscape, what are the key benefits of a direct digital sales channel?

First, when you sell directly to customers, you own the relationship with them. This gives you access to your customer list - one of your company's most valuable assets. With your list, you can to get to know your customers better through research, which can provide valuable insight into what they like - and don’t like - about using your product and the category overall. Customer feedback, when used effectively in the design process, can help you solve the right problems at the right time. This is crucial because it can help you move at speed to improve your product - helping you make your users and customers even more happy with your product.

From a business perspective, a direct relationship means you're taking out the middle man who is eating a valuable slice of your profit margin. By reducing your reliance on intermediaries, the upside is that your profits will increase. Over time, if you're running a growing business, this larger share of profits continued with re-investment in developing the right things - your team, product and your tool kit - will enable your business to scale up.