If you’ve been in the distribution game for more than a decade or two, you’ve undoubtedly seen things change quite a bit, thanks in large part to technology.
While many distributors, wholesalers, and even some retailers prefer to do business via the traditional methods and channels, the simple fact is that by not embracing the “new way” of doing things, these individuals are missing out on a ton of business.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of some of the most popular distribution channels of the modern day.
But first, let’s discuss the main reasons you need to begin using these new channels (if you haven’t already).
Benefits of Using Multiple Distribution Channels
As alluded to in the intro, many veteran distributors operate under the philosophy of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” In other words, since their company has survived this long without changing things up, they feel like there’s no reason to do so now.
The key word in that last sentence, though, is “survive.” You don’t want your business to just survive - you want it to thrive. Utilizing these more modern distribution channels can make that happen, for a number of reasons:
First of all, by becoming present on these new channels, you’ll inherently increase brand awareness and accessibility among your target clients. Essentially, you’ll be able to market to a larger pool of clients that fit your target persona, but that prefer to use these more modern distribution channels.
On the other side of that same coin, you’ll also be able to discover and target new personas, since your potential customer base will inherently have expanded. By expanding your operations into these other distribution channels, you’ll be able to move away from a “red ocean marketplace” (a highly-competitive market with little opportunity) to a “blue ocean marketplace” (a massive market full of undiscovered potential).
Tapping into these new channels also allows you to diversify your business in two major ways. For one, since you’ll have the opportunity to discover new markets and target clientele through these channels, you’ll rarely run out of new customers to work with - even if some of your previous clients decide to abandon ship. Similarly, if your customers begin to prefer one distribution channel over another, you’ll still be able to reach them (since you’ll be present on both).
Of course, all of this adds up to one overarching benefit: increased revenues. Simply put: the more people you can reach, and the more accessible you are, the more business you’ll be able to do. And, because you’ve proven to be adaptable to shifting trends and new technology, you’ll have increased the sustainability of your company for years to come.
Two Distribution Channels You Need to Take Advantage Of
Now, let’s look at some of the modern distribution channels that have proven to be fruitful for a number of distributors - even those who may have at first been hesitant to check them out.
There’s no doubt that you’ve at least heard of Amazon. And you probably use it in your personal life to make purchases for your friends and family (and, of course, yourself).
But you might not have considered the fact that Amazon’s Business feature can do wonders for your company.
Amazon Business allows you to present and distribute your company’s B2B products to client companies of all sizes, just as Amazon’s base service allows B2C companies to do.
Using Amazon Business as a distribution channel has a number of benefits:
- Exposure to Amazon’s incredibly wide audience base
- Optimized user interface for B2B customers (to ensure a positive UX for your clients)
- Fulfillment and delivery process is simple and streamlined - a staple of Amazon’s services
However, there are also a few things to take note of regarding Amazon Business:
- Fulfillment and delivery fees can be expensive (up to 15% of a given transaction)
- Amazon limits communication between supplier and client to Amazon’s proprietary channels
- Amazon must accept your company into its Business program - a rigorous process that may or may not be successful
All things considered, utilizing Amazon Business to distribute your products can help you generate a ton of new leads and clientele - enough so as to make the hefty fulfillment fees worth the extra cost of business.
eBay for Business
You’re also probably familiar with eBay from a consumer’s perspective, as well.
But, again, there’s a whole other side to eBay’s services that cater to the needs of B2B distributors.
Similar to Amazon’s Business services, eBay for Business allows distributors to showcase their products on the popular ecommerce site, allowing potential buyers to connect with them through yet another channel.
eBay for Business can be a great option for distributors for a few reasons:
- eBay provides its services at a lower cost than Amazon Business (less than 10% per transaction)
- eBay provides heightened visibility through search engine optimization (especially when clients are shopping for specialty items)
- eBay offers a number of shipping options at a much lower cost than Amazon - allowing you to pass savings on to your clients
Of course, eBay for Business isn’t without its fair share of flaws, including:
- Poor customer service
- A stale, sometimes cumbersome user interface
- A poor proprietary on-site search engine
Still, eBay can help your company reach brand new clientele at a fraction of the cost of Amazon Business’ services. For those just getting their feet wet while checking out new distribution channels, eBay may be the best way to get started.
Both Amazon Business and eBay for Business can provide incredible opportunities for your B2B company. By becoming present and prevalent on these channels, you open up a world of possibilities in terms of getting your brand noticed and generating new sources of revenue.