How to be both multi-channel and conflict-free
I’m often asked about what seems to be a built-in conflict for many online sellers: If you sell direct to consumers but also have distribution channels, like other retailers and resellers, how do you strike a balance between winning new business directly, getting visibility, and still keeping your channel partners happy? #eCommerce #Q&A: How to balance selling through other retailers with selling from your store? Click To Tweet
Since your distribution channels are probably the biggest sales you have, it’s important to establish clear strategies with those other retailers about their areas of visibility and whether they’re focusing on certain geographies. So if the distribution channels are stocking inventory at a specific retail location, then you might ask them if they have flexibility around how they distribute your products online.
It’s important to know there are a number of different strategies here, whether it be picking a geography, choosing a channel, or narrowing in on different sales methodologies (free shipping or some sort of a promotional bundle), so work to find anything that might differentiate your sales from the other retailer’s. It’s crucial to find a solution even though you will likely have the pricing advantage.
At the end of the day, it comes down to the kind of the relationship you have with your distribution channels and what percentage of your business is being driven by them. Because if at some point feel like you can get ahead through your own marketing, pricing, or sales strategy, then you might actually look at going independent. You might not need that many other retailers to sell your products, but you need to be conscious about what that relationship is like, what the contractual limitations might be, and always maintain an open dialogue. It’s the retailer’s goal to sell your products and it’s your goal to keep growing, so you’re both better off by forming a functional partnership to find the best way to work together.
–By Parag Mamnani, Founder and CEO