Many manufacturers have adopted a hybrid model of selling through retailers and direct to customers in a way that works well for them.
For example, Samsung sells their products direct to consumers as well as through a variety of retailers and telecommunications providers. How do they do that successfully?
First, they communicate with their retail partners about selling directly and why it actually has certain advantages for retailers.
- The Samsung website provides a place where customers can learn more about the products before going to a store to purchase. Many use the site for this content and then still buy from their preferred local or online retailer.
- Samsung also provides links to third party retailers such as Best Buy, so they are still supporting their partners even though they also sell directly to give people more choices.
- Pricing is another critical aspect of the hybrid model. Samsung tries to avoid undercutting their retailers on pricing.
Samsung is also focused on marketing primarily to their loyal repeat “Samsung customers” with their ecommerce presence. These are the least expensive customers for Samsung to market to; plus, they leave the “open market” to their third-party retailers, which represents most of the market share.
Businesses who choose to use a hybrid model must also avoid hoarding all the inventory for themselves. It’s important to make sure your retailers have adequate inventory, as well.
For example, I recently wanted to purchase the new iPad Pro. I tried to order it directly from Apple, but it was out of stock for several months. I checked Amazon and was able to purchase one within a week. Apple wasn’t greedy with their inventory. They made sure that Amazon had enough inventory to keep up with consumer demand for the new iPad, even though Apple was sold out of their own inventory.
There are other models that manufacturers have found successful to create a hybrid between direct and third-party sales.