It’s not uncommon for many of the small B2C businesses I speak to to say they don’t think ecommerce makes sense for them. Either it’s too expensive, they don’t have the time or knowledge they feel they need, or they don’t want to cannibalize their existing sales channels.
If you have a retail presence, there might be some truth to those arguments. (Though I would argue that you should change that situation fast and get online anyway. Fodder for a separate post …)
But you don’t have a retail presence – and only sell through distributors or VARs – you can’t afford not to build an ecommerce presence.
Why? Because right now you don’t own your customers. Worse, you don’t know anything about them.
Online sales allows you to own your customers – and get to know them – without the expense or geographical limitations of a physical storefront. You can learn where they live, how much they spend each time they shop with you, items they frequently purchase together, even what credit cards they use.
That data lets you tailor campaigns and offers to their preferences and gives you immediate feedback on what is and is not selling.
Yes, you can gather a lot of this info from your resellers, but that assumes that you’ve got a great relationship with them, and that they have the ability to capture this info systematically. Some of the info, though, they’re not going to want to share with you. (It’s in your best interest to share info with your other resellers, but not theirs. Those other resellers are their competitors.)
So now, are you sure ecommerce doesn’t make sense for you? Even if it’s a break-even proposition in P&L terms, you’re leaving a lot of valuable information on the table if you aren’t getting to know your end consumers as well as you can.