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In this article, we describe four possible ways to find an online distributor effectively.
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The year 2020 had two faces. One was that of suffering brick-and-mortar activities, and the other was a thriving online world. We proceed into 2021 with issues similar to the ones that plagued our economies last year. Therefore, it is only natural that even businesses that are reluctant to sell online are now looking for a way to capture a share of the booming ecommerce sector.
Yet it is important to clarify that participating in ecommerce and selling online successfully are not exactly the same thing. As in the physical world, when you’re selling online you need a distributor. That is, you need someone to help you sell your product to a large number of customers.
An Influencer Can Boost Your Online Sales
The easiest way to sell something is letting somebody else look for clients. Then you pay that person a commission every time you sell something. In online marketing jargon, this is called affiliate marketing.
The affiliate will probably be an influencer. However, it could be anybody with a decent online presence who is able to divert part of their traffic to your online store.
In short, the influencer acts as your online distributor.
Generally, the influencer will make a video about your product. Alternatively, they will use your product in one or more videos or posts. Also, they will put a link in the description to your online store.
This way you leverage the influencer’s distribution network with little investment.
You Could Use a B2C Marketplace as Your Online Distributor
You might have heard of Amazon.com. Maybe you have visited eBay.com a few times. These are B2C marketplaces, online platforms where sellers build an online store (more like an online corner). This allows them to reach the millions of customers that visit the portal.
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Now, the world of B2C marketplaces is huge, as many have blossomed in recent years on the back of the strong growth of online commerce. Many are retailers, meaning that they may buy from you in bulk and sell to retail customers themselves, taking care of delivery. Others are pure marketplaces, meaning that they just connect buyers and sellers, but then you will have to arrange delivery and provide customer service.
Some marketplaces are generalists. In other words, they sell everything. Others are specialists, meaning they cover just one sector. Moreover, some operate in just one country, whereas others sell globally.
You need to consider all these aspects, including rates, when choosing whether a B2C marketplace will be the best online distributor for you.
A B2B Marketplace Could Be a Better Fit for Your Company
Suppose that you do not want to deal with customer service. You have always sold wholesale and you want to keep it that way even online. No problem at all.
What you are looking for in this case are B2B marketplaces, behemoths such as Alibaba or DHgate. These websites work in a similar way as their B2C cousins, with the difference that both buyers and sellers are companies and that buyers purchase in bulk.
The beauty of the B2B online world is that it is concentrated in a few global giants. Therefore you do not have to spend much time and energy looking for the best one. There are sectorial websites but they are not as mature as in the case of B2C.
One of the chief problems with B2B marketplaces is that you might not receive recurrent orders. Another is that you could get stuck in the hurdles of a cross-border B2B transaction, especially if you are not used to it.
However, if you choose a reputable platform, there should be no problem with receiving international transactions. This is because the portal will take care of everything (as long as you pay for it).
Unfortunately, the only way to ensure you’ll be able to place and receive recurrent orders is to find a distributor who commits with you for the long term.
Let an E-Partnering Platform Help You with Online Distribution
E-partnering platforms are a mix between classified ads portals, matchmaking websites, and B2B marketplaces.
Companies do not trade single items but instead look for matching with the right business partner for the long term.
In fact, you will not find a catalog of a company’s products, but a description of the company itself. A company’s profile will provide a general outline of its history, its capabilities, and the reason it is looking for a partner.
Generally, suppliers put up their profiles so that interested buyers can get in contact with them. The entire transaction is then carried out outside the platform.
If that is what you are looking for, choose a proper e-partnering platform. There are not that many, but they are all generalists and global. Then make sure to write as much as you can about your company’s skills and what you are looking for.
An example of such B2B sites is Globartis, an e-partnering platform based in Europe which has been growing fast in recent years. Globartis makes it easy for companies everywhere in the world to find business partners for online distribution and other purposes.
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