The idea of promoting promos through the Web is hardly a new one. There are some effective limitations on the utility of individual firms’ sites, however. While they can make promotions known to a company’s regular customers, who visit its web site regularly, they are not inherently designed to grow new business, and do not expose the promotion to the widest possible body of resellers.
These objectives can certainly be done through other types of marketing. But we believe an opportunity exists to use the web in a systematic way, to bring promotions to a wider audience, and increase the sales of promoted goods.
We see the solution as the establishment of an online site not affiliated with any one vendor or distributor, but which instead will be a completely neutral site where all vendors and distributors will be able to list their promotions. To succeed, such a site will need to have several key characteristics:
The basic listings have to be free for the company advertising the promotions. Such a site can only succeed if it establishes itself as the place for authorized resellers to go in search of promos of all types. This will require that the listing of promotions be as extensive and authoritative as possible. If a fee were to be charged for a basic listing, some companies might decide not to participate, and the comprehensiveness of the database would suffer.
Access to the site has to be limited, to ensure that only authorized resellers are able to view listed promotions, and that end-users will be kept off the site. Without these safeguards, resellers and vendors open themselves up to complaints from customers who have inside knowledge of pricing. Without a secure guarantee that access be restricted in this way, distributors, and many vendors, would simply be not interested in participating. The answer lies in developing and enforcing password protection with the site, which will allow only qualified resellers access to the information.
Such a site needs to be easy to use, for the party placing the promo advertisement as well as the reseller. The process in placing a promotion on a third party site should be no more complicated than placing a promo on a company’s own web site. The most efficient way to accomplish this appears to be having vendors and distributors post their own promotions to the site themselves. Promotions should be taken down automatically by the site itself once they end, however.
The site has to be able to attract resellers, and to do so inexpensively. The short history of e-commerce is littered with concepts that failed, even though they may have been very good ideas. Two key reasons for failure stand out — sites were unable to generate enough traffic, and thus could not recoup their costs; or else they generated that traffic only through expensive advertising. This could have resulted in net losses on each transaction, without developing the strong customer relationships necessary to ultimately drop the costs of generating transactions down to a profitable level. The trick is to attract enough customers, at a low enough cost, that the site develops a loyal customer base, which will permit profitability through advertising and other ancillary services.
Here comes the answer
There is a solution to these problems. This could be in the form of PromoLine, a free online listing of all types of promotions, channel programs and channel contests, offered by distributors, vendors and service providers. This service will be distributor-neutral and vendor-neutral, and will provide resellers with details on current promotions, such as eligibility, distributors offering the promotion, and the length of the promo. The listings will be easily searchable by both product type and vendor.
PromoLine will, by its very nature, attract a larger number of resellers than would visit any single vendor, distributor or service provider site. It thus will greatly enhance the ability of vendors and distributors to expand their customer base, as well as their ability to dispose of excess goods, if that is the purpose of the promo. The service will provide a reciprocal link back to each participating vendor or distributor’s own site.
Vendors of the world, rejoice
Vendors, service providers and distributors will post their latest promotions themselves onto PromoLine through a password-protected access, and will be given a reasonable amount of space to describe them. Basic entries will be created and posted in text form.
Just like the Yellow Pages, however, a basic advertisement can be enhanced by upgrading into HTML format – either provided at source, or designed by NetProfit’s web development team for a flat-rate fee. Once the promotion ends, it will automatically be removed from the web site.
The site will have several major advantages in the task of developing a broad and loyal reseller client base. It will include features like:
- Under the microscope — A detailed and responsible analysis of individual programs. What do they try to do? How well do they size up against competitive offerings? How well do they work? What do resellers think of them? This section will review current promotions and discuss how, when and why resellers should take advantage of promotions.
- PromoLine Interactive — This could feature feedback on what types of promotions, rebates and spiffs resellers want, and how programs out there measure up.
This site, which is already operational, offers real value, and that it is effectively designed to overcome the inherent barriers to the success of this kind of site.
The bottom line
The PromoLine web site will be resellers’ one-stop shop to find out what’s new in channel promos, what’s working, and what isn’t. It will sort out the information about different vendors’ and distributors’ programs, rebates, bundles and spiffs and present it to resellers in a way that saves them time and money, so that they can decide what’s best for them, and what can best up their bottom line.
Printed with permission from www.xitstrategies.com