Tag Archives: B2C

How Does a B2B Company Learn B2C? Three Lessons

Interview with Ross Johnston, CEO, DiskCorp

Situation: A well-established B2B company is starting to work with B2C retailers. It is finding that both the internal and external perspectives of B2C companies are very different. How does a B2B company work differently with B2C companies?

Advice from Ross Johnston:

  • In the OEM market, manufacturers control all warranty obligations, have tightly controlled procedures for handling and tracking returned goods and are very focused on product quality and operational efficiency.
  • Leading B2C retailers have a very different perspective. Their focus is on the customer: on encouraging great customer experience and repeat customer visits. Products are sold to big box retailers without warranty, and the retailers provide their own warranty programs. This results in far more returns than for OEMs. Further, product is returned for a wide variety of reasons from failure to work as advertised to the customer simply changing their mind. There is also a wide range in how returned products are handled – from throwing them in the dumpster to returning undamaged items to stock, and few records are kept.
  • Our challenge is to help retailer and big box customers design, develop and implement recycling and cost recovery systems in our market. This means both developing procedures for the retailers and new channels to cost recovery markets.
    • First, they need processes to triage returned goods into broad categories: new or near new goods condition for resale; goods which require refurbishing or recycling; and goods for environmentally appropriate disposal.
    • Second, we have created a software tracking solution – a reverse logistics program – to track returned goods from receipt to their eventual disposition with full end-to-end P&L analysis. This can yield up to a 45% gross margin on returned goods which is shared with the retailer.
    • We develop additional processes that vary by retailer to help them handle the flow of returned goods.
    • We want to provide the retailer with an end-to-end operational platform that turns a cost center into a profit center and reduces long-term liability exposure that accompanies landfill disposal.

You can contact Ross Johnston at rjohnston@diskcorp.com

Key Words: B2B, B2C, OEM, Warranty, Procedures, Focus, Product, Customer, Return, Refurbish, Disposal, Process, Tracking

How Do You Revamp Your Brand and Marketing? Three Guidelines

Situation: A company wants to revamp its marketing materials and web site. They have no in-house resources, and no specific direction has been set. What are the best ways to revamp your brand and marketing materials?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • The first thing to consider is whether this Is just an adjustment to your current marketing, or whether you really need a broader in-depth analysis of branding, positioning and how well this is communicated by your marketing materials and web site. If it has been several years since your last revision of materials and web site, these may no longer be in step with current needs.
  • If you are located near a major metropolitan area there are many marketing consultants who can bring both a professional approach and a fresh vision to the task.
    • Work with your Chamber of Commerce, industry organizations, and your vendors, suppliers and distributors to find companies who have recently revamped their marketing. Check out the web sites of these companies and see which appeal to you. Ask the ones that you like what consultants they used.
    • If your company sells to consumers, or sells to consumers through outside channels, you should consider social media as a part of both your marketing mix. Even B2B companies now see see value in social media. Choose a consultant with expertise in social media as well as traditional marketing.
    • Interview several consultants before you make your final choice.
  • Many small companies are financially stretched and don’t have the dollars to support a major market revamp. Are there ways to reduce the cost?
    • Consider semester or summer interns for some of the analysis, data gathering and perhaps some of the design or social media work. Students at colleges and universities are hungry for intern positions – both paid and unpaid – to satisfy college course and graduation requirements as well as to get an inside track on future jobs.

Key Words: Collateral, Web Site, Branding, Budget, Intern, Consultant, Vendor, Supplier, Chamber, B2B, B2C, Social Media

How Do You Bridge The Supply Demand Gap?

Interview with Jim Hogan, CEO, SView LLC

Situation: The rapid evolution of mobile devices creates new opportunities to build mobile enterprise application businesses. However for businesses there is no clear path to mobilizing business applications. How do you bridge the gap between supply and demand in mobile enterprise apps?

Advice:

  • There are three legs to the stool of a successful SMB business model: developer platform, go to market strategy, and licensing and maintenance sales strategy. There is a consolidation play available for a small company that can generate traction in all three.
  • As to developer platforms, Microsoft originally got traction for Windows by being maniacal about building great developer relationships. Over time they leveraged this and just got better and better.
    • There are several platforms available that show promise, including Rhomobile, Mobile Nation HQ, and Appcelerator.
    • All are small now – in the $1-20 million revenue range. Their principal challenge is identifying a viable go to market strategy.
    • Another platform that shows promise is IBM’s Eclipse IDE.
  • Next is go to market strategies. Yahoo recently launched a search engine for mobile apps in Yahoo for Mobile. This is important to the creation of a viable market place for apps regardless of platform. If a viable platform developer can do a deal to generate a market for business apps this will go a long way to developing a successful go to market strategy.
  • The third leg, development of a long-term licensing and maintenance sales strategy, will most likely occur through acquisition of a company with the first two pieces. The lead would be an initial developer platform but could spin off to others.
    • Apple has started looking into this play with its iCloud strategy; the challenge for Apple will be making it enterprise-friendly.
    • Who else could do this? RIM and Microsoft both have a long history serving business customers, huge customer bases and  and the marketing capabilities to support mobile business applications. The wild card may be HP – currently the largest hardware purveyor in the enterprise and consumer space, and with the new WebOs platform from their purchase of Palm
  • It will be fascinating to watch how this market develops.

You can contact Jim Hogan at jahogan@jahogan.net

Key Words: Mobile, Device, Enterprise, Application, App, Opportunity, Scalable, B2C, Gap, Supply, Demand, Developer, Platform, Go to Market, Licensing, Maintenance Sales, Rhomobile, Mobile Nation HQ, Appcelerator, Microsoft, Yahoo, RIM, HP, Palm