|| Internet Marketing and Retailing
By Paul A. Paterson
years ago, the Internet was going to revolutionize how the world did
business. We’re still waiting. While consumers haven't abandoned
bricks-and-mortar retailers in favor of web-based purchasing, some
dogged manufacturers and distributors in the toy industry have turned
the Internet into a valuable business-to-business tool.
The Beverly Hills
Teddy Bear Co. has been in business for 10 years, but began developing
its website only three years ago. After experimenting with a number
of website approaches, the company finally settled on the business-to-business
take a brain surgeon to tell you it's a long road," notes Patrick
Feld, . "We shifted our focus to our roots. Our wholesale distribution
is already established, and, boom--it worked."
realized that the cost for each new customer acquired on the web
was roughly $150. The more cost-effective approach was to train
existing clients to use the website to place orders, track production,
check invoicing and perform a host of other routine tasks that previously
involved telephone or other contact. It's an approach that has worked
particularly well with small, independent toy stores.
very difficult to service these accounts using traditional means,"
Feld explains, noting both sides benefit from the business efficiencies.
"We don't see a dollar savings, we see a time savings. Just
the fact that we put our product lines in an electronic vehicle
is a savings. Before we would roll out a new line of products, we
would produce an associated promotional material plan. We're not
able to save customers any money, but [rather] in terms of time
savings and efficiency."
That level of
service is just what retailers are looking for, according to Kathleen
McHugh, Executive Director of the American Specialty Toy Retailing
think for our members, it basically boils down to customer service,"
McHugh says. "They pride themselves in being able to meet the
needs of their clients and this is just one way they do that."
Business: Even Small Businesses
Can Benefit from an Internet Presence
Supplement: Do-it-Yourself Articles
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