How to build channel from online clients. Part 2

This is the second part of the article about online channels. In the first part I’ve tried to explain what does “building online channel from online clients” mean.

So, lets assume we have a standard distribution model. A few distributors, several dozens (or hundreds) resellers-retailers and we want to track which customer of which reseller has renewed his license a year later.

Sounds like no easy task and it isn’t. ¬†Let’s go step by step.

Step 1. Affiliate network. ¬†Every retailer should be also your online affiliate. Affiliates can easily receive their reseller margin from online sales – as affiliate kick-back. Also, only affiliate program (or something similar) allow to exchange data, required for this model (I’ll explain it later).

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Step 2. Tracking parameters. Which parameters could be used to track customer via time and via Internet? Those are:

e-mail address of the client. If we somehow manage to get an e-mail address of the client and link it to reseller, we can link any sales year later

retail_online_channel_2– serial number in the software. In theory we can assign batches of serial numbers to a reseller and later check these batches in the e-shop, when client is going to present them as their old serial number.

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-link in the software. This feature is specific for Kaspersky, but some other vendors have it as well. After some period of time the product itself will ask you to renew the license and conveniently give you a direct URL to the e-shop. In this URL we can place affiliate reference. Every client who manages to click it and buy the product, will be registered to this affiliate

retail_online_channel_4in this case we don’t even need to link customers with resellers, we just need to link Master CD-Roms with resellers.

Step 3. Implementation

Master CD-Rom option. If we make a master CD-Rom and deliver it to a particular reseller, then the problem is more less solved. It’s the easiest method and doesn’t require any manual steps. The problem is that it’s very expensive to set-up. It costs a lot to produce a special CD-Rom. And general CD-Roms are printed for the whole distribution. There is no way a distributor can track which CD-Roms are going to which reseller, if the boxes with these CD-Roms are the same. This option is applicable for the big resellers, who can order and pay for 5000-10000 Cd-Roms orders.

Serial number tracking option. Again we have problem with mass production. Serial numbers are random (well, looks like random) and secret (they’re located inside box and can not be seen until client opens the product box at home). We can create (in theory) some another open consecutive serial numbers for secret several numbers, place them on the retail box and tray to track them via distribution. I’ve never tried this before, looks like too much work.

E-mail tracking option. This is one of the most interesting options, because it can be used with small retailers. There are 2 options to do it:

-collecting e-mails of users. Reseller is collecting emails from it’s users and supplying it to a special back-office (linked to his affiliate program). Later the e-shop registers any orders from clients with this emails as orders from this reseller.

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-online registration via voucher system. Instead of serial numbers we give customers some cards with vouchers. Those vouchers could be exchanged for the real serial numbers via especial website (linked, again, to the affiliate system).

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