strike group goes cross channel
Strike Group success story
Strike Group is a national distributor of mobile phone and associated products. Founded in 2001 by Chris Ryan and Adam Rockett after a distribution contract in Hong Kong presented the opportunity to sell mobile accessories. Strike Group are the exclusive Australian distributors for Parrot car phone kits for mobile phones and Scala Rider (Blue tooth motorcycle helmet products) and are distributors of mobile phones, mobile phone accessories and consumer electronics. They also offer handset repair services.
As budding 18 years old entrepreneurs, Chris Ryan and Adam Rockett attempted a variety of avenues in attempting to gain footholds in various markets. They tried to develop hail-proof car covers, then wine distribution and promotion before moving onto mobile phone accessories distribution.
Strike Group is generally a business to business (B2B) organisation yet they utilise online retailing as a direct channel or as Chris Ryan describes as a first point of contact for customers seeking their products. Chris Ryan understands the cross channel nature of the internet and intends to utilise it to his fullest advantage.
The web site strike.com.au has been running for approximately 8 months and generates between 3 and 5 sales per day. Chris is not concerned by the low number of sales as the main purpose of the site is a first point of contact for customers seeking information on their product, and as a brand awareness tool. Prices are set at a retail price that will not undercut Strike’s commercial customers that on-sell Strike’s products, and Strike will not email retail customers.
Chris says that they their site satisfies the needs of retail customers who are seeking their product and want to either know more about the product or meet instant gratification needs (a direct channel) . By having this presence they can educate by allowing customers to easily find information on Strike products before going on to a retailer to buy the product, or if urgency or instant gratification beckons the site serves a dual purpose.
The long term plan though is to own the end consumer. Strike believes that for wholesalers to remain relevant and profitable moving forward they must be adding value to the supply chain. This includes providing full marketing and promotional support as well as ensuring the end user is kept up to date with product improvements/ product releases and is fully supported. Various activities including exhibition participation, excellent support services (online and on the phone) and product demonstrations allow Strike to do this. Strike believes that having contact with the end consumer will not only support its network of resellers, but also allows Strike to control the message to the public about current and future products. This allows Strike to promoted economically and effectively its partner’s products, and Strike’s own products in the future.
Strike’s strength is its people. It’s values include responsibility, honesty and transparency.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is done, half in house and some is outsourced. Some pay per click (PPC) marketing is also done. Chris also says that they have recently signed up to Twitter and are testing this. Facebook is not on the cards at the moment. A dedicated person exists for web products
Nuts and bolts
Everything is done using Netsuite, a web based enterprise resource planning product. All aspects of the business (except for Payroll) from purchasing to warehouse management and invoicing is done on Netsuite
- Buy stock at the right price
- Enlist the services of search engine optimisation (SEO) and Cost per click (CPC) specialists
- Content on the site must be spot on
In a downturn people are buying more quality products and less junk
Chris Ryan and Adam Rockett understand the wide reach and 24 hour accessibility of the Internet, and the power of the Online retailing model and will continue to use this channel to add value to their products and their retail and commercial customers. Although not an Internet retailer in the true sense, their model is compelling and an inspiration for other distributors that need to overcome tunnel vision from decades of traditonal methods of business, and embrace cross channel distribution even if this entails incorporating online retailing into the channel mix.