Retailers of All Sizes Win Global Shoppers

Hanson Marketing recently structured an online retail strategy with global reach for a retailer of natural personal care and gourmet food goods. No matter the size or current reach, any retailer with the right mix of unique solutions and compelling story can go global.

Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) states that “Domestic-only retailers and online pure-plays are using e-commerce to achieve global reach without opening stores by enabling cross-border trade (CBT) from an existing website (e.g., Saks Fifth Avenue) or by building complete, local e-commerce operations (e.g., Amazon).”

Think about what this means, particularly for local, one-shop bricks and mortar retailers and for those operating purely online: the global retail market isn’t just for the big boxes!  If you believe that the products you offer are unique and that your store is the best source for them — after all, this is what you tell your customers everyday, right? — then you’ve got a foundation for going global.

Contact Tom for a detailed case study on how Hanson Marketing formed a global retail strategy with proven growth results.

Seling to Asian Middle Class? Your Numbers are UP!

Trade stats from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach show this gateway to Asia is handling 20% more outbound cargo than last year. This is good news if you’re a) making and selling the products that are in demand by growing middle classes in Asia; and b) if you make your money by transporting, packing and certifying said goods. Local economies that service and support global ports shares the wealth of a market uptick, handling the products that flow through those ports. More tonnage equals more revenue.

Eastbound products signal recovery in export sector

As of September — the most recent month for which statistics are available — the state ports exported more than $12.3 billion to foreign markets, an increase of 19% over the year before, through its harbors and airports. (See LA Times report) We’re all climbing out of the trade hole together – manufacturers, resellers, logistics teams.

Yes, imports into said ports are still down, but remember what a sales pro you are: take the export growth uptick and run with it to counter sales decreases. If you are in charge of building global sales channels to reach consumers in these markets, make sure you’ve got an eye on your partners there. Unlike the EU and North America, these markets have less ground to regain after the 2008 recession, and consumers are moving fast to increase their living standards by buying coveted US goods.

Before you ship your containers Eastbound, get on a plane and visit your targeted countries. Recruit and train channel partners in person… back up the high quality claims about your products with high quality partnership management. Remember that global tech giants like Cisco claim more than 75% of their annual revenue through channel partners. If it works for them, it can work for your company.

Cisco Brands Span Prosumer & Consumer Sectors

Cisco is plowing ahead with solutions for strictly business to prosumer to consumer, hardware products that scream “smart, connected, portable.” The company is backing into new WiFi-enabled video and in-home utility metering consumer markets without the hoopla and noise of brand-building consumer product launch advertisements… at least not to the degree that we see from GE, SONY, and other mega-brands.

Cisco’s Flip brand of portable video camera is juiced with WiFi and will soon have improved, on-the-fly editing. The brand was acquired in 2009, and it’s the first chance we’ve had to see how Cisco runs a purely consumer integrated marketing plan into and for a channel structure that’s comprised of all the leading consumer electronics resellers, online and in-store. The majority of Flip-ers won’t know or care who makes it, which is why I was surprised to see Cisco advertising the product, minus the brand name, during World Cup matches. See its airy, clean, uncomplicated, un-Cisco website.

Cius by Cisco Equips the Mobile Workforce

As for Cisco Cius teleconferencing tablet, it’s one new product that’s squarely in Cisco’s business solutions and prosumer comfort zone. Cius is an easy add-on for the company’s behemoth reseller channel to accept and promote. I like what Cisco’s done with Cius: they truly get the hassles faced by today’s prosumer knowledge workers, who make their living both on-site and remotely. While leading a go-to-market launch at an enterprise software developer, several times a week my teammates and I would clutter a conference table with assorted notebooks, smart phones, intercoms, video hookups, journals, and water bottles. Tablet-sized devices for prosumers would streamline such meetings, and remote participants would be much more easily accommodated. A friend who works at Cisco has told me for years how their regional offices are focused on “hoteling” work spaces… walk in, plug in, work, leave. (no Dilbert cartoons or Pretty Pony collections here!)

Home Energy Controller by Cisco

The Smart Meter solution is a tablet-like interface that promises smarter use of utilities and powered devices in the home. Unlike Flip and Cius, the channel strategy for this product is comprised of utility providers and related systems integrators, on a regional and local basis. It will be a partner-led, “referral” sale to end-user consumers by these utilities, and by specialist contractors in the building trade. The market space looks wide open for Cisco to grab top share right away. If prompted, consumers have preconceptions of which leading electronics manufacturer would be best in class for such a remote monitoring product – GE, Siemens, Motorola – but it’s first-in, best-dressed when it comes to grabbing top brand share in a new market. Channel resources from Cisco will have to be strong on consumer education and revenue-building rebates and incentives.

So, Cisco has two new ways of selling products (mass retail, utility providers) for three new product ideas, which means shifting how they sell and support products. And, how they educate and motivate a more complex, multi-tier channel sales and support ecosystem. Of the 3 releases, I think they’ll have the biggest challenges in dealing with the tumultuous electronics retail channel… the Flip product idea is up for grabs, and Cisco may turn out to be loss leader during the next three to five years. No matter, though.. a portable, video-driven solution will only strengthen Cisco’s place in the connected workplace, and completely jives with its broader product portfolio. Win-win, eh?

Smart Channel Partner Formation and Collaboration: Online Tools

An innovative tool for channel experts is online and free. Check out and take the tour to get a feel for how it will start making life easier for channel leaders in any sector. What I like about it most: collaboration tools and tailored partner management solutions. Overall, just a great, well thought-out way to address channel leadership challenges.

When companies like Cisco are relying upon their channels for up to 80% of their revenues, you know it’s time you took a closer look at how you’re running channels now. Here’s one great online tool.

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