A Brief History of Sales Channels

A Brief History of Sales ChannelsOne definition I‘ve seen and like of a “sales channel” is “a method of distribution used by a business to sell its product.” The digital age we are currently in has certainly spawned a multitude of new sales channels, yet they still fall into two basic categories, whether you’re doing B2B or B2C: direct and indirect.

It’s how we understand customer behavior and apply marketing strategy to these channels, though, that I believe makes the difference in being successful. And I think it’s important to understand how we got here, so I’d like to go back in time roughly 20 years.

The information not-so-super highway was just starting to flourish, and the primary mechanisms for processing orders were telephone, mail and fax. The early versions of order processing systems (nobody said “order to cash” then) were not very efficient. The notions of upselling and cross-selling were in their infancy.

SpotlightMuch more.

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SpotlightTrade Sales Fell Back in August (Pub Lunch)
After strong reports for June and July, AAP-reported book sales fell sharply in August, on a comparable basis. Total sales of $544.4 million were about even with July’s shipments, but they were well below sales of $604.2 million for the same month in 2014, down 10 percent. (August is traditionally the kickoff month for shipping in fall books.) The current report is more in line with August sales from 2013 (at $549 million), and we note that the comparison is exaggerated since the AAP has revised upwards the historical August 2014 sales—which were reported as $585 million initially a year ago.

Is This the World’s Smallest Book Publisher? (Vulture)
In the last few decades, the dozens of companies that once made up America’s publishing industry have grouped into just five multi-billion-dollar conglomerates. But that’s also freed up space at the other end of the spectrum, as scores of tiny independent publishers have arisen to fill the vacuum. Perhaps the smallest among them is ANTIBOOKCLUB, the operation of 33-year-old Gabriel Levinson, which releases just one title of literary fiction or nonfiction each year. Levinson, who lives in Brooklyn, handles every task himself, from editing to marketing to bookkeeping—and funds the business expenses with credit cards and the paychecks from his day job as an associate editor at Abrams Books.

Malcolm Gladwell Hands Out Book Blurbs Like Santa Does Presents (NY Times)
When Malcolm Gladwell was asked to write a blurb for the 2005 book Freakonomics, he did not explain that it explored the dynamics of the Ku Klux Klan or the impact of naming a child “Loser.” Instead, the New Yorker writer and best-selling author of The Tipping Point and Blink simply wrote, “Prepare to be dazzled.” Freakonomics became a best-seller. And a decade later, Mr. Gladwell’s name adorns scores of book covers not his own.

SpotlightAmazon May Be Shopping for Planes to Ship Packages (Quartz)
Amazon, one of the world’s largest package shippers, may be planning to reduce its dependence on FedEx, UPS and the US Postal Service with its own overnight freight service. The e-commerce giant, which continues to ramp up its logistics investments, is reportedly building out its own US air operation, including potentially buying “perhaps 20” large 767 freighter jets from Boeing.

Inside Google’s Plan to Speed Up the Mobile Web (Poynter)
Earlier this year, Google announced an effort to speed up mobile news—and the entire mobile Web—with a new initiative called Accelerated Mobile Pages. AMP, as it’s called, has been described as an open-source bid to overhaul mobile performance and compared to Instant Articles, a similar effort launched earlier this year by Facebook. When Google unveiled AMP in October, the measure was greeted by a mix of enthusiasm and wariness from future-of-news types, who alternatively hailed it as a huge boon to online journalism or an attempt by Google to position itself as the arbiter of Web standards for a community of publishers.

Overcoming My Fear of Twitter (Jane Friedman)
Like many independent authors, I’ve long understood the value of Twitter as a networking tool. Even so, regardless of what I “understood,” and no matter what any experts said, I would not embrace it. I recently realized I can blame my child-self for that.

Deciding Who It Is for (Seth Godin)
The marketer can change her story, but she can’t easily change the worldview of the person she seeks to sell to. It’s almost impossible to turn someone who doesn’t care about hats into someone who cares a lot about hats.


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