The Complete Guide to eCommerce Development 2024

How to build an effective dealer network with custom IT solutions

How to build an effective dealer network

Scaling a retail business is crucial for companies with a wide range of products and long sales cycles. If you’re planning to develop a dealer network, this article will guide you on how to achieve success using custom IT solutions, whether developed from scratch or based on ready-made CMS platforms.

Who needs dealer networks and why?

Dealer networks are vital sales channels for large manufacturers and companies in both B2B and B2C segments. They offer several benefits:

  • Expand product and service sales
  • Reach new customers and explore new markets.
  • Increase regional presence
  • Reduce operating costs
  • Boost competitiveness and brand awareness
  • Receive feedback and adopt strategies to local markets 

Challenges in working with dealers

Simtech Development researched the challenges of large companies working with dealers. The study involved 50 participants, including business owners, managers, and key specialists from manufacturing plants and major trading companies.  The study identified several common challenges:

  • Different systems across partners complicate management.
  • Dealers often face bureaucracy in document flow 
  • Regular price adjustments cause confusion among dealers and managers.
  • Majority of businesses lack automated business processes.
  • Lack of tools for comprehensive reporting or end-to-end analytics.
  • Dealers are often unwilling to invest in advertising and marketing.
  • IT systems frequently fail to address the specific needs of the company.
  • Separate dealer websites lead to weak brand awareness.

Suggested solutions

You can solve most of these problems by digitizing business processes and moving to an online platform, such as a dealer’s personal account for example. This approach automates sales and paperwork, reduces processing time and human errors, and speeds up dealer onboarding.

Basically, you have two options to launch an online platform: develop a custom solution from scratch or use a ready-made platform. Based on our experience, here’s what we suggest.

If you have many unique SKUs, consider developing a custom solution from scratch, for example using the modern open-source Laravel framework. Laravel offers many tools for developers, allowing them to create and adapt projects to fit your company’s specific needs.

Alternatively, you can use the CS-Cart platform. CS-Cart integrates with popular delivery and payment services and offers more than 500 functions, including reports, analytics, marketing tools, and multi-storefront support. Each storefront can function as a full-fledged dealer’s online store.

Using custom IT solutions to build dealer networks brings significant benefits to businesses. It promotes scaling, market expansion, partner attraction, and the simplification and automation of business processes.

Such solutions enhance interaction between dealers and manufacturers, improve customer service quality, and strengthen brand recognition in various regions. Additionally, they help reduce operating costs and human resources, as creating an affiliate network online is more cost-effective and convenient than opening physical offices and hiring employees.

Benefits of implementing a custom solution

Benefits of a custom solution

Online platforms for manufacturer-dealer interaction

There are several options for online platforms that facilitate interaction between manufacturers and dealers:

  • B2B marketplaces: These platforms focus on the wholesale sale of goods and services.
  • Online stores with dealer warehouses: These integrate dealer inventories directly into the online store.
  • B2C marketplaces with B2B features: These platforms combine B2C functionalities with B2B portal features.

Particularly noteworthy is the B2C marketplace model with B2B functionalities. A case from Simtech Development’s portfolio demonstrates that a custom IT solution for building a dealer network isn’t just a luxury but a necessity for scaling a business in various regions and achieving maximum results.

Success story of a hydraulic equipment manufacturer 

As a hydraulic equipment manufacturer expanded, the idea of creating a marketplace naturally emerged. Today, it has representative offices in 56 countries, with 14 having their own production sites.

To manage operations across such a wide geographical area, the company built a dealer network. The manufacturer acknowledged that meeting the needs of thousands of customers, ranging from private homeowners to large entities like utilities, industrial enterprises, airports, schools, hospitals, hotels, and sports institutions, would be impossible without these partners. Consequently, their business operates in both B2C and B2B segments.

We designed and developed a marketplace for this project that functions like a multi-vendor platform but has the look-n-feel of a classic online store. The manufacturer acted as the administrator, establishing uniform trading rules for all partners, forming a catalog of goods, and setting prices. Supplier selection was based on geolocation.

The project was a success: the number of transactions on the marketplace surpassed sales volumes in both physical and online dealer stores. For more details on the objectives and outcomes of this project, refer to our guide on building effective dealer networks using custom solutions. Simtech Development experts have compiled market research results, best practices for developing custom solutions, and our clients’ experiences.