It's refreshing to see an email from a office equipment manufacturer that is touting their web site as dealer and end user friendly. A recent email from Formax introduced me to their new web site, and their claim to fame was the fact there was no dealer locator on their site. Thus dealers could send their customers to the site to gain additional product knowledge, videos and spec sheets.
Formax understands that dealers enabled them to be where they are today, when it comes to the copier channel all of the manufactures state "we're committed to the dealer channel", however they all still run a Direct Channel and then pit dealer against dealer when a prospect accesses their web site looking for a copier.
Case in point I was able to visit the web sites of Ricoh, Kyocera, KonicaMinolta, Sharp and Canon. In every instance when I input the zip code in their dealer locators I was shocked that Sharp, Canon and KonicaMinolta came up with eight dealers. Ricoh and Kyocera both came in with four dealers. In some cases there were dealers that were located in New York City (which is a good 45 miles from the zip code).
How can this many choices be good for the dealer, especially when we keep on hearing "we're committed to the dealer channel. The only winners in what I described is the prospect and the manufacturer.
Just when I thought that I wouldn't be able to find a copier dealer channel web site that didn't have a dealer locator and was focused on specs, and product knowledge, I found Muratec. We all know Muratec is not the biggest, but they just maybe the best when it comes to being "Committed to Dealer Success". As far as I'm concerned, if I were a dealer owner (and I was one at one time), you can throw me all the back end money you want, but I won't believe you are committed to my success until you change your web site like Formax and Muractec.