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Bill D'Alessandro

Two unique go-to-market strategies I've seen recently (that aren't Facebook and Amazon)

Published 5 months ago • 2 min read

We all know the typical ecommerce distribution models - DTC, Amazon, and Retail.

Today I want to highlight two other ways businesses can reach their customers that you might not be thinking about, to help inspire you to diversify your own business:

Influencer Businesses

Here’s a common issue for many ecom operators: Facebook has been consistently decreasing organic reach, making you pay to reach the people who want to buy from you. I would not be surprised if one day Gmail will make you pay for your sales emails to reach the inbox, not just the promotions tab.

As much as we want our posts to be seen by every person who could possibly interact with (and buy from) them, the platforms aren’t going to let you do that for free.

Having a huge Instagram or TikTok audience is a distribution cheat code. If the right person recommends a yoga mat, their fans buy the yoga mat. Their online presence doesn’t just drive follower numbers — it drives dollars.

There’s two points to influencer-based businesses worth considering:

  • They are critically dependent on actually being able to reach the masses. If the influencer no longer resonates, loses their cool factor, or gets cancelled, there is no more business.
  • They’re very difficult to sell and acquire. Would you buy a business from a Kardashian who after the transaction no longer has an interest in promoting it on their Instagram — when their posts have been the main driving the business?

Captive Franchise Suppliers

I remember seeing this business for sale that had a big contract with McDonald’s. They sold everything but the food to franchisees — uniforms, training manuals, sauce, you name it.

The best part? If you were a McDonald’s franchisee, you were told to order from this company. Go on their website, entire your franchisee number, and order.

This is a “state-granted monopoly” and a very interesting distribution model. I’m unsure on margins, but being the only option for 14,000 locations in the United States alone is a license to print money. Plus, no Amazon standing between you and your customers, and no new competitors popping up every week.

There’s a different company called OOBE that does this same thing for Chick-Fil-A uniforms. The uniform contract and built-in distribution is so valuable for OOBE that they do all kinds of things that aren’t uniforms, just to keep the contract. Whatever Chick-Fil-A asks, they do.

I’ll leave you with two questions to think about:

☝️ Which platforms will let you reach customers inexpensively? Where else do customers live besides Facebook and Amazon?

✌️ Which non-traditional distribution channels could you access, instead of just Shopify and Amazon? Could you sell through retail, distribution, or partnerships?

If you liked this newsletter, I have 4 places where I share more like it:

  1. 👔 The 1-1 coaching that I do with CEOs (I currently have ONE slot open).
  2. 🐦 I tweet (a lot) - follow me @BillDA.
  3. 🎙️ My podcast, Acquisitions Anonymous, where we break down real businesses that are for sale.
  4. 📬 This weekly newsletter! Click here to subscribe and read past issues.

Until next time,
Bill D'Alessandro

Bill D'Alessandro

I've been an entrepreneur my whole life - now I coach others.

Join my newsletter and I'll send you non-public stories, tales from the ecommerce trenches, and even opportunities to invest in private deals with me.

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