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Current Channels and the Channel Mix
Fitbit Flex is currently using a mix of channels in selling its electronic products. The snapshot shows that this firm is selling its products directly to its consumers through its own website. Its clients can easily go to the site and make an order for a given product. After making online payment, the firm will make an arrangement for the delivery of the product. This firm is also using other online vendors such as the Amazon.com.
Customers can purchase any of its products through this online retailer. Retail stores such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy also stock products of this firm. Some of these large retail stores such as Wal-Mart also act as wholesalers for small distribution agents across the country. Using this channel mix offers Fitbit Flex a variety of options in reaching out to the customers. It ensures that the firm is able to reach both online and brick-and-moter customers.
Impact of the Changes on the Channels
The market environment is experiencing changes brought about by technology and other environmental factors. These changes have direct impact on the channels that Fitbit Flex is using to reach out to its customers in the market. Advanced technology is making online retailing a very important distribution channel that a firm may not ignore. This firm will need to improve its online stores to ensure that clients can easily purchase its products through their website in any part of the country.
However, this comes with a number of challenges. Cybercrime has become so advanced that many online stores usually fear a possible attack on their own bank accounts or accounts of their clients when conducting online financial transactions. This means that the management of this firm will need to find a way of installing advanced security software in order to protect such transactions.
The changes will also force this firm to get into partnership with some of the leading online retail stores not only in this country, but also in the global market. The Chinese Alibaba.com may be a good start for this firm. Collaborating with these online retailers will help it reach out to a large market that may be beyond its reach if it were to rely on its own facilities.
Finally, this firm will need to establish a few specialty shops in some of the largest urban centers to sell some of its expensive products. In such shops, customers can ask all the relevant questions about their products and register their opinions about what the firm is offering. This may guide the firm in designing its future products.
Strengths and Weaknesses of the Current Channel Situation
The current distribution mix used by Fitbit Flex has a number of benefits. The main strength of this mix is that it offers the firm a wide range of options to reach out to its clients. Online customers who cannot access the firm’s website can get the products through the more popular website of Amazon.com. Customers who prefer visiting brick-and-moter stores can easily get the products at Wal-Mart or Best Buy stores. The strategy tries to ensure that both online and brick-and-moter customers can have access to the products of this firm.
This strategy has a number of weaknesses despite its strengths discussed above. The main weakness of the current channel situation is the possible conflict of interest. Fitbit Flex is selling its products directly to the customers through its website. This means that it is a direct market rival to online stores such as Amazon.com, which stocks its products.
It may bring tension within these two firms, which needs to coordinate closely. This strategy is also prone to confusion, unless the firm employs specific people to manage its stall at retail outlets such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy. The manner in which employees at Wal-Mart will explain the features and benefits of some of the firm’s products may be different from what the employees of Best Buy will do. This may lead to confusion when a customer visits the two stores.
How to Change the Channel Strategy for Fitbit Flex
The current strategy is effective in capturing customers who shop through online shops and those who prefer brick-and-moter stores. However, some changes may be necessary. Fitbit Flex should eliminate its own online stores and instead focus on using online retailers to reach out to the targeted customers.
The marketing management unit should also coordinate with the management of the major retail stores where its products are sold so that relevant employees responsible for these products can be taken through short trainings about the product. It should consider establishing specialty shops in major urban centers.
Reason for Recommend the Strategy
The decision to reduce concentration of the firm from reaching out to the customers directly will help reduce conflict of interest that was discussed above. The specialty shops and the need to train employees at major retailers will help in ensuring that customers can make inquiry about the products and get right responses from these employees.