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Let your fingers to the shopping. That's the premise Fluid Kayaks is taking as it's rolling out a new direct online sales model, letting consumers purchase their boats direct with the click of a mouse.
"By engaging directly with end users, we're able to get more direct feedback on what they like/don't like and what they want."
"There's something really satisfying about online shopping - especially when it's for a kayak," says owner Celliers Kruger, who says delivery time will only be two weeks. "Plus, it means we can pass on up to 20-30 percent savings onto consumers, making our kayaks now more affordable than those of any of our competitors. It's better value, offers consumers more to choose from and direct contact with our sales team."
Kruger adds that its already strong dealer program is still in place, and that the new model has already led to increased sales. "Some dealers see our direct selling as a threat, which is natural, I guess, so right now we have fewer dealers than in the past," he says. "But as soon as we started selling direct, sales of all our models increased, with the exception of playboats and creekboats. Dealers were pretty stuck on just ordering our playboats and creekers in the past, and didn't give the rest of our line-up any chance in their shops. Now that we engage directly with end users, it's clear what the market actually want from us. Which is quite different from what dealers believed - or what they wanted to make us believe - the market wants."
Kruger believes the move will help dealers realize that there is a real demand for all of Fluid's boats, and that they'll see the number of dealers ordering its boats increase as a result. "We are not undercutting dealers," he says. "A good dealer can certainly provide more hands-on customer support and advice to clients. So there is no reason for a dealer to feel threatened by our direct selling model.
Direct selling also enables Fluid to reach potential customers where they never had dealers before, he adds. It also leads to savings for the end consumer. "By cutting out the middle man, we also save some money which we pass on to the customer, enabling us to offer better prices on our kayaks," he says. "And by engaging directly with end users, we are also able to get more direct feedback on what they like/don't like and what they want."
"Customers get a premium kayak at below-premium prices, delivered to their door. So it's simple economics - good value for money."
In the longer term, he adds, the new business model will enable Fluid to release more new models more often, which he says also benefit the customer.
For more information, click here to visit the Fluid website.