Jan 2, 2007

Direct Distribution Drives Out Dealers at Handi-Ramp

The Internet proved a home run for sales of commercial ramp products by manufacturer Handi-Ramp.

For most of the company’s history, over 75% of sales went through traditional commercial product Dealers to truck fleet owners, ambulance companies, and a few disabled consumers searching for improved transportation solutions. But brick-and-mortar wholesale Dealer outlets were hardly ideal for consumers struggling with mobility, access, and transportation.

Luckily, in 1995 Handi-Ramp began investing in a new online channel to reach these highly-motivated early adoptors of new ramp solutions. The company invested heavily in a new website presence and backed it up with innovative search engine optimization solutions (“pay per click”), found online through services such as Google placement. Key in ramp, ambulance ramp, or truck ramps, and Handi-Ramp will be one of the top-listed companies. Not surprisingly, sales have grown over 30% per year for the last ten years.

Today, 75% of the company’s revenue is Direct to commercial and individual end-users; indeed, half of them are consumers today.

But some aspects of distribution never change. While the Direct business model typically starts on the Internet, it finishes at the company’s real person call center. Says CEO Thom Disch: “Talking to a live person eliminates 98% of misorders.”



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