Kawasaki Drives Customers, Dealers to Web

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Kawasaki Motor Corp. USA sells motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, utility vehicles, and personal watercraft through more than 1,400 dealers in the United States. But when Kawasaki wanted to increase sales for its aftermarket products, including accessories, clothing, and gear, it turned to the Internet. The company needed to establish an e-commerce solution that would offer customers the convenience of online shopping, yet remain consistent with the company's dealer-based structure. After evaluating solutions from big-name players Kawasaki selected Click Commerce, because it was the only vendor that didn't think Kawasaki's needs were identical to those of the automotive industry, says Roger Peterson, vice president of information systems for Kawasaki. Click Commerce provides a B2C solution that allows Kawasaki to sell its aftermarket goods online, as well as a B2B partner management solution that gives dealers visibility into Kawasaki's ordering system and rewards them when customers select specific dealers. Peterson claims that since the B2B solution was implemented three years ago the company has experienced a 30 percent increase in sales of aftermarket products. Although he's happy with the growth, he admits that he expected the ROI to be more significant. "In a way we had no idea of what to expect," he says. "But there was so much hype about B2C at the time that I thought it might be greater. There has been a steady increase in visitors and purchasers of about 10 percent every year." He says that the Web site has also become a place for Kawasaki to get back to the basic ABCs: advertising, branding, and customers. Kawasaki is more than pleased with its partner solution. It works like this: When customers order something from the Web site they must select a dealer. That dealer gets rewarded for each sale. Those rewards can be tracked online. The company is also adding the ability for dealers to perform more transactions online and to take training tests via the partner portal. According to Peterson, some of the initial dealer resistance is fading; there are still some dealers who want hard-copy materials. Kawasaki is starting to reduce the cost of distributing materials by providing dealers with timelier, higher-quality graphical content online.
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