Woodlawn recently examined the go-to-market approaches of industries such as residential load centers (“fuse boxes”), hot water heaters, roofing materials, flooring materials, standby generator sets, windows, and central air conditioning to see what lessons they might teach us about solar distribution as the market grows and distribution matures.
Here are some of our key findings:
- In industries with “complex” sales, such as generators, windows, and air conditioning, dealers are a significant part of the channel
- In these industries, dealers tend to buy directly from manufacturers or from exclusive distributors
- Industries with more commoditized products, such as roofing, load centers, and hot water heaters, tend to rely more on wholesalers
- Wholesalers are rarely good at market development. Their value is in inventory, terms, and bundling of related products from different manufacturers
- Where sales are made indirectly, producers often have sales and marketing teams that “skip” levels of the distribution chain to generate goodwill, familiarity, and assist downstream partners with marketing and unusually large contracts.
Download a detailed summary of our findings here. Also, see a slightly updated version that appeared in Solar Industry.