Article originally published: https://www.b2becommerceworld.com/2016/02/17/why-b2b-company-focusing-its-growth-b2c-websites
Article written by Nona Tepper | Associate Editor, B2B E-Commerce
Businesses in international markets find Orbital Tracking’s products through Amazon’s consumer marketplaces. Orbital executives are betting that Japanese businesses will be no different.
Orbital Tracking Corp., an online provider of satellite-tracking devices, is using consumer sites to attract business customers.
The manufacturer and distributor of satellite phones, GPS products, Wi-Fi Hotspots and other items recently launched an online store on the Japanese business-to-consumer marketplace Amazon.co.jp as a way to increase sales to businesses, Orbital Tracking CEO David Phipps says. Businesses often shop Orbital Tracking’s products on Amazon’s consumer sites outside of the United States, so the company decided to target Japanese businesses by selling on Amazon Japan, at Amazon.co.jp.
“Business customers are accepting Amazon more and more as a way to buy goods very quickly and easily,” Phipps says. “We’ve seen a growth in business customers over the year that we’ve been selling on Amazon and I’m sure that will continue. We’re finding big corporate customers and governments more and more shop like regular consumers. We’re picking up those customers on Amazon.”
Orbital Tracking expects a 5% increase in revenue this year over last year from its new online storefront at Amazon.co.jp, which launched earlier this month.
The company is the result of a merger in February 2015, when United Kingdom-based Global Telesat Communications Ltd., also a supplier of satellite communications and tracking devices, acquired Orbital Tracking, based in Aventura, Fla.. The merged company took the Orbital Tracking name and relocated its headquarters to Aventura. Phipps, who was the top executive at Global Telesat prior to the merger, was named CEO and chairman of the combined company.
Following the merger, Phipps says Orbital Tracking’s first priority is growing its global e-commerce footprint on consumer-facing Amazon sites, which now includes the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain and Italy. Orbital Tracking plans to sell online in China, probably through Alibaba.com, this year, Phipps says. Orbital also sells through eBay.com and, in France, atCdiscount.com.
Orbital also operates its own e-commerce sites for the U.S. at OrbitalSatCom.comand for Europe at GlobalTeleSat.uk. The U.S. company will launch its first exclusively online B2B storefront on Amazon Business during the second quarter. But for expanding into new markets, Orbital is going with Amazon.com and other, primarily B2C e-marketplaces, Phipps says.
Orbital Tracking spent about six weeks translating 200 SKUs from English to Japanese for Amazon.co.jp; over the next three months, it plans to add the rest of its product catalog of approximately 500 SKUs.
For the company’s most recently reported financial quarter, the third quarter ended Sept. 30, 2015, Orbital Tracking’s growth in international markets—though still small in sales volume—significantly contributed to the company’s 62% year-over-year increase in total revenue, to $982,775 from $603,551, Phipps says. Sales grew 179% in France; 95% in the United Kingdom; 70% in Italy; 66% in Spain; and 57% in Germany. In North American, sales increased 73%. Orbital doesn’t break out dollar figures for its international markets.
Net loss for the quarter was $300,585. The company said the loss resulted from increased services costs and expenses required to support expansion of the business, including staffing and facilities, in international markets.
For the nine months ended September 2015, Orbital posted net income of $37,271, as revenue grew 56% to $2.96 million from $1.88 million a year earlier.