When I think of disruption in a market, I think of Netflix with its DVD-by-mail innovation, competing directly with Blockbuster and very nearly putting it out of business.
I also think about the impact of the Internet on traditional print publications, such as newspapers. These examples clearly show that when a company discounts the impact of a disruptive technology or service on their business, it can have significant results – usually of the negative variety.
In part because of the rise of the Internet, the wholesale distribution industry is currently seeing a confluence of factors that are changing the competitive landscape. A decade or more ago we heard a lot about how the Internet might disintermediate the role of the independent distributor, and that didn’t happen.
But that doesn’t mean the Internet proved innocuous. An ever-increasing pace of change, thanks in large part to technology, has muddied the competitive waters for distributors, and if they don’t think differently, they may get stuck.
As Mike Marks of Indian River Consulting Group said in the recent MDM Webcast on distributor innovation: “A lot of what we see today is that market share incumbents, the people that enjoyed market share in an existing traditional setting that are hostage to history are losing position to the market share challengers who care more about the customers than market practices.”
We’ve been covering this topic in MDM Premium over the past couple of months in our series on The Shifting Competitive Landscape. If you’ve missed those articles, here’s a selection of what we’ve presented so far:
- The Shifting Competitive Landscape – An introduction to MDM’s series on thinking differently about competition with comments from industry experts.
- New Year, New Approach to Business – An exclusive summary of the MDM Webcast with Mike Marks, What Distributor Innovation Looks Like in 2013: Rethinking Your Business Model.
- Beyond Amazon: E-Commerce’s Impact on Wholesale Distribution Markets – How online platforms have evolved and expanded distributors’ reach and capabilities.
- Distributor Collaborations Build Value, Local Influence – How some distributors are responding to market shifts by working together to strengthen their positions in local markets.
Coming up in this series, we’ll look at the impact of global distributors who have entered the North American market, how to prove value to your customers and how Big Data is affecting the competitive landscape.
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