The changing competitive landscape in distribution means customers have more options than ever on how and where they shop. Customers will tend to give you the benefit of the doubt as a matter of choice, says Lee Schwartz of Schwartz Profitability Group in Amazon & Google's B-to-B Play, but distributors need to be conscious about not giving customers a reason to look elsewhere.
Distributors need to make sure they are maintaining their service levels even though they may be working with fewer resources than they were a few years ago.
And as the industry embraces vending and vendor managed inventory, more visibility exists on stock-outs and overstocks at customer sites – and it's all on the distributor. “You have to do it perfectly,” says Scott Nadler of the University of Central Arkansas’ College of Business in Industrial Vending's Growing Pains. “… If you do a good job, the customers know it. If you’re doing a bad job, they’re going to know it. There’s no hiding these errors.”
If you give your customers a reason to leave, it’s easier than ever today to do so.