Just as not all hockey coaches need advanced statistics to identify the next Wayne Gretzky, not all distributors need analytics to run a successful business, says Scott Bebenek, president, IDI Independent Distributors Inc., Mississauga, ON. Instead, they should focus on their core strengths, which he explains in Distributors Getting Back to the Basics.
"I don't think we talk about the basics for the independent distributor enough," Bebenek says. "We talk about stretching yourself a lot – 'Oh, you've got to get into analytics, you've got to have a catalog on your website, you've gotta, gotta, gotta.' In the meantime, I'm wondering if the independent distributor really knows how to determine what their true value proposition is."
Distributors we spoke with for the 2015 Distribution Trends Special Issue, which came out last week, agreed that getting back to the basics is critical in today's landscape. Before they develop a mobile app or adopt cloud technology, they should refocus their efforts on establishing a sound business model built of well-trained personnel who know how to sell products, market the company's strengths, demonstrate financial savvy and deliver excellent customer service.
Even so, growth in technology adoption hasn't really slowed. Many distributors are surprised by the large number of customers that are quickly adapting to new technologies – and it’s not just the young ones, says Guy Blissett, wholesale distribution specialist leader for Deloitte Consulting LLP, in Distributors Embrace, Expand Online Customer Base. “Everyone’s more comfortable with tablets and smartphones now, and they’re using them everywhere,” he says.
Read more about these trends in the 2015 Distribution Trends Special Issue.