The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Tip: Know What Your Customers are Actually Buying

What customers are buying is in many cases not what distributors think they are selling.

Big-box retailers such as Lowe’s and The Home Depot have found their niche in the B-to-B world. But, a different view of customer demand can give distributors a valuable perspective on what and how to sell, according to Affiliated Distributors’ Tom Blue in Distributors Respond to the Big-Box Challenge.

“So much of the manufacturing world today is about documented cost savings and productivity improvements. That’s where the independent distributor is able to win out, because they understand that and have the expertise to address it,” Blue says.

To compete, distributors have to realize that what customers are buying is in many cases not what distributors think they are selling. Some customers are buying a reliable source of supply. Some are buying the ability to bundle. Others are buying convenience, capital services, pre-sale advice or post-sale support.

As markets fragment, distributors need to start segmenting customers not by how much they buy, but by which services they’re buying.

About the Author
Leave a Reply

Leave a Comment

Sign Up for the MDM Update Newsletter

The MDM update newsletter is your best source for news and trends in the wholesale distribution industry.

By subscribing, you are agreeing to MDM’s Privacy Policy.


articles left

This is your last free article

Subscribe to MDM Premium today and get:

  • Unlimited access to
  • 1 year digital subscription, with new issues twice a month
  • Trends analysis, market data and quarterly economic updates
  • Deals on select store products and events


articles left

Want more Premium content from MDM?

Subscribe today and get:

  • New issues twice each month
  • Unlimited access to, including 10+ years of archived data
  • Current trends analysis, market data and economic updates
  • Discounts on select store products and events



You have one free article remaining

Subscribe to MDM Premium to get unlimited access. Your subscription includes:

  • Two new issues a month
  • Access to 10+ years of archived data on
  • Quarterly economic updates, trends analysis and market data
  • Store and event discounts

To continue reading, you must be an MDM Premium subscriber.