The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Tip: To Keep Customers, Think Like Customers

Distributors need to do more than just provide product to succeed in today's market.

In today's market, distributors have to be able to provide more than product to stay competitive. "The key to customer retention and reacquisition is to understand consumer demand and contractor behavior," said Ken Jacobson, a partner at Principia, in Disintermediation & Channel Conflict. To succeed, according to Jacobson, distributors have to think like their customers.

For example, in construction markets, distributors have to reach "one step beyond" their customers to the customer's customers to understand the trends for particular product categories as far as styles, colors, textures and performance, and stock the right products at the right time in the right place.

To keep contractor customers, distributors have to think like a contractor. That means having products with strong warranties and a track record of minimal product failure to prevent returns and callbacks.

It also means having the right promotional materials to help contractors win projects, such as product brochures, sample boards and the proper training. "We’ve seen in many product categories that contractors are more loyal to the distributor or dealer than they are to the brand," Jacobson said, because they see that the distributor understands their needs.

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.