Neil Arculus, national sales manager of funding solution provider Shire Leasing, reveals how traditional distributors can compete with their online counterparts:
Does the rise of internet resellers mean the end for traditional catering equipment dealers?
Well, internet retailers have their uses, as most people these days go online to look for things, because we have instant access. So when an oven or a fridge breaks the first point of call is the internet. Online they can find different equipment possibilities and are offered options such as cash or finance to buy. So it’s over for the local dealer, right?
With this in mind, I shop on the internet but I still like to go around the shops and look at the products and get that feeling that I can ask a question or there is a person involved in a transaction. This will eventually be known as old school!
So as a reseller it’s not over; it’s just time to adapt to stay ahead of the curve.
So why will an operator use a local dealer? Because they have to have somebody to talk with that is knowledgeable and can offer the right advice, and distributors have a service offering and a local engineer that can be on site to offer peace of mind, plus the price of the product is still competitive. End users can also touch and feel the product – it’s a bit more personal.
But is there anything missing that could help with encouraging the customer back to traditional distributors? Firstly you have to ask yourself how good your digital marketing and your website is.
As the age of marketing, social media and all things millennial is upon us, it’s important to move with the times and make sure your website and social media content is at its peak performance. So why not as a reseller engage with your audience through marketing?
Is it because it’s going to be expensive… or you just don’t understand it? It won’t seem that expensive when the tills are ringing and sales are increasing.
There are services such as Catalyst which can grade your existing digital marketing efforts for free and give you an overview of your marketing strategy and a good idea of what to do next.
Furthermore, you have to consider whether you have got a pull into your business. How are you attracting possible buyers? It’s important to stand out from the crowd and it’s about being more consultative when selling and trying to offer solutions that fit with customers’ wants and needs.
Then ask yourself what your business’ 3 year strategy is. This is always a difficult one. I remember my first job interview when I was asked where I wanted to be in 5 years’ time. Or even when your parents were asking you what you wanted to do with your life.
Well, business is no different and if the media suggest that resellers are suffering due to internet sellers, it is maybe time to have a plan. Online selling is prevalent all over the world, and it will grow with cross-continent purchases. The globe isn’t such a big place any more.