June 4, 2018
Spicers has published a new blog asking the question of “what sets a dealer apart?” and offering suggestions as to the answer.
According to the company, “the digital age has transformed the way businesses interact with their customers forever.” The blog particularly cites the online boom, and how it has left flailing retailers behind if they cannot offer an e-commerce presence. Yet it states that this is not exclusive to conventional retailers, and says that “buyers now expect similar e-commerce experiences when ordering business supplies as when making consumer purchases.”
To illustrate this point, it quotes a recent survey of 1,500 b2b buyers that showed 67 percent place their orders online, compared to just 11 percent from a traditional catalogue. In a different form of pressure, “competition in the industry is also hotting up, with well-established international brands entering the office supplies market place, hungry to gain market share, and posing a real threat to the independent dealer.”
Therefore, it recommends that dealers “think creatively” and “play to their strengths” to ensure survival in an increasingly turbulent marketplace.
The first suggestion Spicers offers is centred around service, which has the potential to become a company’s “unique selling point”, and offer “huge added-value to the end user.” The blog argues that the larger, more profit-driven companies are ignoring customer relationships in a drive to reduce costs wherever possible, leaving a niche for independent dealers to move into, by offering “face to face account management, telephone customer services, and specialists with industry product knowledge.”
Secondly, flexible delivery options are a unique advantage available to independent dealers, utilising “next day delivery, and employed, reliable, uniformed drivers who can deliver direct to the end user’s specific requests.” Spicers recommends a “flexible, bespoke approach”, which will contrast positively with the big companies’ “fixed delivery methods” which “simply cannot offer the same level of service.”
Further suggestions from the company include “true consolidation”, broadening a dealer’s offering to expand into a larger marketplace, and increasing business opportunities. It adds that “provision of additional services such as bespoke workwear, bespoke marketing and print, secure document destructions services, and MPS options” will set a dealer apart from its competition.
All of these tips will help “foster loyalty” with a customer base, according to Spicers, which quotes an Essendant surveying suggesting that 54 percent of respondents working with independent dealers “would stay loyal to their dealer even if better pricing was found elsewhere.” Although competition can challenge on price, Spicers asserts, “the value add is where our USP lies.” To read the blog in full, click here.
Categories : Around the Industry