As tech and appliance retailing grows ever more challenging, the role of the distributor as a warehouse, fulfillment service, educator and business advisor continues to expand. Here are 10 ways the two-step channel is helping its retail customers be more successful by boosting their bottom lines.
1. Offering customers a deep basket of services, including bundling, merchandising, extended assortment, forecasting, supply chain management, concierge services and electronic software downloads. — Fred Towns, president, New Age Electronics
2. Providing a series of multi-market trade events where customers can get hands-on knowledge of the latest innovations from 50 to 100 manufacturers at a time. — Tim Billing, vendor management and purchasing VP, D&H Distributing
3. Taking a consultative approach to working with dealers, i.e., learning the specifics of their business in order to make product recommendations that make sense for their market. — Tate Morgan, president, Petra Industries
4. Support for flooring programs, training and marketing materials to make the launch of new products successful. — Doug Allen, president, Climatic Home Products
5. Working with manufacturers to develop exclusive products that are custom-designed for specific channels and demographics. — Andy Zeinfeld, president, global channel development and sales, Brightstar
6. Alerting customers to new products and categories that can help them maximize sales and attract new consumer segments. — Jack Halperin, senior VP, dealer channel sales, Almo Corp.
7. Catering to customer needs with 24-hour will-call service, same-and next-day delivery, free shipping and just-in-time product availability. — Dennis Holzer, executive director, Power-House Alliance
8. Having technical sales and design specialists on staff who are versed in the most relevant and lucrative products on the market, and are in the best position to help customers create systems and troubleshoot issues before they arise. — Curt Hayes, president/chief financial officer, Capitol
9. Continuously expanding and enhancing the line card with industry-leading brands to present integrators with access to the best solutions — and offering a personalized freight program to assure that those products arrive efficiently to their designated locations. — Seth Evenson, customer experience management director, AVAD
10. Training, training and more training on new products for dealers, and providing entrée to opportunities in new sectors like light commercial. — Helge Fischer, executive director, Catalyst AV