How Does Amazon’s Business Model Affect Ours?
Our evolving industry business model continues to be a hot topic. Recently I started wondering how an online purchasing mentality, I’ll call the Amazon click-to-buy world, affects our industry. It begs the question, are we (aka distributors) really needed? It’s getting easier and easier for end-users to buy online or direct from suppliers.
However our industry evolves, change is happening whether we like it or not. Here is recent, personal “real world” experience:
One of my clients needed nice-quality cinch backpacks. These days, it is pretty common for clients to send me a link to what they find shopping online. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. They know what they want, and in today’s click-to-buy world, they are used to shopping this way. Many enjoy searching on their own. The challenge, of course, is where they find the product they think they want and what the pricing is. Typically, I don’t lose business to online companies.
In this case, the client found a bag they liked from a well-known online printing company that focuses on inexpensive business cards. This company is now in the promotional products business. It has plenty of business customers, so why not sell promo products? Everyone can be a distributor these days. That’s part of our “evolving” business model.
The client sent the link to me and asked if this was something I could get. I had not seen this product, but with the help of my online friends, discovered that the bag they liked came from a well-known supplier we work with. The online price was significantly lower than our company’s EQP pricing. This was a pretty good size order, and I was doing other products for the client as well. I didn’t want to lose this part of the order.