Sales Channel Conflict: How a Furniture Wholesaler Resolved the Issue of Selling Direct
Selling direct. The most controversial, polarizing, superheated-to-the-point-of-sun-hot-plasma issue in the promotional industry. To argue for or against it is to know incineration-via-sunfire from opponents on the other side, mostly in the form of angry, 9,000-word internet screeds posted to LinkedIn, Facebook and our very own PromoMarketing.com.
I hate arguing. I'm also not a big fan of being incinerated. That said though, I found a great article about a wholesaler grappling with the issue of whether to sell direct or not, and at the risk of my precious "not beset by a crowd armed with pitchforks and flamethrowers" status, I wanted to share it.
The furniture wholesaler's issue is this: After building a decent sized business as an importer selling to retail stores, the owner realized there is substantial profit in selling direct to consumers at furniture shows. But, after a handful of successful shows, one of his retail customers found out, and complained that he was cutting into their sales. So, though it's more complicated than what I'm explaining here, the core decision the importer had to make was whether there was some way he could pursue direct sales without exploding his relationship with his wholesale customers. It's loosely analogous to the decisions I think a lot of suppliers and distributors face in our industry every day, and because the article follows his decision-making process from start-to-finish, and includes suggestions from business consultants and NYT readers, it's a fascinating read.
What do you think? Did he make the right decision? The wrong one? Let me know in the comments!
Thanks for reading everyone, and see you all next week!