Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

June 24, 2020

David GordonBy David Gordon


COVID-19 has heightened the benefit of, and interest in, eCommerce for electrical distributors. Our second and third COVID-19 Electrical Market Sentiment Reports have shown that those with an eCommerce offering have seen online sales increases. Further, from conversations with distributors, their site activity increased. The benefit is that these companies had lower sales declines (and some increases), and were able to better serve their customers.

A further benefit is that their remote workforce had access to an online resource, other than manufacturers, for quick, easy, product research.

With increased awareness and interest, we’ve heard of increased interest from “non-users.” While most US$100M+ distributors have already made the investment, those below express frustration at the investment level when they hear mid six-figure investment levels and 12+ month deployments for an “industry-recognized” software brand.
And most of these companies are not overly familiar with conducting a software package evaluation, other than for an ERP system or add-on module.

The functionality of these systems has become standardized, so finding first sufficiency versus your competitors is step one. 

Last month Forrester released The Forrester Wave: B2B Commerce Suites, Q2 2020, which provided reviews on 13 eCommerce providers. Two of them, Episerver (whose Insite offering is used by a number of mid-larger distributors) and Unilog, are known in the industry. Many of the others have name recognition but either little traction in the industry or focus on other markets.

While the analysis of these two companies is interesting, and both are in the “Challenger” category with Episerver rated as a slightly stronger current offering, they are not viewed as Contenders, Strong Performers or Leaders. Remember, focus on “sufficiency”, but if “challengers”, perhaps other criteria (i.e. affordability) should be considered.

Forrester criteria

Forrester ranked the companies in three areas with multiple criteria. They are:

1. Current offering
• Sales channel support
• Personalization
• Business intelligence and analytics
• AI and machine learning
• Commerce suite
• Commerce management
• Platform

2. Strategy
• Product vision and roadmap
• Delivery model
• Supporting services
• Delivery and extensibility ecosystem

3. Market presence
• Customers and customer acquisition
• Total gross merchandise value (GMV)
• Product revenue

Forrester is, for the most part, evaluating the company, not specific functionality in the offering.

Some key points from the report that could be of value as distributors conduct their own evaluation:
• “Providers that lead the pack demonstrate deep, prebuilt integrations and strong user tooling.”
• “More of the leading platforms are opting to assemble a suite of best-fit solutions.”
• “B2B businesses expect to choose the best-fit solution for their vertical industry-specific needs.”
• Look for app stores for add-ons.
• Prioritize the business user experience.
• Personalized catalogues have become a commodity (expected feature).

Since the report covered only two systems that are used in the electrical industry, and there are a number of others, we’ll leave it to you to obtain the report (you can get a free copy from Adobe’s site by registering, from CommerceTools, or reach out to us for input), so we can remain neutral.

Determining a platform is only a piece of the decision. Travelling the eCommerce is not “buying an eCommerce system.” It’s a long investment. It is similar to what many hear regarding boats… you are always investing in it because there are new, desirable, features; new tools to help drive utilization or mine data; new ways to serve customer needs, and the software obsoletes itself. Further, the pricing models are essentially set-up plus monthly fees. The trend is to SaaS models, where upgrades and new functionality are included. Some still nickel and dime. Some require an integrator (a third party to handle the implementation), which adds costs.

When making a decision, consider product content early in the decision-making process. Will you need to build it, pay per SKU, source from manufacturers, or…??? Make sure it can be easily integrated into the system. And depending upon your planned usage, a PIM is not needed.

Forrester’s insights outline a supplier decision roadmap. Understanding your competitive environment, your customer needs, how you will use the system, and our expected benefits based on your business plan are keys to setting your budget and developing something that works for you. It’s not like building a branch (literally), where you own the land and moving can be cost-prohibitive. It’s software and you can change if you outgrow it. Speed to market and iterative development (innovation) are key to supporting your customers.

What eCommerce platform are you using? If your company offers eCommerce, has it benefitted your customers throughout COVID-19?

David Gordon is President of Channel Marketing Group. Channel Marketing Group develops market share and growth strategies for manufacturers and distributors and develops market research. CMG’s specialty is the electrical industry. He also authors an electrical industry blog, www.electricaltrends.com. He can be reached at 919-488-8635 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Swati Vora-PatelBy Swati Vora-Patel

The electrical market is at the helm of innovation — from robotics and automation products that support advanced manufacturing to smart technology in homes and businesses, our industry leads innovation and competitiveness in Canada.

With advanced electrical and automation products shaping how we work, live and play, our industry is continually at the forefront of designing technologies that meet the needs of Canadians today.

 

 

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David GordonBy David Gordon

Many talk about digitizing the channel and the emerging / present digitalization of the industry and then wonder why eCommerce as a percentage of distributor sales is not higher. One major reason is for many distributors their key customer is a contractor.

Much is being invested into the space. Everything from product content to website development / eCommerce platforms (and CMG is involved in some of this in supporting clients as well as involved with ETIM North America).

 

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Investment in Building Construction - March 2021Total investment in building construction increased 5.9% to $18.6 billion in March, led by the residential sector. On a constant dollar basis (2012=100), investment in building construction was up 5.2% to $14.3 billion in March.


Residential investment continues to set records


Residential construction investment increased for the eleventh consecutive month, up 7.6% to $14.0 billion in March.

 

 

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Michelle BraniganBy Michelle Branigan

A career seeker looking for a job. An HR manager looking to hire. Both are looking to fill a need quickly, effectively and as cost efficiently as possible. The career seeker needs to pay their rent or mortgage, and the HR manager knows the cost to the business of the wrong hire.

This is where the need for a well-written job description comes in. All too often job descriptions are outdated, listing requirements that are no longer valid, or failing to accurately portray a clear description of the role and employer expectations.

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Carolina GalloBy Line Goyette

Among the recipients of the 2021 Clean50 Awards announced last month is Carolina Gallo, Vice President Government and Institutional Relations Canada, for Hitachi ABB Power Grids Canada. CEW reached out to Gallo, about the experience. But first, a little about the Clean50 Awards.

These annual awards recognize Canadian leaders in sustainability for their contributions over the prior two years. 

 

 

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Changing Scene

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Liteline has announced the promotion of Evan Sadofsky to Regional Sales Manager for Eastern Canada, ...
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Frank Dunnigan, CEO of Techspan Industries Inc., is pleased to announce the appointment of Sean ...
Deschenes Group Inc. (DGI) proudly announces the acquisition of Marcel Baril Ltée (Marcel Baril) ...
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LEDVANCE LLC, the maker of SYLVANIA general lighting in the US and Canada, announced Charlie Harte ...
Electro-Federation Canada (EFC) once again held its Annual General Meeting virtually this year on ...
It is with great emotion that after 40 years of combined service and leadership of Ideal Supply, ...
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Wayne Long and Jim BenderIdeal Supply is proud to announce that as of January 1, 2021 they have appointed a new Sales Manager for both the Electrical and Industrial divisions.

Wayne Long (left) will serve as thier Electrical Division Sales Manager. Wayne spent 11 years with Ideal Supply in the early years of his career, and was with Benshaw Canada for 20 years in senior sales management roles in Canada and the USA before re-joining Ideal in 2017, as thier Industrial Division Sales Manager. Long is a seasoned executive and has a proven track record of building strong relationships with customers and suppliers, and as a coach to sales teams to grow businesses.

 

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OmnicableOmni Cable located in Brampton, ON, is proud to announce it received IMARK’s 2020 Order of the Golden Maple Leaf Award in its first year eligible for the award.

The Order of the Golden Maple Leaf Award is an annual award that is presented to all IMARK suppliers who meet the set requirements, including supporting members and participating in IMARK Canada’s marketing programs.

 

 

 

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POW-R-Line CS Switchboards by EatonThe Solution to Your Switchboard Needs Now and for the Future.

Introducing Eaton’s Pow-R-Line CS switchboard, the most compact, expandable, service entrance and distribution solution in Canada. This versatile design allows for top or bottom service entrance cables, and expansion sections to the main structure to suit any design requirement.

Eaton’s Pow-R-Line CS switchboard provides a space-saving design advantage with a smaller footprint than any comparable switchboard in the market.

 

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LitelineLiteline has announced they will be establishing a Western Canada Regional Office and Distribution Center. Currently under construction in Langley, British Columbia, the new facility will service British Columbia to Saskatchewan in Canada, as well as the Pacific Northwest and California in the United States.

"As we lightly refer to the facility as “BC/DC”, the new operation will relieve some load for our 160,000 sq ft HQ in Richmond Hill, Ontario, and our other distribution points in Montreal, QC, and Dallas, TX," said the company via press release. 

 

 

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Eaton AR AppAdd or remove switchboard structures according to your construction needs, such as the main incoming with or without Canadian metering requirements, distribution loads, and submain sections. Verify your assembly footprint with thermal magnetic devices such as breakers and fusible switches (with or without meter sockets). Check for clearances and cable landing locations.

No need to guess what configuration will best suit your needs or wonder how the Pow-R-Line CS switchboard will fit in your location.

 

 

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Peers & Profiles

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Mission Technical Solutions is a recently established sales agency founded by industry veteran ...
Omid Nadi, Trade Marketing Manager with Ledvance, is a Ryerson University grad coming out of their ...

 

Marcos SimardBy Line Goyette

Marcos Simard was recently appointed Managing Director of WESCO and Anixter EES Montréal (Electrical & Electronic Solutions). This young manager, a graduate of the University of Quebec in Trois-Rivières with a degree in business administration and holder of a post-graduate degree from Laval University in Information Technology Management, does not seem destined for a career without unexpected shifts.

Marcos has been with WESCO since 2015. We remember that in 2020, WESCO proposed a merger with Anixter...

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Jeffrey MoyleBy Line Goyette

“The ongoing integration of Rexel Utility into our Canadian business platforms has underscored our responsibility as an organization to find creative solutions for today’s challenges, as well as to prepare for tomorrow’s opportunities.”

This quote from Jeffrey caught my attention. Vice President, Supplier & Digital Strategy at Rexel Canada Electrical Inc., Jeffrey has extensive experience in the industry and is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario with a Master’s in Business Administration, focusing on internarial leadership.

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