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..

 

           Partnering For The Next Step                

Siemens CanadaWelcome to the Digital Enterprise Virtual Summit brought to you by Siemens

How quickly can you react to changing conditions and demands in your market? How can you ensure your production will run securely at any time in the future?

Industry’s digital and technological transformation is the answer for meeting today’s and tomorrow’s challenges and market needs.

With the right digitalization and automation solutions, expertise won from practical experience, and a partnership approach that benefits all involved parties.

To explore these possibilities, we’re bringing together top-level speakers, specialists and decision-makers from various industries and experts from Siemens

to the Digital Enterprise Virtual Summit under the motto “Partnering for the next step.”   

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“Re-envisioning Electrical Switchboards”: For light commercial applications, the status quo is no longer enough

Eaton 175x125Whether you’re a contractor or consultant, compact footprint and shorter lead times are a priority. At Eaton, we understand these challenges. That’s why we have re-envisioned our traditional electrical switchboard to assess how it could better serve light commercial applications. The result? The Pow-R-Line CS. 

Join Eaton’s webinar on June 30th, 2020 and learn the secret to shorter lead times alongside the additional benefits of:

 -  Versatile Configuration - Cost Effectiveness - Plus a Complimentary 3D Product Demonstration!

Sign up and join our host Annu Yadav - Distributor Programs Manager and our presenter Aditya Ramesh - Product Manger of Panelboards & Switchboards. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Click Here To Register.

 

John JefkinsBy John Jefkins

In 2011, I started working in the electrical arena and quickly noticed that there was a high employee retention rate within the industry. Today, I regularly engage with Electro-Federation Canada members with 20, 30 and even 40 plus year tenures. Other industries I had worked in previously, such as telecommunications, had higher turnover rates.

Our industry faces an increasing need for talent, with new retirements and product/process innovations and modernization driving the need for specialized roles — some not even known yet.

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Digital Twin MarketA recent Markets & Markets report estimates the Digital Twin market will grow from US$3.8 billion in 2019, to US$35.8 billion per year by 2025, at a CAGR of 45.4%. Digital Twin software is already revolutionizing industries such as healthcare, architecture, aerospace, defence, and automotive and transportation.

Furthermore, the global smart infrastructure market, which includes the Digital Twin sector, is expected to thrive at a considerable CAGR between 2020 and 2025 as demand for the smart infrastructure has been a booming year on year, reports Market Research Explore - details. 

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PNNL StudyBy Craig DiLouie

The U.S. Department of Energy has released the results of a study examining authentication vulnerabilities in connected lighting systems (CLS). Particularly as emerging CLS incorporate distributed intelligence, network interfaces and sensors, they can serve as data-collection platforms that enable a wide range of valuable new capabilities as well as greater energy savings in buildings and cities. However, CLS technology is currently at an early stage of development, and its increased connectivity introduces cybersecurity risks that are new to the lighting industry and must be addressed for successful integration with other systems.

Read More

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.

Read More

Changing Scene

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Northern Cables announced via their social media accounts that they have broken ground on the ...
Electro-Federation Canada (EFC) and ETIM North America (NA) have entered into a strategic ...
Southwire announced that Tim King has accepted the role of President of Southwire Canada. ...
Savant Systems has announced it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase GE Lighting, a ...
EFC’s Economic Forecast Series webinar will deliver global, national, and regional economic ...
A new video featuring Sonepar’s Vice President of eCommerce and Digitalization, Gaurav Sharma, ...
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Eletrozad has launched Electrozad Online. The same standard of service you've come to expect from ...
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Bill Stephens, National Sales and Marketing Manager for IDEAL INDUSTRIES CANADA has announced the ...

2020 q2 Pulse of Lighting FindingsChannel Marketing Group’s 2020 Q2 Pulse of Lighting Report projects that the lighting market, through electrical distribution, contracted by 20%.

The survey, conducted the third week in June, received responses from 164 individuals who equally represented industry stakeholders.

Distributor Performance
Very few distributors reported either flat or positive performance with over 30% reporting declines of over 30% for the quarter.

 

 

 

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EikoEIKO has announced the the introdutction of EiKO Marketplace, a digital storefront, located in the EiKO Portal. Developed to market and sell promotional specials and excess inventory including generational, overstock, and niche products; the EiKO Marketplace presents an opportunity to offer high-quality lighting at incredible savings.

Due to the rapid development and generational changes of LED technologies the timing is perfect to launch the EiKO Marketplace as an outlet to sell high quality, value-priced products.

 

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LevitonLeviton Canada is pleased to announce the nomination of Thomas Supinski as Sales Director for Alberta and the Prairies as of June 1st, 2020, as Julie Marineau will be moving to Montreal along with her family. Julie will be promoted to Vice-President, Retail at Leviton Canada’s head office.

Thomas has been residing in Calgary since 2003 and has a deep understanding of the regional market and its specific needs.

 

 

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Peers & Profiles

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  Sonepar is excited to introduce Anju Uddin as the new Marketing Manager for their Ontario ...
Electro-Federation Canada’s Young Professional Network (YPN) is a fantastic tool for industry ...
Sean Bernard is the Intelligent Controls Manager, Canada for Ideal Industries. Sean resides in ...
Christina Huang is a Senior Contracts Manager for Schneider Electric. She has a varied, technical ...
Jenny Ng is a Business Development Manager for the Power Solutions Division of Schneider Electric. ...
With over 60-years of experience in the lighting industry, CBC Lighting has established itself as a ...

 

Anju UddinBy Blake Marchand

Sonepar is excited to introduce Anju Uddin as the new Marketing Manager for their Ontario Region! Anju has more than 15 years of experience as a marketing expert, which includes running an independent agency working with a multitude of businesses in various industries and geographies from around the globe. 

With a passion for reinvention and finding success through a commitment to education and innovation, Anju has utilized her exceptional creativity and business acumen to engineer seamless brand experiences...

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