Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

 internetBy David Gordon

With so many people growing up with astounding computer skills, a number of distributors are wondering how to utilize these skills in future business plans.

Most distributors got “pushed” into an ERP (enterprise resource planning) computer system because they thought it was a good way to print invoices. Some loaded their product data from people who aggregate product such as Trade Service, and some hand-typed the product descriptions, prices and unit of measures. Eventually, some moved to IDEA in hopes of matching data with their manufacturers so they could order, receive advance shipping notices, invoices and eventually sought to reach for the brass ring of three way matching thus gaining productivity.

Many distributors built, or had built, a web storefront where they learned, to their horror, that all that gibberish product data they had in their ERPs was not readable by customers seeking to buy product through their storefront. 

So, many have worked like beavers to clean up their product data and add pictures and better descriptions so that someone coming to their web storefront could actually order product without talking to anyone in that distributor's firm (or they’re subscribing to get attributed/catalogue data from IDEA or Trade Service). The reward, for some, was that customers still price shopped the distributor.

Third parties sell electrical products

 

Amazon (along with others) spent a boatload of money making it really easy for people to buy products and they did something else ... sell add on products through suggestions to the buyer. So Amazon made room for some of the larger electrical distributors to sell product, and the vast majority of distributors thought they would see poaching across defined territories. That meant to some that distributors that they no longer had protected territories. And this is becoming more of an issue with the launch of Amazon Supply.

Orders float in. Quotes quadruple and more 

Much to the surprise of some, internet sales grew slowly and then began to pick up. Some orders were redirected from Amazon and the distributor took on another partner, shrinking their margins. Quotes abounded, quadrupling or more in comparison to orders. But if the customer came through Amazon, many distributors were stuck with fees. Margins take another hit.

The question for many distributors was how to get rid of those fees.

The courtesy quote

A couple of electrical distributors I know have started offering a time-limited “courtesy quote” on their websites. The time limit is usually several hours. The potential customer is allowed to click on a button that makes them think that their order has been saved and is in a file to be regenerated, added to or for an order to be placed.

When the potential customer is unable to find the quote and only the header, they are directed to call the distributor's Web department. 

The customer is told that their quote was a “virtual quote” and that they are sorry for any inconvenience this has caused the customer. They direct the customer to go back to the distributor's site and give log-in instructions. 

Human connection is established. And by the way, a chance to upsell.

The distributor's web department brings up the quote and in the background on the customer’s screen suggested items appear that other people have purchased with their order. Obviously the web department's job is to add two or more highly priced items to the order, thus increasing the total profit on the order.

Does this work for you and your company?

David Gordon is President of Channel Marketing Group. Channel Marketing Group helps manufacturers and distributors in the construction and industrial trades generate ideas to accelerate revenue through strategic planning, marketing planning and coaching and market research initiatives. He can be reached at 919.488.8635.

 

David Gordon

Over the past few months as we’ve sat in strategy development meetings with distributors, reviewed distributor purchasing information, and talked to manufacturers’ reps and contractors, we’ve seen a purchasing trend that is roiling the industry. The trend, which mirrors what is happening in lighting with “unfamiliar brands,” is accelerated growth and acceptance of less familiar brands for infrastructure type products (electrician supplies, boxes, fittings, etc … consumables and products that go within the wall). This then begs the questions, “What is the value of a manufacturer’s brand,” and “What are the implications for manufacturers and distributors?”

Many have seen this as driven by...

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Study


A confirmation: the winds of change are now howling.

Several years ago, in a workshop at Electro-Federation Canada’s annual conference, a roundtable session described and debated the numerous disruptive technologies that are forcing us to think differently.

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As part a family company, I have heard my father talking about business ever since I was a little boy. Although it had always interested me, I had never thought I would end up working alongside my father and my uncle in the company my grandfather started a long time ago.

I had been working in sales ever since I was 16 years old in many different markets than the one I was about to enter, but I thought it would be relatively easy to handle. Very quickly I started noticing the challenges of being a 22-year-old sales rep for electrical products entering a world where most of the manufacturers’ agents had been in the business for a long time.

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Changing Scene

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Flextherm Celebrates 25 Years With a Big Bang PHOTO: EIN-37/CEW-18-CS-Flextherm-400.jpg The floor ...
Electro-Federation Canada’s 6th Annual Future Forum, Thinking Smarter — Channel Products, Energy, ...
In partnership with Habitat for Humanity Québec, Convectair is donating two heating units ...
Do you know an industry member who has greatly contributed to the Canadian electrical industry and ...
Kendra Smith will be joining the company’s Nationals Accounts team as the Key Accounts ...
Blueway has been added as a division within Sonepar Ontario, reporting directly to Sonepar Ontario ...
Pilz Canada has added Marcus Graham to its family. Marcus is now serving a wide base of customers ...
Christopher Balleine has been appointed Stelpro’s Sales Representative, Maritimes, ...
Based in Ottawa, Lafontaine will be responsible for building on Schneider Electric’s ...
Bill Smith from Electrozad Supply Company Limited has been selected as this year’s recipient ...

Peers & Profiles

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Sales of electrical supplies from full-line electrical distributors capture the geographic ...
I've known John Sencich since CEW began publishing. He agreed from the outset to be part of the ...
  Laura Dempsey has been working as an outside sales representative for E.B. Horsman & ...
Michael Gentile, President and CEO of Philips Lighting Canada, has had a long and distinguished ...
Gordon MacDonald is a cheerful, driven individual who loves to be challenged, a trait that suits ...
  Jordan Prins is an account manager at Wesco Distribution in Abbotsford, British Columbia. ...
Mike Marsh, President and CEO of SaskPower, has been a leading figure in Saskatchewan’s electricity ...
I didn’t wake up one day and go, “I want to work for my dad!” Actually, it was ...
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  On February 27th Lumen opened their 36th branch in Ottawa, Ontario. ...

Laura Dempsey

Owen Hurst

Laura Dempsey has been working as an outside sales representative for E.B. Horsman & Son for over 15 years, and is a member of the BCEA U40 network of young professionals. She lives in Langley, BC and is proud of her position and work with E.B. Horsman, particularly as she is the second Dempsey generation to work for the company.

Laura’s mother Shelly has worked at E.B. Horsman for over 25 years, and instilled in Laura a determination to succeed. Laura followed in her mother’s footsteps after witnessing how much her mother enjoyed her work and the people she works with at E.B. Horsman.

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Laura Dempsey

Line Goyette

I've known John Sencich since CEW began publishing. He agreed from the outset to be part of the newsletter’s Editorial Board. His contribution was regular and sustained. Always present to answer my technical questions, and refer me to the right person for additional information as needed. Always available despite his role as senior leader of an influential company.

Over the past five years, many industry insiders have cited John Sencich when I asked them to name someone who had made a difference in their lives or had inspired them as a leader.

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Looking Back

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Electrical distribution companies operating in British Columbia will continue to get larger while ...
Golden anniversaries are celebrated by the mature, and our industry is allowed to celebrate ...
The last 50 years have been exciting ones for the electrical industry but they won’t compare to ...
The ceiling that had been placed on membership fees remained a point of contention among ...
The year 1982 started on a relatively good note for electrical distributors. Sales in the first ...

 

Online

Building a simple customer experience that satisfies your customers’ expectations is a starting point (or evolution) in your digital journey. You might be asking yourself, “How do I know what my customer wants?” The data are available from their behaviour online, and many of your customers will tell you what they want. Putting the pieces together can appear complex, but it can be simplified if you segment the optimization of your customers’ experience into three buckets: design, usability and search.

Design, usability, and search pertain to how you can serve your customer. In order for your website to create value in the eyes of the customers, you have to optimize your website so that it is accessible to the greatest number of your ideal customers. Value increases with the number of customer touchpoints that the customers use.

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EFC 2018 Scholarship Program

This year Electro-Federation Canada (EFC) will award $156,250 across 62 scholarships supported by manufacturers, distributors and associations.

The annual EFC Scholarship Program reflects an industry that understands its responsibility to attract future talent. In the face of technological, demographic, and socio-economic evolution, the employment landscape is in constant transformation resulting in substantial challenges for companies as they work to define and redefine their recruitment practices. Furthermore, as competition for the brightest and the best of the next generation of business leaders intensifies, it’s more important than ever to engage young people. 

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Free Trade Agreements and the Evolution of Wholesale Sales in Canada

As 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Confederation, we take a look back at an aspect of the history of wholesale sales in Canada.

Canada has a long trading history, which started before Confederation. Because wholesalers play an important role in the import and export of goods, free trade agreements have had a notable influence on the evolution of the wholesale sector.

 

Read more: Free Trade Agreements and the Evolution of Wholesale Sales in Canada...

Free Trade Agreements and the Evolution of Wholesale Sales in Canada

The BCIT Student Innovation Challenge is an annual competition allowing British Columbia Institute of Technology students to launch entrepreneurial ideas, inventions, or applied research projects. E.B. Horsman and Son is “Visionary” sponsor of the challenge.

The goal is to create an inclusive space for innovation, encouraging students to turn their bright ideas into business plans and prototypes of commercial products. The BCIT Student Innovation Challenge is an annual competition allowing British Columbia Institute of Technology students to launch entrepreneurial ideas, inventions, or applied research projects. E.B. Horsman and Son is “Visionary” sponsor of the challenge.

 

Read more: E.B. Horsman & Son Sponsors BCIT Student Innovation Challenge and Students ...

Copper $US Dollar price per pound

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