Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

 Internet SalesBy Rick McCarten, VP, Electrical Council, Electro-Federation Canada

I am really proud of the Electrical Council’s latest research project, “Click and Order.” We took a huge chance by not hiring an expensive consultant; instead, we formed a committee of members to conduct the research and to develop the report. The research committee worked together to develop appropriate survey questions, distributed the survey to Kerrwil’s end-customer list, and closely analyzed the survey responses. 

Interestingly enough, I found the committee to be much more engaged and thoughtful with the process than a consultant would. This might be obvious to some, but the committee knew more about customers’ issues and the kind of questions that needed to be asked. They were closer to the subject-matter and more knowledgeable on the subject than a consultant.

Who’s Buying What and How Much?

So what about the findings from the report? The big news is that, based on the responses and through our estimation, close to 10% of electrical sales in Canada are now done online. Some provinces are higher than others, but everyone is ready to use more of the tool. Also, the responses determined that age was not a deciding factor; all ages of respondents had gone online to make a purchase and had the equipment to do so. 

In our industry, customers are purchasing the following product types online: lighting, test and measurement tools, wire and cable as well as wiring devices, and distribution equipment.  With lighting and wire in the top three, the committee speculate as to why?  Assumptions ranged from a large number of new suppliers that do not have local branch locations, to customers feeling comfortable buying familiar commodity-type products online. 

This activity leads me to ask: if customers are ready to make electrical purchases online, why are only 10% of purchases done online? It seems like the biggest obstacle is “us” — the traditional supplier. Customers indicated that the following barriers prevent them from shopping online: difficult to return items, difficult-to-use websites, privacy concerns, delivery costs, and most astoundingly, their traditional supplier is not ready to offer it. Many also suggested that their own company had not developed the right protocol for online purchases to go into full action. 

The Need to Develop a Seamless System

When asked where customers receive their information, most respondents indicated the manufacturer’s website. Number two was the sales rep. A bit of the old and the new. This was closely followed by the distributor’s branch and the distributor’s website. If companies could develop a seamless system between rep, website and branch, this could create a winning combination. This combination would not only ease use, it would greatly reduce some of the barriers like delivery costs and returnable items. 

The Major Hurdles

There are still some major hurdles to overcome for online sales. First and foremost is the lack of a relationship. Nothing replaces strong relationships that add immense unwritten value to the process. Second is the need to quote on projects. The value and service that the channel provides is hard to replicate on the Web (but never say never!)  Third, is solution-selling: a customer has a problem and you solve it prior to him or her doing any research on the Web. How does an online service do that? 

The clearest answer here is to adapt the new technology to our existing model — to improve our model. 

In closing, if your company has an online presence (or plans to develop one), remember to continually promote the website! A few survey respondents indicated that they don’t purchase items online from their distributor because they weren’t even aware that an e-commerce site existed! It is necessary to keep you customers informed about your progress. This also provides an opportunity to build closer relationships with customers, so that together, you both build the kind of platform that would make your supply process run smoothly. 

Electrical Council members can obtain the full report by contacting Swati Patel at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Carol McGloganBy Carol McGlogan

EFC kicked off 2021 with an outstanding webinar featuring Janice Gross Stein, renowned Canadian political scientist, founder of the Munk School of Global Affairs and recipient of the Order of Canada. Ms. Stein has spoken at previous EFC conferences, earning many accolades, and this session was no different as we learned what to look for as the Biden Administration takes hold of the White House.

Our close economic ties to the U.S. means that Canadians must “keep up with the Administrations” to survive. Janice focused her discussions on industrial policy and climate change within an active intervening government.

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Canadian Business Counts - December 2020The COVID-19 pandemic continues to alter the business landscape. Some businesses have closed permanently, some have grown and others have been temporarily closing or reopening. In October, for example, the number of business openings (41,910) exceeded the number of business closures (32,420) for the fourth consecutive month.

As a result, the number of active businesses in October edged up 0.6%. Despite the slight increase, the number of active businesses was down 6.7% from February 2020.*

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David GordonBy David Gordon

Gene Biben, formerly President and CEO of Biben Sales, joined Channel Marketing Group earlier this month. Gene’s avowed desire is to “give back” to the industry, to help people work together. He will help reps achieve their goals and manufacturers optimize their performance, and relationship, to and with manufacturer reps. He’ll additionally support Channel Marketing Group clients’ research needs.

While Gene is well known by many manufacturers, we thought it would be interesting to ask him to consider changes he has seen over the years.

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Darci SpiteriBy Darci Spiteri 

This past month marked one year since stepping onto a job site and starting my electrical apprenticeship. Little did I know 2020 would throw in some curveballs, but it was a pretty fantastic year for self-development when I sit back and reflect. 

Enter Pandemic, worldwide lockdowns, and my Jobsite shutting down for a month. Losing hours was a downside and with my apprenticeship being based on the number of hours worked, moving onto my second year will take a little extra time. 



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Changing Scene

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ABB is hosting a Smart Building thought leadership session with six webinars presented by industry ...
Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC) announced the recipients of their Awards of Excellence ...
Guillevin International has announced the creation of a new division, Guillevin Datacom, ...
Website visitors to the freshly designed IMARK Group website will learn about all of the benefits ...
WESCO International, Inc. has announced its results for the fourth quarter and full year ...
Deschenes Group Inc. (DGI) has acquired Daltco Electric effective February 1st, 2021.   ...
With 28 years of commitment to Canadian independent distributors, and as a sign of its focus on ...
Rexel announced it has acquired the Canadian Utility business of WESCO International (WESCO Canada ...
Liteline announces the appointment of ISTED TECHNICAL SALES for representation of their products in ...
Signify Canada has announced David Grinstead, Market Leader, Canada, Signify will retire at the end ...


Seth Cook and Kerith RichardsService Wire Co. promotes Kerith Richards to Regional Sales Manager – Canada and expands Seth Cook’s sales territory to better serve the commercial and industrial markets.

Kerith Richards will serve as Regional Sales Manager based out of Service Wire’s corporate headquarters, where she will be responsible for commercial and industrial sales in all provinces. In addition, Richards will continue her role as Sales Representative for Saskatoon, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador. 



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Guillevin International Acquires Wesco's Canadian Datacom BusinessGuillevin International has announced the creation of a new division, Guillevin Datacom, which will be dedicated exclusively to various network infrastructure products. To support this new division and ensure its success, Guillevin acquires the Canadian Datacom business of WESCO International, whose team will join Guillevin's Canadian operations.

"We have targeted the WESCO business to launch our Datacom division because of the team's agility, expertise and in-depth knowledge of products from the industry's leading suppliers", said Luc Rodier, Guillevin's President and CEO. 


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IMARKWebsite visitors to the freshly designed IMARK Group website will learn about all of the benefits that accrue to members and suppliers in all IMARK divisions (Electrical.

HVACR, and Plumbing/Irrigation) as well as Luxury Products Group which supports decorative showrooms and IM Supply which is a national account sales solution for IMARK Group members. The website features videos from group leadership as well as an introductory video on the home page.




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Peers & Profiles

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“It was quite surprising,” said Stephanie Smith of being named EHRC’s Leader of the Year. ...
Ariane Cardinal is Director of Planning, Purchasing, and Distribution with Stelpro.   ...
Electrimat is an independent Quebec-owned company that has specialized for 40 years in the ...
In July, Eaton announced that Vice President, Channel – Electrical Sector, Matt Cleary would be ...
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 ...

EHRC Leader of the Year Stephanie SmithBy Blake Marchand

“It was quite surprising,” said Stephanie Smith of being named EHRC’s Leader of the Year. “Leadership in 2020 has certainly been a challenge for everybody in the world let alone the nuclear industry or the electricity industry.”

An engineer by trade, Smith spent the majority of her career with Ontario Power Generation (OPG). She was the first woman to be certified by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station where she served as Plant Manager and was recently named the first President and CEO of CANDU Owners Group. Smith is also a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion.

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