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..

David Gordon New 400Everyone is an expert in pricing. It’s either too high or too low based upon your role. Salespeople like it low. Management wants it high. The customer wants it “right” which, usually means “competitive” or “It’s reasonable for the value I am receiving.”

And the term “value” is intriguing as it infers that you understand
• the value that you bring
• the value that your product / service brings
• the competitive landscape (which also includes alternatives and inertia)

But I digress. 

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LDS Magiclite LS 400Magic Lite has announced the signing of Lightspec Canada Inc. as their Specification Sales Agent for the GTA.

As the Canadian Division of Lightspec, LLC, NY, this agency is headed by Steve Danzig as President and Neil Whiteford as Sales Manager. This talented sales team has over 150 years combined experience with Lighting Design, Applications, Lighting Controls, Distribution and Project Management. They are committed to bringing attentive service and expertise to their clients for their designs, projects, lighting requirements and acting as their trusted advisor and partner.

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COVID-19By Atul Minocha, Dawn Werry, and Kimberly Miller

When the pandemic first hit, the industrial manufacturing sector was changing daily. Now, at the start of the recovery phase, the whole industry is adapting. Some companies have had to find completely new markets for their products, while others have started making completely new products. Across the board, supply chains have been disrupted. Buyer behaviours have changed and go-to-market strategies have had to adjust in order to keep business moving. Here are four ways industrial manufacturing companies can recover from COVID-19:

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Gurvinder ChopraBy Gurvinder Chopra

In June 2019, the U.S. grid regulator, NERC, issued a warning that a major hacking group was conducting reconnaissance into the networks of electrical utilities. Just one month later, several major industrial firms announced they had been victims of a state-sponsored hacking campaign.

A year later, hackers targeted over 75 organizations around the world in the manufacturing, media, healthcare, and non-profit sectors, as part of a broad-ranging cyber espionage campaign.

 

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Value of Building Permits - JuneThe $687 million Oakridge Centre mixed use redevelopment project in the city of Vancouver helped raise the total national value of building permits 6.2% to $8.1 billion in June, to a level comparable to pre-COVID levels. Overall, seven provinces reported gains for the month.

Residential permits rise

The total value of residential permits was up 7.0% to $5.3 billion, with gains posted in six provinces. British Columbia posted its third largest value on record for residential permits in June, up 20.4% to $1.3 billion due to large projects such as the Oakridge Centre redevelopment. 

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SouthwireSouthwire has long held a commitment to sustainability, dating back to its first official sustainability report in 2007. Reflecting that commitment, the company recently launched its 2019 sustainability report, prepared in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards, featuring an exciting new goal called Carbon Zero.

The 2019 report highlights all areas of sustainability at Southwire and showcases the company’s most significant impacts by focusing on its five key tenets – Growing Green, Living Well, Giving Back, Doing Right and Building Worth.

 

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CSAOn May 8, 2020, Gianluca Arcari was appointed Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer at CSA Group, reporting to David Weinstein, President & CEO. In this role, Gianluca will be responsible for growing CSA’s global Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) organization. Leading a team of more than 200, Gianluca will guide and develop global commercial market sector strategies across CSA Group’s global business units in Home and Commercial, Industrial and Healthcare.

“Gianluca is widely known and respected for his technical and business skills both within CSA Group and in the global TIC market, making him an excellent choice for this role,” said David Weinstein.

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Robin Billingsley"It is with heavy hearts that we inform you of the passing of our longtime Marketing Manager, Robin Billingsley," said Beghelli General Manager, Bruno R. Ardito in a heartfelt letter to Beghelli customers.

"Robin had been battling breast cancer for the past few years and on July 23rd, Robin’s battle ended at 40 years young. We have had the pleasure of working with Robin for 13 years and in those 13 years, she executed many of the products and programs we have today. Robin truly represented Beghelli/Beluce ideals, philosophy and vision. 

 

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LDS CBC Lighitng logo 400By Blake Marchand

CBC Lighting has established itself as a premier lighting wholesaler in Canada as well as the U.S. During the pandemic they were able to leverage that expertise to help fill an increased demand for T-UV lamps and ballasts.

Obviously with the global pandemic there has been increased focus on PPE and other sanitary products like hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, as well as Ultraviolet light that kills germs. LDS has published several reports from industry organizations that have recently conducted research studies on the effectiveness of T-UV lamps on neutralizing the COVID-19 virus. 

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