The recipe for future distributor success: A twist of digital with a dash of personal

November 08, 2018 //By Neil Harrison
The recipe for future distributor success: A twist of digital with a dash of personal
The Internet has significantly changed the way we do business. Many of these changes are for the better. Distributors are able to offer services online that were inconceivable through a paper-based catalogue. For example, when searching for a new sensor, customers can quickly and easily review and compare multiple products through online catalogues.

Once a short-list of potential devices has been made, a single click is all that is required to call up the datasheets. From here the fine details, hidden away in the specifications, can be compared and analysed until the best possible solution is found.

However, sometimes it seems that the introduction of the Internet into every facet of business has been to the detriment of human interaction, personalised support and continuity in our business relationships. It is not uncommon to pursue a purchase from selection to delivery without any human interaction whatsoever.

Fig. 1: Interaction with distributors today results in a feeling that supplier and customer have become faceless actors in a B2B relationship.

Many distributors, in their pursuit for a more personalised experience, have drawn upon the marketing tactics of B2C web-businesses. To a certain degree, having alternative or popular products presented on a distribution landing page may be of some service to customers. However, it fails to recognise how professional engineering experts and the team’s that support them, such as purchasing, operate.

An engineer or technician will be highly selective in their product search. There are strict limitations in the products they can choose and often budgetary concerns are not at the top of the list. Size, cabling or connector, power consumption, compatibility and a host of other factors must be correctly fulfilled for a purchase to go ahead. Simply recommending a board-level gauge sensor because a customer previously purchased an industrial gauge pressure transducer only serves to demonstrate a severe lack of understanding for the customer’s needs and business.

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