What Are The Advantages Of Web-Stores?

The distributor can use the project as a way of getting a commitment from the client in the way of a contract to be the exclusive or at least a preferred supplier of promotional merchandise.

web-store should merely be seen as an opportunity for distributors to differentiate themselves from their competition and present, what the client would consider, as a proactive approach to their merchandise needs.

The web-store should give the distributor the opportunity to tie the client into a commitment of a certain length of time and therefore feel there is value in investing time to put forward relevant, new and exciting items with the potential of being rewarded with an order for that time.

Are there any risks

There a few very obvious “risks” when setting up a web-store and all centre around cost.

Firstly, if a web-store has been set up with product stocked for immediate availability there are scenarios where the distributor will agree to fund the stock and then invoice based on called-off orders.  A contractual agreement needs to be in place to protect the distributor in the eventuality that the client rebrands for example, therefore the stock becomes redundant and also for an agreement to be in place that the client purchase any stock that doesn’t move within a certain period of time, therefore the distributor does not have money tied up in stock that isn’t being purchased.

Secondly, the web-store itself will cost money if being provided through a third-party.  The distributor needs to understand the purchasing history of the client as to whether it warrants offering web-stores as a service.  The distributor must be confident that, even if they do not bill the client outright for the web-store, the increased profit made means that the web-store pays for itself.

Thirdly, a risk is that the distributor believes their work to be done once the webshop is up and running.  However, that is when their work really starts!  Unless the distributor is totally confident there is no leaked spending within the client’s organisation, it needs to be accepted that prior to the current agreement, buyers will have had experiences/relationships with other suppliers of merchandise.  It is the distributor’s job therefore to convince these buyers that might look elsewhere that the stocked products or ad-hoc lines on the web-store can fulfil their requirements and very often that can only be done by engaging and marketing the web-store.

Can you share an example of where a great store has streamlined a business and saved money

We are unable to give names of end-clients because of confidentiality agreements we have with our distributor clients.  However, we have one distributor client who had been supplying a well-known Brand within the UK one particular product line for a year or so and would get a few repeat orders throughout the year.  The distributor had his usual meeting with the client to build on their relationship and makes sure the client was happy.  During the meeting, the distributor by chance pulled out a few new products to show the client and to his surprise, the client had purchased and had a bad experience with one particular item – he obviously hadn’t received any such enquiry and so he dug a little deeper.  It transpires that the client was using 6 distributors for a total of 18 product lines (our client was one of those 6 but securing only 1 product line at the time).  He offered the end-client a price-analysis of their current spend based on him supplying all the products.  The end-client was offered a 15% saving on their existing spend but with the distributor still achieving a worthwhile margin.  The end-client’s Procurement department were happy with the saving and chose not to put the project out to tender and the distributor’s direct contact benefitted from not having to juggle so many suppliers!

The distributor then cleverly offered the end-client what is a very simple call-off web-store as part of the offering – whilst the end-client implemented what they saw as a free service, the distributor received a 2-year contract in exchange which effectively stopped any one of those other 5 distributors that lost out on the business offering a “price-analysis” and simply undercutting him.

Do you think some distributors miss an opportunity with this or not sure how to sell it

For all distributors, regardless of whether your sales targets are monthly, quarterly or annually, your primary concern is to hit those through the sale of merchandise for the business to continue.  Everyone finds that time is very limited, we all talk about needing another 6 hours in the day!  Distributors have an array of clients and thousands of product lines to offer, so it can be difficult to be proactively selling services when samples need sending, quotes need doing, orders need converting etc.

However, for many distributors, sales targets begin from zero again the following month or following quarter and it’s difficult to break that cycle.

When we speak to the industry, you can see how distributors can hold misconceptions of web-stores as a service.

Very often web-stores are seen as a solution that is only necessary to the multi-nationals and that the distributor will be financially impacted with thousands of pounds worth of merchandise.

We have come across distributors that are of the opinion that “my clients don’t want this as a service and so I don’t offer it”, only to be told 6 months later that they are interested in our service because another distributor has offered their client something similar and they have subsequently lost that business.

One of thefullwork’s personal favourite successe's is a small distributor client of 2 employees that didn’t want to sell on price, saw the benefit his client would gain from a webshop and proactively implemented the offering.  At the very beginning, the webshop only advertised ad-hoc products however the distributor promoted the site so effectively by engaging personally with buyers and via the Marketing tools within the platform that he was able to convert those buyers that hadn’t used him before into customers.   This could only benefit the client because brand-approved ad-hoc items through analysis became stocked products.  This particular distributor was able to push out much larger competition simply by offering something to his client and demonstrating how it would make their lives easier.  His client’s spend with him was under £10,000 a year pre-web-store but he is now pushing towards six figures!

Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2018 12:00 AM