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Distributors must evolve to combat AmazonSupply


Amazon has become synonymous with global e-commerce, allowing people to find any item at any time. The company appears set on offering such functionality for the supply chain, making it necessary that distributors maintain pace if they want to survive this development. The Electrical Distributor Magazine recently reported that AmazonSupply is a dangerous threat to businesses and customer-facing websites.


Brad Stone, author of “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon,” told those in attendance at the NAED National Meeting that AmazonSupply has “a chain of small advantages.” He specifically noted that Bezos, CEO of Amazon, relies on analytics to position the company over the competition, tED reported.


AmazonSupply looks to have a major advantage over other distributors by sheer volume. A Forbes report indicated that the channel is basically an “$8 trillion bet to slaughter wholesale distribution.”


AmazonSupply also lists 2.2 million products online that include technical specs and at least one photo, which pales in comparison to traditional distributors that list only 50,000, according to the TED report.


What can distributors do to remain competitive?
Denise Keating, president of DataGility and partner with the DataFirst program, told tED that distributors must support the manufacturing community to remain competitive in this new landscape.


“Typically, the B2B market is much more profitable for a manufacturer than the retail market. The manufacturer also needs to help level the playing field by offering robust product data content for all the items they expect distribution to sell,” Keating explained to the magazine.


Keating encouraged distributors to upgrade their websites by including online purchasing to keep up with AmazonSupply. Companies should also focus heavily on data content and search functionality to make life easier for users accessing these channels.


“Unfortunately, most distributors have one or the other at this point. Or worse, a poorly functional website with poor data content. Do not let your customers be one click away from becoming loyal to the competition,” Keating told tED.


Receive the right support
Distributors need to take swift action if they are to combat a giant such as Amazon. Enlisting the help of an >IT solutions provider such as Beringer Associates – which helps clients improve customer service and enable representatives to access full customer data right at their fingertips – is one way that companies can receive the necessary support to update their websites, enhance supply chain efficiency and support customer demands day in and day out.


Going head to head with Amazon is a surefire way to come up short, which is why businesses cannot wait to make the necessary adjustments to an industry that constantly changes. Distributors may have had plans in place to improve their operations before AmazonSupply came along, but this development should signal that firms must be proactive to this news. Otherwise, that chain of small advantages will snowball into something greater – something that will be too difficult for companies overcome.