Distributors who expect to sustain growth in coming years can’t afford to let the opportunity to put technology to use for their customers pass them by.
Let’s face it, when your customers are at home, they can order pizza by texting an emoji to Domino’s. They can switch the background music from country to heavy metal with a single Alexa-directed sentence. So when they come into the office, why would your customers put up with anything less that that same kind of seamless, user-friendly experience?
The answer is: They wouldn’t.
The consumerization of IT has been accelerating for years, and we have reached a point where nearly everything we do is impacted by the cloud, from the way we communicate to the way we access our entertainment.
And it is now changing our business models.
All of this can be very intimidating for distributors trying to keep up and fend off challenges from whatever tech-based competitor may pop up next.
We give you one simple piece of advice that can help you not only maintain your competitive advantage, but also stay ahead of whatever competition may be on the horizon: Focus constantly on your customer’s experience. After all, we haven’t welcomed technology into our daily lives because of a great love of technology. We’ve done it because we, as consumers, have benefited from it.
Probably the best and most famous example of what happens when you don’t focus on customer experience is the current state of taxi companies.
Taxi companies had arguably more experienced drivers, they had drivers who had been vetted, they had bright yellow cars that were almost universally recognized, and they had huge market share. They even had regulatory barriers preventing competitors from entering. They should have had every advantage.
What they didn’t have was a focus on the customer experience.
Uber didn’t invent all of the technology that drives their success. What they did was put that technology to use in a way that focused on the customer experience. In this case, that meant no more having to call hours in advance for a taxi, no more standing around wondering when one might arrive, only to have someone hail it out from under you when it does. Uber unseated taxi companies not because its leaders were IT geniuses, but because Uber made getting from place to place exponentially easier for consumers.
Is your business like a taxi company? Or do you want to be an Uber? The technology wholesaler-distributors need to make their customers’ lives easier is out there. It’s available now, in the cloud, where we can combine data from all of our business applications. That data can and should be put to use simplifying customers’ experience.
About the Author - Matt Petersen
Matt Petersen is a Senior Director of Industry Solutions for ENAVATE and has spent his entire career in the enterprise software industry. Matt was a founding member of the SAP for Wholesale Distribution Industry Business unit and in 2014, he joined Microsoft to lead the U.S. Dynamics Retail and Wholesale Distribution Industry practice.
Matt has a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from the University of Illinois in Urbana - Champaign and a Certificate in Distribution Management from Texas A&M as well as a Certification from INSEAD in Business Strategy and Financial Acumen.