Tech is a huge opportunity staring dealers in the face, but as a channel we seem reluctant to venture into the world of technology. In fact many dealers would rather it not be there. I know this because I recently conducted an independent survey of a number of dealers and asked what their response would be to a customer that asked to buy a laptop. All replied they would send them to PC World, lucky old PC World!
We have to be honest as an industry and say that files and paper are not going to be our bread and butter products in the years to come, and tech products are. You only have to look around your own work place to see it happening: Meeting minutes taken on tablets, emails read from your phone, customer service carried out over Twitter. We’ve stopped printing because it’s all online, we invoice by email, and we use Facebook to communicate internally and externally. All highlighting the fact that we are using traditional office supplies less and less.
Tech is an opportunity tapping dealers on the shoulder shouting “I’m here, your customers want me.” It is the single biggest opportunity that the OP market has even seen and dealers can have a piece of the action if they are prepared to think slightly differently.
In the world of tech everything is different, the products, the distribution, but so are the margins. Many place tech on a pedestal of being a league above, a space for only big players to compete in, but there is one thing that doesn’t change, one thing dealers are really good at… service!
The tech that your customers require, and may even be asking you for now, are an existing part of your business make up – being attentive, being local and responding swiftly with top notch after sales care. These are the qualities of smaller locally focused businesses. Yes, price is always a part of the equation, but when you have formulated a relationship with your customers built on respect and trust it is not easily broken, even from the likes of mega multinationals… but only if what they are looking to purchase is part of your offering.
I think it is time to face reality, it’s an undoubted certainty that the OP industry as we know isn’t going to stay the same and is already shifting. Embracing technology as a sales stream in which you can deliver real value to customers by capitalising on those strongly forged relationships, can only but help to ensure the future success of your business.