Amazon and big-box stores fall flat when offering end users jan/san specialty products such as floor and carpet equipment and chemical proportioners.

“In general, wholesalers in our industry have a deeper selection within our category versus big-box retailers,” says Bobroff. “So when a customer is looking for a specific product, a distributor will have a higher chance of fulfillment than other channels.”

Expanding product offerings and stepping into new markets can be daunting. Thankfully, wholesalers are there to help distributors assess which new product categories best fit their current operations and then follow that up with extensive sales assistance and training.

By teaming with wholesalers, distributors can gain a competitive advantage by selling high-value, competitively priced, private-label lines as well, says Bohannon. Distributors are able to sell these products under their own private lines, helping them create a distinct identity. Often, distributors find that the product lines address customer needs for quality and value pricing.

“Wholesalers carry private-label brands that provide distributors an alternative product to offer clients,” says Bobroff. “These brands give distributors the power to win business with highly competitive pricing on a complete, end-to-end product portfolio while maintaining margins that improve their bottom line.”

In the age of next-day (or same-day) delivery, distributors are often faced with the dilemma of ensuring that they have product readily available. Thankfully, wholesalers are providing just-in-time delivery, a method for quickly delivering products to distributors when customers order them, as well as drop-ship programs. With drop-ship programs, wholesalers will deliver product directly to end users’ doorsteps. By taking advantage of this option, distributors are able to guarantee products to their customers via next-day delivery without ever having to touch the products themselves.

As competition continues to heat up in the jan/san marketplace, distributors need to ensure they are in a position where they can compete without damaging their bottom lines. By having the backing of wholesalers, they are equipped with the tools to put up a fight.

Nick Bragg is a freelance writer based in Milwaukee. He is a former Deputy Editor of Sanitary Maintenance.