Wholesalers Help Distributers Diversify

As big-box stores and e-commerce giants continue to threaten and eat into jan/san distributors’ profit margins, industry wholesalers want distributors to know that they’ve got an ally in the fight.

One advantage wholesalers offer is the ability to diversify. Wholesalers are outfitting distributors with a full product catalog beyond traditional jan/san products, and empowering them with market intelligence, ongoing training, and the tools and technology necessary to continue to succeed in the evolving marketplace.

“If distributors want to be competitive in today’s market, they need to extend their product lines,” says Mike Bohannon, senior vice president of corporate strategic sourcing, R3 Redistribution, Elk Grove Village, Illinois. “The only way they can truly be successful in this endeavor is to collaborate with a wholesaler that can provide product training and support, and sales tools to help them sell these products.”

Wholesalers give distributors the flexibility to sell a breadth of products that span multiple sectors. For example, most wholesalers offer distributors the ability to sell items such as foodservice disposables, office supplies, safety products, industrial supplies and cleaning products all on one purchase order. And the list of products across sectors only continues to grow as wholesalers negotiate deals with manufacturers. This, wholesalers say, allows an independent distributor, no matter the size, to be a true one-stop shop, which today’s end users have come to demand and expect.

“For any distributor, it’s so important to look for new avenues of growth. A key opportunity is having the ability to sell to your customers products in noncore categories that they are purchasing from someone else,” says Michael Hauck, vice president of marketing and digital services, Essendant, Deerfield, Illinois. “Partnering with a wholesaler provides a distributor the opportunity to purchase only the quantity that is needed until they have developed a more robust program, while making them the single-source supplier for their end consumer.”

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Diversifying Beyond Jan/San