Webcast Explores Competitive Role of Amazon, Google for Industrial Distributors

Standing up to the Big Dogs: Industrial Distribution Webcast Discusses the Competitive Role of Amazon and Google

It’s always been true that one of the biggest critical issues facing industrial distributors is how to compete effectively in an industry full of strong businesspeople. But what’s changing is the stage for this fight. Once a ground game, industrial distributors are now pressed to compete with larger, more multi-channel operations vying for the spend of an industrial purchasing agent online. And no competition is more feared than AmazonSupply.com and Google Shopping for Suppliers.

According to a recent Tompkins International report, Amazon’s dedicated industrial B2B site could lead to its dominance in the MRO market, whether industrial distributors realize it or not. With this competitive landscape in mind, Industrial Distribution recently hosted an educational webcast where Jim Tompkins, the founder and CEO of Tompkins International, outlined how distributors can prevent the slow but steady erosion of sales and margins as Amazon fine tunes inventories, leverages its delivery proposition, and tackles the technical support side of the equation.

Hundreds of Industrial Distribution readers attended the discussion, where Tompkins and Industrial Distribution’s contributing editor – Jack Keough – discussed how distributors can truly compete with these web juggernauts through improved omni-channel commerce and true business and product differentiation.

Tompkins explained how Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos approaches this market – “He’s focused his attention on large margin per box… We’ve seen him focusing on industrial distribution. It’s because we have high margins and are a growing industry.”

Tompkins added that industrial distributors need to truly understand “the rules of the game” and how B2B and B2C customers have different priorities for the three key elements of a transaction – price, quality, and speed.

In addition to a number of valuable tips on how distributors can stand up to these “big dogs,” Tompkins fielded questions from the audience, explaining how geographic expansion fits into their business models, the role of the online salesperson, and the true definitions of buzzwords like “omni-channel.”

You can check out the full webcast discussion here.

Learn more from Tompkins International here.