Many times, distributors are left to fend for themselves to price match, figure out logistics and manage all their different suppliers. At the time that distributors have a choice to eliminate the middle man and go straight to the factory, how can suppliers up their game and provide meaningful services instead of just pushing products??
Your product selection is great. You have them at the lowest prices you can possibly offer them, but you still can't make a good profit. Being a price leader in the industry is a hard thing to do. It's a balance. Walmart is a perfect example of this. They are a retail giant -- a price leader in goods for consumers. But they also have placed much pressure on their suppliers to cut costs even lower in the effort to make sales goals. (Market Watch)
It's important for suppliers to maintain a even product mix. Some items won't always generate the highest profits, but they are mainstays that you have to carry. There are premium items that cost more to your distributorss, however they have higher profit margins, trending in the consumer space and are high ticket goods. Plus, it is proven that brands are willing to pay more for premium promo products. Then you have your middle priced, mid-quality products. You have to offer a little of each.
You're More Than Order Takers
Supply is high and demand is low. This puts suppliers at a disadvantage when factories and manufacturers from China are now forming their own sales and marketing teams to seek out end-users and distributors.
As a supplier, you have to be able to OFFER MORE than just products. You have to build programs, create a community and offer help to your distributors to help them succeed in their distribution process. The suppliers who are more service oriented will be the ones who will scale and succeed.
Distrubutors are very busy. They go from one supplier to the next, from one client to the next trying to generate sales and demand.
Offer real support with your account managers taking special care of each and every one. See if you can offer auto-replenish on orders, offer post-sale support and a real follow up system for your account managers to become real partners in the distributors success.