The industry has now entered a post-COVID recovery phase, in step with the country and the U.S. economy. In what ways have the changes now newly impacting supply chains, inflation trends, and consumer buying patterns influenced the fine-tuning of your distributor programs and business strategies to the benefit of retailers? And what should dealers know about your newest distribution programs that make them stand out as invaluable and stabilizing solutions for these changed business conditions?
Jack Halperin, Senior Vice President, Sales & Customer Service
Across most home appliance segments, we continue to see the reversals of various business dynamics, which began post-pandemic and have continued now through the first half of 2023. While overseas shipping container fees have dramatically been reduced to pre-pandemic levels, we have not seen relief for domestic LTL [less than truckload] shipping fees. General consumer demand for home appliances has also declined in 2023 as compared to this time last year. However, select categories like high-end dishwashers and various luxury appliances remain in the pipeline fill stages from demand realized during the pandemic. This year, consumer spending in the U.S. has been more focused on travel, entertainment, eating out, buying cars — things that were not possible during the pandemic. Generally, dealers seem to have a very cautious mindset. We’re working closely with our vendor partners to make sure Almo inventory levels remain at a heathy level and at acquisition costs, which will allow us to keep our dealers competitive for the remainder of 2023, regardless of what the broader industry delivers.
CLIMATIC HOME PRODUCTS
Doug Allen, President
As COVID ended and the supply chain recovered, it left many retailers with excess inventories. This created backup in warehouses, as consumer demand softened. And now we are dealing with inflationary pressures. During this period, Climatic Home Products was able to take advantage of opportunity buys and keep our inventories of high-demand products available, so we were able to deliver “just in time” inventory to our dealers as they needed it. We also opened a new warehouse in 2023 to help with retailers’ demands.
During COVID, many retailers’ plan-to-sell was difficult to maintain, due to availability in the industry. Climatic continues to work with our vendor partners to offer pricing and display programs, reset floors, and help retailers get their floors back to pre-COVID plan-to-sell.
Trevor May, Vice President, Consumer Sales & Vendor Business Management
We’re getting back to a more normalized situation, closer to pre-pandemic conditions. Our most effective strategy continues to be forecasting and securing inventory across various categories. As supply and demand changes, we’ve been able to expand our base of merchandise, allowing us to deliver high-quality alternative brands under most circumstances. D&H is evolving its line card in areas like consumer technology and home networking and developing high-potential opportunities such as gaming and virtual reality. This includes supporting devices and products like laptops, monitors, and video cards that supplement cutting-edge categories as adoption increases. We’re continuing to invest in our partners to increase their flexibility.
THE FESCO GROUP
Raymond Levy, COO
The truth is that there’s a lot of uncertainty in the market, and there’s no real solution to any of the market challenges we’re all currently facing. Nevertheless, we’re continuing to be diversified, working on just-in-time inventories and doing our best to innovate within our own private brands.
At Fesco, we distribute global brands and manufacture private and licensed brands in over 10 different CE and personal care categories, which makes for a turnkey solution for retailers. We’ve increased our dropship business as well.
Mike Erwin, Category Leader, Modern Workforce
Stay close to your team, your customers. Ask what more you can do for them, with them. Our digital twin Ingram Micro Xvantage is redefining distribution. We are performing while transforming and showing up stronger and smarter to give a real and lasting business advantage. A working relationship with Ingram Micro goes beyond programs. It’s about people, businesses and the trusted relationships we build and the results we deliver by working together. Ingram Micro wants to be the business partner behind your brand. Over the last two years, we’ve brought to market a digital experience platform — Ingram Micro Xvantage — that changes how we work, and how you can work with us and with your customers. This new platform is designed to help you — our channel partners — do more, with more and create and capture value at the speed of need. We built Xvantage to bring you the advantage, always.
NEXT LEVEL DISTRIBUTION
Mark Garijanian, Director of Marketing
Next Level Distribution strives to provide our dealers with invaluable and stabilizing solutions for changing business conditions. First, we prioritize robust supply chain management to ensure a consistent and reliable flow of products. Secondly, we provide competitive pricing while protecting dealer margins. Next, we monitor industry trends to deliver a diverse product portfolio to our dealers and empower them to capitalize on new opportunities. Finally, we keep our dealers informed and educated. Our marketing efforts over the past two years have increased dramatically, with a newly updated website, weekly email campaigns and daily social media outreach. Furthermore, we equip our dealers with product training in our new integrated training facility as well as our Next Level webinar series and podcasts.
Dennis Holzer, Executive Director
Over the last year, we’ve seen some of those supply chain pressures ease, which has been a huge relief to the industry. Over the course of the pandemic and through the recovery period, the PowerHouse Alliance has been focused on offering our members and dealer customers a variety of choice in products, and we’ve seen this align with consumer buying patterns. Consumers are more tech-savvy than ever, and dealers must be prepared to be flexible in their product choices to meet clients’ budget needs. Since 2020, we have added 14 new lines across all 70+ PowerHouse locations, and we’ve expanded our in-house line to include amplifiers that offer high-quality sound at an exceptional value. In addition to our house lines, the PowerHouse Alliance has been working collaboratively with our vendor partners on rewards programs, rebates, and exclusive product offers — all aimed to help dealers bolster their bottom line.
William Zidek, Vice President – Snap One Partner Stores
Snap One’s goal is to be the most reliable supplier within the partners’ supply chain. We achieve this through dependable inventory, highly sought-after brands, a trusted team, education, and a rewards program designed to optimize partners’ profitability. Every dollar spent across Snap One contributes to their rewards level.
We just opened our 40th U.S. location in Raleigh, N.C., with several more in the pipeline before year-end. It’s exciting when partners visit our stores for the first time and enjoy the open shopping experience, exploring solutions as they walk the aisles.
We are thrilled that our educational efforts are back in full force. It’s invigorating to engage directly with our partners in the field and provide them with valuable learning opportunities in current and emerging categories. We’ve planned nine distinct national events for the rest of the year, featuring trainings such as Vibrant Linear Lighting and Clara Shades, to name a few.
Dylan Leach, Senior VP, Product Management – New Age Electronics
The post-COVID supply chain environment has seen great improvements. Most of our OEM partners have really stepped up and revamped their operations. We have done similar by building enhanced automation in our logistics centers and working more closely with our OEM partners to build deeper integration around CPFR [collaborative planning, forecasting and replenishment] so inventory is at the right place at the right time. Inflation and consumer buying patterns have kept us on our toes, but we have been successful in pivoting to segments of the market that continue to see growth. Our success with our retail partners is directly related to focusing all our resources on industry-leading brands and ensuring the programs allow them to stay at the leading edge of the competitive landscape.
I would highlight the fact that as a division of TD SYNNEX, we have so much to offer. Many of our dealers are still learning all the new things they can leverage, so are vocal with us to provide the support they need.
Nancy is a contributing editor for Dealerscope.