At least once a month a manufacturer will call me and ask if I know how to collect from a certain retailer, which will remain nameless. Unfortunately, I do not have an answer. Had the vendor been a client I would have demanded that the business go through a distributor.
Although not all of the retailers are as bad as this one, it is a hard lesson to learn for the perceived misconception of saving a few dollars of avoiding a distributor.
Distributors are my friends—literally. Many of the folks at some distributors, such as Navarre and Ingram Micro have been working for their respective distributors so long, I consider many my personal friends. And friends help out friends. Whenever I need some reseller intelligence—the distributor is always a friendly resource.
When you add up EDI, actually getting paid, shipping to a few warehouses as opposed to many DCs or stores all over the country, any perceived savings of selling direct dissipate. Plus, distributors also helpful with account management and then there is their account reach and marketing programs. Many weeks I am absolutely shocked at the amount of resellers distributors reach that I may not had been aware of.
So next time you think you’re going to save a buck by avoiding a distributor—give it a second look.
And you know what else? Distributors throw the best parties—now that’s what I call a good friend.