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Is Amazon Disrupting Electrical Distributors?

Jun 14, 2017

Technology IS disrupting everything. Upon a recent visit to Pittsburgh I watched a man use his phone to call for and climb into an Uber autonomous Volvo. Stop and consider with me the guy didn’t call a 1-800 number, wasn’t put on hold, didn’t have to repeat his need, was served in a matter of minutes, and served by riding in arguably the safest vehicle on the road operated by possibly the safest (autonomous) driver. Disruption? Or, safe service precisely meeting individual needs? Recall for a moment the April issue of Electrical Contractor magazine. I recently looked more closely at a full-page ad on page 21. There I found Amazon’s ad for their online electrical supplies. In a separate but related story, Amazon is also opening the first in a planned chain of brick-and-mortar bookstores.

For more, view Amazon’s electrical supply website, read about Amazon’s new bookstores, and check out this article from the Electrical Distributor.

There are articles everywhere in recent days talking about the demise of retail stores and malls in particular. Neiman-Marcus has just averted a takeover or sell-out because of their online business doing so well in putting customers first. Not all retailers are closing doors, but they are re-thinking retail spaces and how to meet customer’s needs. Even Amazon is opening new retail bookstores (see article above). AT&T purposely put their service and retail divisions together. At a very vibrant mall in Oklahoma City last week I noticed a store full of customers with wall-to-wall devices that they could put their hands on. There must have been almost as many green-shirted AT&T customer service reps as customers.

Amazon’s ad had a limited time offer. Is Amazon trying to claim stake in the B2B electrical distribution world? The ad is purposeful. The website is easily accessed and customers or contractors don’t have to leave the comfort of the office, the truck or home. HOWEVER, any distributor can learn from AT&T for instance, personal touch and human service still go a long way when meeting customer needs and driving sales. Personal service, quality customer care, along with well-managed and easy-to-use websites will keep loyal customers coming back while attracting new customers to the business.

Watch recent video of Amazon’s distribution center near Chicago:

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NECA Technology – the Project for Applied and Disruptive Technology
, explores the world of technology and keeps members informed of what's happening today, and of what will be launched in the not too distant future. Dr. Joey Shorter has an extensive background in education and experience in translating the work of academics into understandable, practical ideas.