Thinking Outside the Big Box
I was in Costco the other weekend, stocking up like many families do on all sorts of things, from groceries and pharmacy items to a bathing suit for my daughter and a video game for my nephew's birthday. I stopped and peered into my cart, then down the aisles all around me and noted that absolutely everything under the sun was available to me inside these four walls. There were vacuums, small appliances, televisions, DVDs, furniture, pool supplies, grills, toys, pet supplies and even tires. I could even go as far as booking a family vacation through Costco travel.
If I was going to step back into the not-so-long-ago past, to let's say 1985, shopping for all of these items would require me to make at least 10 different stops. By the time I was finished, it would have taken me all day long, possibly an entire tank of gas, and I would have been exhausted. Today, not so much. Consolidation and convenience have advanced so much in the consumer world, I can solve almost any material problem I have in a single store.
I see a similar trend beginning to swell within our industry. The terms "one-stop shop" and "solutions provider" have become industry catchphrases. As distributors, you already have access to that warehouse filled with a variety of products, right? So you are good, right?
I'm not so sure. It appears to me that this one-stop shop has become more than the aisles of product variety. It's that "solutions" part that is worthy of increased consideration.
The promotional warehouse of tomorrow is quickly approaching. Inside those four walls is not just a great variety of product. A distributor also needs to be storing in there a deep well of creativity, ideas, marketing and technology know-how.
It seems the sky is the limit as to the goods and services your business may one day be asked to provide. I am excited to see where the next few years take us and how the distributor warehouse of products evolves. If any of your businesses have already adjusted or are in the process of adjusting to this new wave, drop me a line and tell me about it. I'd love to hear your story and see how the future is shaping up for you.