In a competitive marketplace, dealers must find opportunities to differentiate themselves from competitors and add value for their customers. Many dealers rely on simply a commitment to service approach—including timely delivery and accuracy of order fulfillment—as the main differentiating factor. However, when nearly every dealer makes the same promise to their customers, that commitment to service makes them more alike than different. Dealers won’t survive if they’re the same as everyone else—they must find ways to stand out from the crowd.
Principia’s recent data product, Pro and Retail Channels in LBM Distribution 2019, includes a deeper analysis of services dealers offer in comparison to services contractors prefer. The graphic below highlights key takeaways from the analysis.
Dealers can differentiate themselves by filling some of the unmet needs in the marketplace. As illustrated above, dealers are not meeting the needs of contractors in offering online and mobile ordering services—this is a growing need and the gap will widen unless dealers act fast. Dealers can also provide services such as helping contractors obtain permits or even invest in truss and component fabrication facilities to expand their offerings for customers. Other services, such as training and product education or rush deliveries, could be areas that dealers can pull back additional investments. These services may be areas where dealers can evaluate their investments but should be careful to not eliminate the offering, since many contractors and builders have come to expect these value-added services.