Thursday, 10 January 2013

Exclusively yours…

**Attention: Haitian Heroes Go For Gold collectors: Please send-in scrap-gold contributions to Customgold by January 23rd.  Thank you.**

WARNING:  The following is a guest-blog from a fictitious “cranky supplier”.  I publish this to illicit responses from those who care about this issue.  If you have thoughts, please chime-in.  If you respond by email, please indicate whether I can publish your reply to Toddwaz Report readers.

I’m sick and tired of retailers asking for exclusive distribution of my product.  My line contains hundreds of items, so why should I limit my network for a dealer who carries less than 5% of my designs; let alone the ARMS guys who want to cherry-pick my top 10 designs and return half of them for stock balancing. 

How big is an exclusive territory anyway?  One shopping mall, one town, South of the river, 50km radius???  I can’t figure it out.  With the dollar at par and more competition at-hand there’s no loyalty anyway.  I’ve been busting my butt for Canadian retailers for years and in the last few years these glitzy branded goods made in some sweat-shop who-knows-where have come-in an diluted my business anyway.  How do I tactfully tell a jeweller that they’re no longer buying enough to maintain an exclusive when they might just drop me altogether?

If I’m spending over $30,000 per year travelling my territory I’ve got to make it count.  Why can’t we just get back to the good old days?

I believe the issue comes down to true loyalty.  Dealers who give suppliers a good dose of loyalty will get a good dose in return.  I don’t think our industry is that much different from others.  The world is shrinking, borders are becoming more permeable and competition is increasing.  The tactic of exclusivity is now only one piece of a much more complex puzzle.  The good old days may have been good, but they’re gone.  Better days could lie ahead for those who learn to adapt to the changing tide.

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