Last week I had a fabulous conversation with a heavy hitter at one of our established vendors. Honestly was blown away by the admission that our business model as well as a couple of others have inspired this large company to rethink the new marketplace and how they work with designers. Baby steps but a good admission from a large, slow to change manufacturer!
Large retail “mega” stores are vanishing. We have one closing in our small city as we speak. A very successful company too but the landscape for retail is changing so rapidly many have a tough time keeping up. And let’s face it. It is expensive to run a large retail organization. Getting into ALL of the changes happening in retail will be many blog posts but it is good news for designers in my opinion.
Vendors are truly beginning to understand in the new marketplace influencers ( and is this not why clients pay us for our vision? I would call that influence!) are key to bringing in money. Large internet retail websites have known this for awhile. Even my beloved kitchen and bath industry have been on board with this concept longer than the lumbering giants that are most big manufacturers. Even designers who do not have a retail outlet like we do, wield great buying power! Why should designers who can bring in the money be discriminated against if they can walk the walk? Do not give us the story of protecting retailers. Who cares ? Our clients are not shopping retail without us anyway so the retail shop cannot lose something they did not have in the first place.
Vendors need to learn how to work with us and consider our needs that are very different than large retail places. Yes you may have to work with many designers to equal sales figures of years ago. You may have to change your business model yourself and understand our needs about timely deliveries, freight issues, communication styles, and a myriad of other ways of doing business that differs from larger retail stores.
But going forward this is what can fuel growth. Designers need to be able to make a profit on products as well if this is their business plan. It encourages them to learn the products better, understand the customization if available and also empowers them to be part of the sales team for your company. I think most designers recognize they may have to commit to an expenditure with a vendor if they want best pricing. This is ok. This is expected. We need to work together for the benefit of both of us..as well as the clients we serve.
Win/Win. The best scenario.