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A Distributor Quandary Brand Or No Brand?


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In most markets, customers and suppliers look to branded products because it seems safer and easier to deal with something that is recognised and therefore less of a gamble.

It could be considered non-conformist but our strategy is not to have leading brands. This can give resellers the edge and certainly makes the value-add tangible.

One of the problems with branded products is that they can be over distributed in the mainstream channel so why go this route if you can carve your own demand?

Dealing with non leading brands offers the potential to make higher margins - but there could be a higher cost of sale as the products have less market pull and so have to be pushed harder and need expertise to ‘sell’ against brands. Non leading brand suppliers are more flexible. It's more difficult to offer solid value add if you are dealing with brands - basically because everyone is doing it and it often comes down to price.

Technology innovations and developments mean that markets are becoming more intertwined and the requirement for overlap in experience and services in these areas is increasing every day. Distributors need to keep abreast of the demand by adding products and services to the portfolio and ensuring professional implementation and a good launch. The pressure is on for those that sell non brand goods because there is always demand for the next best thing. However, if you can hold onto the reins there will still be demand for the non-leading brands.

There is the issue with non branded products of getting the products into applications and specified. Branded products are often on any buyer's list simply because they are known in the market place. Hence more support to the reseller is required to ensure that they ‘sell in’ the non branded product successfully.

Both in the short term and the long term, resellers can be better off with non-branded products because they can often be better quality and higher performance as well as being given far better support.
It is worth branching out by going the non-brand route if you are prepared to put in the time, effort and expertise to sell against the other brands. The rewards and the satisfaction can be great.

Andrea Percival, director of distributor, Maxa Technologies.


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