Not all aspects of quarantine life are so bad. For instance: the quality of our leftovers-that food enjoyed while standing at the fridge-is off the charts!
But not all leftovers are the same!
Like Jack on the back nine of the 1986 Masters, I have been dominating the grill and cast iron skillet! Tonight was a mixed seafood grill: calamari, shrimp, cod and trout. All made crispy on the tongue, thanks to Guy’s jug of olive oil! Fresh asparagus (which I learned on Tik Tok takes FIVE YEARS to grow), grilled corn on the cob and of course, Italian bread!
Which makes the care packages from Connie, my mother-in-law to be, crucial at the late-night stress feeders!
Connie is a gift. Neighbors with the occupying Allied army in 1940’s Italy, Connie has had a life full of challenges which would leave most of us with every reason to be angry at the world.
But Connie is never angry.
Connie is an enticing woman who will sing you any of a few family favorites in Italian, English or an odd combo of both. All for a glass of wine!
And she’s an Iron Chef with a touch for the native Italian specialties. When Guy goes to visit her she always comes home with hands full of fresh baked breads, chicken parm and other classics are always on the menu. All sent home for us to share. As long as if by "us" you mean Chris!
Because they’re not for me!
Connie loves me; but I’m not her grandson! And so, it’s not for me! Occasionally she sends these indescribable mushrooms (which her husband Carmine forages for himself). Those aren't for me either but thankfully Chris doesn’t eat mushrooms! I took a piece of his chicken parm today at lunch. Not wanting to make a problem for myself, I left him a slice of my cheesecake so he doesn’t rat me out to his mother!
So, not everything is for me AND it turns out; not everything is for you either!
If you are an independent paint retailer, hardware retailer, decorating store owner or any other type of retailer, the rest of this blog is not for you so get back to work.
Speak to you guys again on Monday! Before you go: I put a new pod up this morning! Go take a look in the usually spots!
Now, go! Run along!
Ok, whoever is left works for a coatings manufacturer, coatings or sundry distributor, sprayer manufacturers and the like. Let me share with you what your dealers have been telling me privately.
Many dealers are about to start making significant investments in e-commerce. This doesn’t come as news to you. You’re seeing changes in your own businesses already I am sure. I suspect that dealers in aggregate will be spending millions over the next few years; investing in e-commerce to support their own businesses locally.
As is appropriate!
No one is responsible for a dealer’s success except for the dealer.
But you need to recognize that this dramatic shift is not just for your dealers. This adoption of e-commerce on a mass-scale due to Covid is about to put a whole new stress on YOU!
Dealers will need significant support in a few key areas. These systems, designed to help dealers grow and regain market share (versus less sophisticated options which just handle transactions from customers already looking for a specific dealer), will not be cheap. Dealers will be looking at investments between $15,000 to $50,000 depending on a number of variables.
And that’s just the beginning!
To put these systems in place and keep them functioning, these sites will have a ruthless appetite for data.
And I’m not just talking UPC codes here!
This is not 2010!
Product name, stock number, long and short product descriptions, SCS (style, color and size for you acronym lovers out there) high quality images and a few more things will be the common need which all dealers will have.
Just to start!
All this data will also need to be kept up to date. The best way to do that is by storing this data in an online respiratory. Once there, changes to your master-files will get instantly pushed out to dealers’ e-commerce sites. And these repositories should allow for common access.
That’s right; common access!
This is not just for me and support of my new platform. Many dealers will find other ways than Lexington to add e-commerce: They’re independent so these things happen! But whatever solution they use, they will need the exact same thing I am speaking about now!
These of course can be built by us or anyone similar to us, for each dealer as needed. We can even begin accumulating our own databases as we add customers. In-fact, we have already started doing that. But here’s the problem:
We have to charge dealers for this work. It’s time consuming and therefore expensive. It also delays getting these site up and running which benefits you as well as the dealers. Currently, those costs must be borne individually by each dealer depending on their inventory! All just to represent your products on their e-commerce sites!
But you guys, for what I’m guessing would be a small investment, would be able to do this work one time! And then use these databases to support EVERY dealer with any online platform.
At the same time, when you make that investment you reduce the costs that every dealer will have to pay to install a new website and e-commerce platform. Your investment goes right to your own dealers!
Many times over!
I want to be clear: every dealer who engages in e-commerce will need this data. Not just my clients!
And here’s the other thing: we need it yesterday! I am already hearing from your customers; many are ready to start adding e-commerce; NOW
Of course, there is more going on with this seismic shift than just needs for more data.
Policies you have for dealer investments in web sites and e-commerce platforms have to be updated to address these new needs! Changes should be considered where existing policies are not sufficient given current circumstances!
Anything which effects dealers affects you as well (I think I got my effect/affect right)!
Like I’ve been telling dealers who find themselves without an e-commerce platform in a post-Covid world: Get to it! You’re already late!