Do not underestimate the power or influence of distributors – that was a very clear statement to have come out the MVPro survey into the role they play in the machine vision industry.
A brand strategist noted that distribution contributed in two major ways for businesses – it increases brand accessibility which can be converted in brand purchases; more importantly, it increases brand exposure which increases awareness.
It is very clear that businesses and distributors need each other and that both can deliver benefits. Furthermore, distributors can also benefit the buyers – not just the manufacturers.
Our survey – of eight distributors based in the UK and USA – aimed to unearth the impact distributors play as well as explore the importance of their shop window – their websites – and the influence these play in the buying processes.
The key findings about purchasing were:
- 81 per cent buy from a distributor
- 17 per cent buy from manufacturer
- 51 per cent make their purchases online and 24 per cent buy via phone
- 34 per cent spend $1-5k annually with 30 per cent spending $25k+
The key findings about distributor websites were:
- 92 per cent said website quality was ‘very important’
- Navigation and easy purchasing process were most important factors
- Product knowledge/information and expertise and price three key elements in choosing distributor
- Three most purchased products were cameras, lenses and cables
The findings from the survey, will give distributors valuable insight into their business models.
Allan Anderson, founder and managing director of Clearview Imaging, which topped the poll asking ‘which distributors had you bought from’ welcomed the findings.
“I think it’s excellent to have a debate around the key role that distributors play within the machine vision sector and reviewing the results has been really interesting.
“The key elements for me, which are highlighted in the results, are that customers value and expect product knowledge and expertise from a distributor. At the same time, an important take-home message is that customers want to buy online and the process of buying must be easy.
“At ClearView, we have always prided ourselves on having huge amounts of product and technology expertise, which runs through all our departments, in addition to offering engineering services, to go above and beyond the typical ‘box shifter’ distributor. Beyond our own product and technology expertise, we continue to invest in operations to ensure that buying is as easy as possible.”
Multipix, which performed well in the rating of its website, will use the results of the survey to enhance its online presence.
“This survey has provided valuable feedback and confirms the important role distributors have in the machine vision industry,” said Lynne Potter, head of marketing & communications at Multipix.
“It is clear that customers respond well to a website that contains not only concise product information but also acts as a resource centre for customers. Multipix Imaging constantly reviews the company’s online presence to offer the best experience possible and the survey confirms we are working in the right direction.
“Whilst we now offer the ability to buy popular industrial products online, we strive to understand as much a possible about our customers’ requirements so we can then advise on the best technology that provides a successful solution.”
**The website reviews were undertaken independently by MVPro. On certain sites some elements were only accessible to account holders.