0306State of the Industry1996
McBride observed a heightened interest in online ordering beginning around 1999. “We had one or two customers who got involved with online ordering before then, but the bulk of it started in 1999. And over the years, our customers have enhanced their offerings,” he said.
McBride speculated the timing was a result of increased education. “For a lot of our customers, it had to do with educating their sales force in how to sell the product and how to sell the services that they could offer,” he noted.
The Internet Effect
If Web users peruse Victor Printing’s Website (www.victorprinting.com), they will notice numerous features. For example, there are links to all of its products and services, a company overview, colorful images and even a section where distributors can set up an account to place and review orders—a different scene from 10 years ago.
The bottom line is the Internet is extremely advantageous and essential to conducting successful business. It has the capability to handle more orders as opposed to traditional methods, thus proving to be cost-effective. As a result, the Web is in high demand with end-users.
“People are looking for these services now, and if distributors don’t offer them, they’re really not considered serious contenders for a lot of contracts,” McBride stressed. “People have become a lot more computer literate, especially the larger distributors. They often have an IT staff whereas 10 years ago, that was very rare.”
And, just within the last decade, Victor Printing was the only Internet service provider for its small town. The company ran the service for six years until technology forced it out of play. AOL arrived and soon enough, Adelphia offered cable Internet service—the ultimate blow to Victor Printing’s dial-up service.
“The connection was so fast that people didn’t mind spending another $10 a month, so they jumped ship. We ended up selling out, got out alive and kept some of the Web service,” Richards said. “We were actually trying to get DSL from Verizon and be the distributor in the area, but they kept holding us off. The next thing we knew, they were selling it direct, so they kind of went around us.”
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