Gerry Barker, president of Barker Specialty Company, Cheshire, Conn., said that customers lost to direct selling will come back when seemingly great price deals disappoint. “We are finding that buyers are becoming increasingly cynical of spectacular online offers, and it only takes getting burned once to jade you forever,” he said. Barker cited dependable delivery, product quality and the ability to keep information confidential as value-adds that will sway customers from direct selling. He also stressed the importance of following industry trends and adding value to your business in response to them.
“Service providers, such as promotional product distributors, need to be consistently wary of new trends and concepts that may impact business,” said Barker. “We have survived through Internet marketing, direct marketing, storefront marketing, warehouse club marketing, selling through ancillary dealers like trophy houses and printing shops, etc. Someone is always trying to develop a ‘better way’ to sell direct,” he said. “I do feel that direct selling will continue, but do hope that our suppliers who sell directly are smart enough to recognize the advantages of having a tiered pricing structure to protect their dealers. And, we will be sure to continue to bring value to our clients so they realize the benefits of doing business with someone they know and trust.”