Someone recently asked us about the role of the distributor in today’s business environment, essentially asking if it has diminished. Initially, I didn’t really understand the question because we live it every day and we see how the ecosystem works. But the more I thought about it I understood where the question comes from. The world is changing, every day there is a new start-up or a new social media channel and it’s easy to get distracted by the bright shiny objects. It’s now commonplace to purchase products on our phones and get them the next day or even shop by asking Alexa.
In any business, but especially distribution, you must continue to evolve to remain relevant. It’s been part of our DNA from the beginning to focus on providing value to manufacturers and our customers. So, despite any trends or technology innovations we’ve never had to take a breath and figure out our next steps, we’ve just continuously looked where we could offer value and provided it.
If you’re a manufacturer or a business owner, there are certain things that you excel in and want to focus on. You work with strategic partners to fill in the gaps, so you can put your focus where you need it to be. In the amusement business, the equipment we sell has gotten much bigger and more expensive which required us to invest in capabilities to best deliver it to the marketplace. Over the past 10 years, we heavily invested in our infrastructure including distribution facilities, parts inventory, and financial services. As the distributor, we make those investments, so our partners don’t have to. People are used to buying things online, so we added a 24/7 online parts ordering website, so our customers could get what they need quickly.
Focusing on your strategic partners' and customers' success is the key to your success when it comes to the distribution model. You need to invest in areas and do things better than they can do themselves. It’s not complicated but it’s also not easy. If you look at how we do business, we’ve built an organization that is as comprehensive as there is in the industry, but we haven’t lost the family tradition that got us here. So, while we’ve grown as a company, we still strive to act like a startup, where we are nimble enough to provide our customers what they need immediately or adjust to trends in the industry.
Despite all the new innovations in the world and the technology trends, it’s easy to forget about the human factor and in business, relationships do matter. If you continue to provide value and deliver on your word, then your vendors and customers will continue to come back. I’d like to know your thoughts on the subject so feel free to comment below.
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Jonathan Betti is Senior Vice President of Sales & Business Development for Betson Enterprises. Jon and the Betson team are focused on providing customer-centric products and solutions for the location-based entertainment business. Jon is passionate about the arcade space and has worked with manufacturers to develop several successful game concepts. He is also a board member of the AAMA Charitable Foundation.