The Role of the Distributor in the Amusement Industry
Someone recently asked us about the distributor’s role in today’s business environment, essentially asking if it has diminished. Initially, I didn’t understand the question because we live it daily and 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 social media channel, and it’s easy to get distracted by the bright shiny objects. It’s commonplace to purchase products on our phones and get them the next day or even shop by asking Alexa.
In any business, especially distribution, you must continue evolving to remain relevant. It’s been part of our DNA to focus on providing value to manufacturers and 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 at 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. The equipment we sell has gotten much bigger and more expensive in the amusement business, requiring us to invest in capabilities to deliver it to the marketplace best. Over the past ten years, we invested heavily in our infrastructure, including distribution facilities, parts inventory, and financial services. As distributors, 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 in 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 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 immediately provide our customers with what they need or adjust to industry trends.
Despite all the new innovations in the world and the technology trends, it’s easy to forget about the human factor, and relationships do matter in business. If you continue to provide value and deliver on your word, your vendors and customers will return.
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Jonathan Betti is the Senior Vice President of Sales & Business Development for Betson Enterprises. Jon and the Betson team focus 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.