Ingram Micro boss urges indies to capitalise on rivals' flaws

Forbes: ‘Service way forward for indies’

Ingram’s Euro president Jay Forbes says small retailers should concentrate on service rather than competing with ‘formidable’ big box rivals.

While many see the retail landscape darkening for smaller independent retailers, European president of Ingram Micro Jay Forbes has said more indies should be cleaning up by concentrating their efforts on service, since large scale chains and supermarkets are unable to provide any such effective, personalised offering.

"I think it should be about value proposition in a niche market place," Forbes told PC Retail. "Small retailers can cover a very profitable niche for themselves and it comes back to the point of differentiation on service.

While many indies have already set aside parts of their business to service, the likes of PC World and Tesco are still seen as barriers to their profitability by the sector. But Forbes argues the sheer breadth and scale of big box retailers presents much more of an opportunity to smaller rivals than obstacles.

"When you go into some of these large box retailers and see the breadth of inventory that they carry, at the price points that they’re able to present because of that purchasing power, you’ve got to say ‘gosh that’s an awfully formidable offering in the marketplace.’

And yet at the same time to try and get the intimacy of service, to try to get someone that can take the time to understand your particular needs and offer you the most appropriate solution to those needs, it’s not always easy to do so in that high volume, high turnover format.

"I think there’s an opportunity for the small retailer to carve out a very profitable existence for themselves within the market, appealing to the unique needs of that market place, and just servicing the heck out of the customers."

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