Our anonymous columnist questions distributor and vendor loyalty

Counter Insurgent: Where’s the loyalty?

This month our Counter Insurgent talks about their annoyance at vendors and distributors who don’t show any loyalty to each other or to the independent retailers who work with them.

I remember when I first set up my business. I opened an account with a smaller distributor who happened to be based just a mile or so away from my home. They weren’t the cheapest, but this was outweighed by the convenience and absence of courier fees. I could place an order by phone and pick it up within a couple of hours.

All was going well for a few years, then they got taken over by a larger distributor and no longer held stock locally. I only discovered this when I went to place my next order. They didn’t even have the decency to contact their customers to let them know this was going to happen.

I explained to them that, as I would now be paying courier charges, it was going to be cheaper for me to place my orders with another distributor and decided that I would never do business with them again.

I was reminded of this by a couple of recent events. In the first case, another distributor I use stopped stocking a particular brand. Besides not informing their customers, they also appeared to have omitted telling the vendor as well. In the second case, a software vendor decided that they would sell their products direct to customers cheaper than I could purchase them from their distributor.

Over the ten years that I have been in business, this has been a common occurrence. You get used to a particular brand, you are happy with the quality and price, but then either the distributor decides to stock a different brand or the vendor decides that they want to boost their sales and so swaps distributors.

Why can’t distributors and vendors show more loyalty to each other and particularly to their customers – many of whom have helped to build their business in the first place and often helped raise awareness of their brand with the general public? Their long-term success may depend on it.

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