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Thursday, November 3, 2022

E*Commerce: Where B2C Thrives and Old Business Systems Go To Die.


You've heard it, "If you aren't on my e-commerce platform, you're going to die."  or this one, "Today, you don't need any outside sales reps.  Your prospects don't want to talk to your pushy, commission-breath, hired guns anymore...they'd much rather tap a few keys and have the copier show up at the door."

Well, not that bad.

To be certain, having an ecomm presence is a good thing- for ribbons, toner cartridges, staples, highlighters, and white out.  Groceries, bicycles, and yoga pants are easy to purchase online as well.  So are motor oil, shampoo, peanuts, air compressors, and even lawnmowers.

Do you see the common thread?

Commodity: a mass-produced unspecialized product

Ecommerce sites are cemeteries haunted by the ghosts of Christmas past.  Plenty of SKU's, no substance, no soul.

I'm not sure when selling office technology became a commodity, we may not openly admit it, but we know the mystery around printers, copiers, laptops, firewalls, and backup systems has evaporated.  

I remember the days when my colleagues pitched 'the shortest first copy out time" as a productivity enhancement. Back then our systems were anything BUT a commodity.

Prospects, like cult followers, invited us into their dens to discuss duplexing and copier training - then scanning and faxing all from the same device.  We called them "multi-function devices."

The once mighty selling professional who could demonstrate a 150-page-per-minute device so well, he would bring tears to his mother's eyes, walked the halls, cut off ties, banged the gong and rang the bells like a champ.  Wizards of Xerography, Masters of Marks on Paper.

Sadly, the day has come. Our great mechanical minions are no longer magical. 

Prospects don't care about how fast we can copy; there is no difference between copiers or printers and each can be shipped within 48 hours.

We can finally do what we said we were doing but didn't do.

Sure, sell the device as a foundation to better business - and then, get out of the copier business.  Move from managed print services into managed services and then into something new and different.  Break away from the hardware.  People do not care about your devices as much as you do.  They don't think your industry awards or pretty new colors make a difference.  They are looking for answers to business questions - how to increase sales, reduce costs and grow profits.  Leverage your expertise in helping companies do just that, and you too won't care about 'speeds and feeds'.

You will be liberated.

Pay no attention to the ECommerce sales person behind the curtain.  One day all his smoke and projections will float away on a breeze.

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Greg Walters, Incorporated
greg@grwalters.com
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