To understand how vulnerable a distribution vertical is to disruption, you must understand two types of complexity in your relationship with customers:
Product complexity: There are many types of product complexity, including how difficult it is to specify, select, configure, learn to use, commission, maintain, repair and more. The more complex the products you sell – or, better said, the complexity of your customers’ product requirements, the more difficult it is for marketplaces to replace you as a primary source of those goods.
Logistics complexity: As customers’ logistics requirements become more complex, it’s more difficult for marketplaces to meet their needs. Marketplaces have awesome – but standardized – logistics capabilities. They’re great at moving small packages around quickly. But if your customers run Kanban systems, want you to replenish bins and vending machines; require scheduled deliveries, reserved inventories or products you ship to jobsites on your flatbed delivery feet, their needs fall outside of the capabilities of marketplaces and pure eCommerce sellers.
Watch our episode on the vulnerability of distribution verticals: