Billy McInnes believes the channel is getting the best of both vendors and customers in times of crisis
You may recall that last week I looked at the issue of vendors failing to be honest with customers about the impact of ingredient shortages on their supplies. In particular, I suggested that this ‘tactic’ put partners in a hostile position as they were being used as a medium of misinformation for their customers.
When I say ‘their customers’ I’m talking about channel companies, not vendors. This is an essential distinction because the question of who the customers belong to can be a matter of dispute between sellers and their partners. A cynic might say that sellers are very happy to claim them as customers when they are buying and are very quick to convert them into their partners’ customers if anything goes wrong.
Anyway, especially when demand for PCs and notebooks is on the rise due to semiconductor shortages and their impact on supply, it was disappointing to see that vendors were less than honest with customers about the issue. Especially when they were willing to come forward a bit more with partners on their problems.
Essentially, the message looked like “We’re having a supply problem but you can’t tell anyone”.
On the one hand, you can see that as an acknowledgment of the trust vote in the channel partners and their value to the seller because we are all likely to tell people that we do something in confidence that we will not disclose to anyone .
On the other hand, while it is reassuring that partners are trusted enough to be given advance warning of problems, it is a concern that customers are being kept in the dark. Especially when customers are encouraged to invest the same level of trust in partners that sellers do in their channels.
Therefore, in order to maintain their position of trust with vendors, partners are being asked to reduce their own credibility with customers. I don’t know about you but to me it sounds like a breach of trust.
Therefore, it is reassuring that a policy that does not try to deny the reality of the shortage, but strives to provide more honest and truthful information to channel partners and customers, can be effective.
here’s a good time
The success of this approach is confirmed in the Q1 market data for PC shipments in Western Europe published by Canalis. The overall good news is that demand is growing at 16.1 million units this quarter, up 48% over the same period in 2020.
There is genuine optimism about the market going forward. “Ongoing bottlenecks around key components are delaying some orders,” Canalis noted, “but the supply chain is actually in a much better shape than in Q1 2020, which first saw a sudden factory shutdown amid the COVID-19 outbreak. shut it down.”
Supply is still a concern, however, as acknowledged by Canalys research analyst Tran Pham. “While demand is skyrocketing, the question is, can the supply cope? Right now, the seller who can fulfill the order the fastest will win. “
But it’s not just about how quickly you supply equipment, it’s also about how well you manage any shortfalls and delays. “In cases where shipment delays were unavoidable, HP managed its channel well,” Pham says, “by being transparent about shipment timing and reassuring customers, which discouraged them from exploring alternatives.” “
And that’s it. If you’re with straight people, they’ll wait. But if you tell them the story and they get desperate and frustrated, they’ll look elsewhere. Channel partners relaying vendor-provided information instead of more accurate vendor-provided information can get caught in the crossfire. When this happens, it does not matter whether the customer is the seller or the partner. The customer will soon be someone else’s.
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