Hand shovelIf you’re a lumberyard, you’re probably kept up late at night over Amazon’s growing dominance on the web.  Like any other commodity that you may not need right this instant, Amazon has mastered the ability to get product to your doorstep.

The War Over Shovels

As a dealer or remodler, if you compete with a local lumberyard or hardware store you may not have to worry just yet.  While the lumberyards battle over shovels to be the lowest cost provider, your play is in Special Order Sales where you can drive much more profit.

Why?  Because these products are more complicated.  And more complicated products are harder to manage, and buried in all that complication is higher margins unlike other categories.

In the long run, competing with Amazon over price is going to be a costly battle.  But mastering Special Order Sales is something that Amazon isn’t going to do anytime soon.  Now, I didn’t say “never”, but what I am saying is that becoming dominant in Special Order Sales is crucial to your competitive advantage – both short term and long term.  And just like Amazon received its boon with specializing in reading devices – and doing it expertly – you can get your boon with specializing in Special Order Sales.

Why is Special Order Sales Superior?

Special Order Sales give you an excellent platform to educate your target audience about the pitfalls and lessons learned when buying and installing these types of products.  This gives you a huge amount of content to write about and use with prospects throughout your sales process.  After all, it’s hard to write earth shatteringly interesting stuff about a shovel.

Here is just a few reasons why Special Order Sales is superior:

  • When it comes to prospect buying, it is much more likely that someone buying a kitchen would buy other complimentary products that are simpler in nature.  If you own a hardware store, it’s much harder to get someone initiating his or her buy on a shovel to “upgrade” to a kitchen.
  • When it comes to your business systems, the bigger guys who sell the easier products have systems that have been tweaked over the last decade to specialize in processing these products easily.  These systems fail miserably at Special Order Sales.  You can invest in newer systems that handle Special Order Sales and by default, they’ll also handle the simpler products.
  • When it comes to selling, it’s a lot harder for consumers to compare apples to apples in Special Order Sales.  Hitting a website to find the cheapest shovel is a no brainer.  It’s almost impossible for the average consumer to pull this off with Special Order Sales products.

So when your business model starts first with Special Order Sales it is superior to those that start with simpler products as their core business model.  Moving from highly complex to simpler is much easier.  If you started with the easy stuff first, then later decided to do more complex stuff it can be the stuff of nightmares as your processes, systems and approaches all have to change.

Read part one of Special Order Sales – Why Our Industry is like Starbucks.