PRO Group’s Workman: Dealers, Vendors Must Tackle Channel Management
PRO Group COO Dave Workman opened the buying group’s 2012 Spring meeting in Dana Point, Calif., Wednesday morning with a “state of the union” keynote speech calling for vendors and retail membership to deal with their common profitability problems through “active, open dialogue” to find a collaborative “middle ground” on the issue of channel management.
“Clearly, the business is changing and unfortunately, the patient is sick,” Workman said. “Retailers and manufacturers are challenged. What can we do about it? The point is not to point fingers but to recognize the issues.”
Workman referenced the impact Internet sales have made in undercutting the big-box retail model designed around lowest price and largest selection, saying that pointed to smaller, more specialized operations being the future. But Workman said specialty dealers needed first to acknowledge that they “live in a multi-channel world. All we really have left is experience,” and that it was possible for that experience to be expressed through multiple channels, and not just through a brick-and-mortar presence. “The [retail] world can exist in Internet and brick and mortar, but the Internet is more than a quicker checkout and a lower price.