With an increasing number of online and brick-and-mortar retailers in the security industry, finding the right one could prove to be a challenge.
Objective differences aside, each distributor channel has its own strengths and weaknesses. One product line will be stocked by one outlet while another will be exclusively sold online.
Not exactly ideal, but it’s part of the industry.
With the right approach, however, you can use multiple outlets to shop smarter, more efficiently, and best of all — in a more affordable manner — for your next project.
Learning the Lay of the Land
Whether you’re new to the security industry or an industry veteran, it’s important to “learn the lay of the land,” so to speak. This means you should become acquainted with what each retailer offers, order fulfillment policies, turn-around times, and more.
For example, not every distributor stocks audio equipment on-hand. If your project requires a quick turn-around, then relying on 3-5 day shipping from a central stocking location isn’t ideal.
With this in mind, here’s a strategy for finding the right distributor for your needs.
1. Distribution Specialty
Each distributor is unique.
While some specialize in complete audio video solutions, others will specialize in surveillance technology. Knowing the difference between the two ahead of time will save you from a trip across town.
A quick internet search, or if you have a specific manufacturer in mind — a search of the company’s website, will reveal local distributors in your area that carry those products. Become familiar with what each offers, product or industry specialty.
2. Product Availability
Furthermore, product offerings vary greatly from outlet to outlet. Some locations will stock certain hardware while others won’t.
There are a number of distributors that carry physical products on-hand. Provided your item is in stock, you can walk into just about any stocking distributor and walk about with what you’re looking for. Others give you access to same-day pick up, ordering via app while on the job site or delivery.
Ultimately, it’s a matter of needs.
3. Project and Product Support
Distributors work with integrators day in and day out. Finding a distributor who offers project support can be an incredibly valuable asset.
Each distributor offers varying levels and types of support. While some distributors will offer additional warranties on products or allow for in-store returns, others will strictly defer to manufacturer warranties. This means if you recently purchased a video management system that’s DOA, then you can take it back to the retailer for a return rather than ship it back to the manufacturer.
Lastly, consider overall project support.
Imagine walking into a retailer and walking out with equipment recommendations and a list of highly regarded sub-contractors in your area.
Bringing it Home
By becoming more acquainted with product catalogs, availability, and lead times, you can leverage your knowledge of your supply-chain into an asset that separates you from other integrators. Your knowledge will enable you to guarantee faster project turn-arounds, better prices for the end-user, and separate you from the competition.
The end result is having a reputation for being able to get it done on-time and on-budget for your clients. Who can argue with that?