Omni-Channel Challenges for Legacy: Brands, Rep Agencies and Distributors
- Next-gen, B2B end-customers want digital buying journeys with omni-channel services.
- Brands must create the best: digital-engagement content and follow-through support.
- But, who – within existing channels – has the new skills or motivation to change the status quo? Brands originally created existing channels from scratch, but several management-generations ago. Current managers may be experienced at only fine-tuning an inherited order.
- What’s needed? Imagine a Special-Skills Rep Agency that could invent new, pilot e-channels without provoking channel retaliations! (?)
An Idea: Benchmark what you can and can’t do against what Xenon Arc (Xenonarc.com) is doing for both its manufacturing partners and end-users.
As an eCommerce advisor to progressive players in many channels, I bump into novel, upstarts like Xenon Arc (XA). Some highlights from their web site:
- Started in 2010 with steady venture funding
- Principals are from/connected to and focusing (initially) within the chemical and food ingredient channels.
- XA partners with producers to create new e-channels using XA’s own, end-customer-centric research and digital interface platform/tools.
- XA takes a “private-label” experimental approach that focuses on a sub-set of SMB end-users.
- Their site case study – on selling bakery ingredients to small/medium sized bakeries – echoes services by stocking-rep agencies of old. But, XA’s entire solution is co-created with and for the end-customers back to the producer.
- A key finding: XA’s customer research shows “human relationships” are still key, although not with a time-and-territory, facetime-call model.
Legacy channel players (brands, rep agencies, distributors) should all compare their Old Ways with Xenon Arc’s New Ways. For some of the specific feature/benefits of a XA’s digital platform for end-users: google “Xenon Arc” + “directibility”. Will any legacy rep agencies or distributors innovate similar value-creation for both their producers and end-users?
XA’s solutions are not the answer for all channels. How rep agencies and distributors will be both dis and re-intermediated will vary.
But, IMHO, legacy players that collaborate with brands to co-create new channel models will win over those who resist channel-model innovation. Digital-native, End-Users have shifting expectations and digital disruptors that give them what they want will win.