Today is the day that the Iphone 6s is being released and to no one’s surprise, there are huge lines outside the stores waiting to be the first to get the new device. What I find interesting is how the distribution model on the phones has change and how this is impacting customers and their buying patterns. As we all know, in the past you bought a phone, it was heavily subsidized by the carrier, but then you had to sign up for a 2 year contract or you were hit with big penalties. There was nothing more painful for the customer than either having to wait with a dying phone for the contract to be done, or deciding to bite the bullet and get the new phone and eat the charges. Now, there are many options available for these products. You can buy the phone but you pay it off over 2 years with monthly rentals. The bonus is that, depending on the company, you can upgrade the phone at no charge after a year. Also, Apple is stepping into the game, beginning to sell the phones (unlocked) directly to the consumer and then letting them sign up with a carrier or even bounce from carrier to carrier depending on who has the best deal at the time. This also has a 12 month upgrade capability and also offers the consumer the option of picking up local sim cards when they travel internationally, eliminated the dreaded international data charges.
The point of all of this is that there are disrupters in the market who are changing the way the products are sold to match what the customer wants today. We are seeing this trend spill over into our industry as customers are reaching out to new distributor options that make buying a product fast and easy. Often, distribution requires customers to pay different prices or limits access in different markets. These new players have changed that model, moving the expectations of the consumer market right into the industrial world. For those of us willing to adapt, the opportunities continue to grow, for those who look the other way or feel that it is a temporary fad, they may find some tough challenges in the future. For our customers, there are many distributors who will sell them our products such as a PN series plastic NEMA box. The customer’s choice will be the one that meets their needs and makes buying easy that will win every time.