Could selling Access Control Products online cost the trade?

As a company owner I take my responsibility to protect the access control industry seriously. I may not be the industry’s Batman but often it’s worth being someone who will rattle cages and look after my equivalent of Gotham.

Now and again, an installer who has never bought from me before will say something like, ‘I can get [this product] cheaper from [this website]’. I politely thank them for their enquiry and close the call however when I put the phone down I ask myself why they’d buy from a company that shows them no loyalty?

A company that would sell the same product to their customer for the same price, ultimately causing them to lose out in the long run.

Call me old fashioned, but I think there’s something heroic in supplying products at trade price to trade only.

The only customers gaining access through my front door and buying at trade prices are trade customers, and here’s my reasons why:

1. Who am I to take away someone’s livelihood?

If Joe Public can buy a keypad at the same price as my installers can then I’m taking precious margin away from them.

2. It’s the circle of life

Our industry relies on every person playing their part. Manufacturers manufacturing, Importers importing, distributors distributing and installers installing. Interrupting the supply chain ultimately means someone loses out.

3. A hero can be anyone

I’m all about aligning with my customer’s business goals and helping them grow. If I sell my products to whomever walks through the door, I’m no longer supporting my customers. Instead I’m supporting my bottom line and no one ever became a supplier of choice by looking out for themselves.

4. I support customers that support themselves

Our customers know that they could probably find the occasional item cheaper elsewhere but there are a few things that are more important to them like peace of mind that they’re installing products that are legally compliant, the offer of technical support via telephone 24hrs as required and supporting a company thats protecting their industry and customers.

5. It’s risky business

Our industry is supposed to protect people and property. Potentially buying from websites that sell to anyone could put those precious things at risk.

When thieves (and those with less than favourable agendas) can buy our industry’s products, we open the proverbial door for them to get to what we are trying to protect in the first place. Those in schools, care homes, and hospitals.

Some of our most vulnerable are in these places and we owe it to them to keep them safe.

I appreciate we all have to make our living, however if you do this via online sales then maybe the time has come to help protect the industry and ensure trade pricing is only available to the trade. A simple vet of customers and secure logins is a good step in the direction of protection.

So distributors and installers, you either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain. In the meantime, I’ll be standing where I belong; between online sellers and the people of Gotham.

PS. If trivia is your thing and you correctly identify the number of Batman quotes in this article there’s free carriage on your first order over £100.

Call 01604 930 030 and ask for me or put out the bat signal.

I’m counting on it.