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How can independent dealers compete with Big Box analytics?

We’ve all heard the story of David and Goliath. Some of us have defined careers by the notion that courage and perseverance can allow us to perform feats that appear beyond our reach. The story teaches us that, for lack of a better term, all we need is a purpose, finely-honed expertise, and the courage to act and we can compete with far bigger entities on their playing field. But, what happens when that playing field is the manufacturer sales channel and big box Goliath has a team of economists and analysts telling him how best to avoid rocks slung his way?


The fact is, both the independent manufacturer-dealer network and the big box behemoth live in the age of data. The more data, the better the decisions that can be made from it. Data can be analyzed at any level given time and expertise. The problem of course lies in how little time and expertise the manufacturer selling through the Davids of the world can afford to divert to deep data analysis, even if the eventual prize is a greater foothold on how to win. That’s where I think we come in. Black Ink’s EyeOn platform and advanced analytics can help an Outdoor Power Equipment manufacturer, and David, be all they can be. While big box has data and analysis reviewed and derived by internal teams to aid their business decisions on a nationwide level, the manufacturer selling through tenacious OPE dealers can use our platform to do the heavy lift of time and expertise. That frees them up to continue their day-to-day with no interruption, but armed with the same kind of analysis the big box guys have to fine-tune decision making.

What kind of decision making? Well, the reality of business these days is that nothing is siloed. Nothing is quite by itself, safe from being affected negatively or positively by other variables beyond the control of the particular dealer or manufacturer. We may have gut feelings that say certain kinds of people, or certain kinds of professionals purchase certain products at certain times. We may even have some inkling of who the best of those customers are, and what they want. However, when businesses move at the speed of light through the world of data, inklings and gut feelings can leave someone behind the curve, or worse – incorrect. If we can help arm those businesses and their dealers with concrete analysis of, say, how specific weather trends and interest rate changes affect sales or, what key customer demographics their businesses are currently underserving, then they can action high- and low-level strategic decisions and reactions to what is happening in the regional economy and the industry at lightning speed.

The advantage here is not just that they can derive strategic decision-making power while saving time by outsourcing the economic, industry, and geo-demographic opportunity analysis to us, but also that they can get very granular- executing strategy dealer by dealer on a local level. It’s no secret that the independent dealer is more plugged into the local landscape, and able to give specific informed advice to their loyal first-name basis customers. So it makes sense that the manufacturer selling through them should have the ability to do what’s right and best for those localities. On the other hand- Big, as in big box, whether applied to a car, a jet, a boat, or an idea, by nature is not very quick to change direction, and not very maneuverable through changing landscapes (try driving an 18-wheeler through Boston and you’ll get what I mean).

This is how we can help David slay Goliath. Not with brute strength, size, or resources – but intelligent analytics and insights into David’s arena, that frees up his time and expertise to do what he does best – make informed, dynamic decisions on a local level to sell more of the right product to more of the best customers at the right time. Goliath won’t know what hit him.

By Denny Dow

Denny is the Customer Success Manager for BlackInkROI

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