VARs: Make More Money With Bar Code Media Sales
Many VARs and integrators consider labels and tags a "necessary evil." However, two industry observers reveal how you can profit from these products.
Automatic identification and data collection (AIDC) VARs and resellers can increase their margins by turning relationships with existing customers into sales of bar code media.
Many resellers are content to sell AIDC hardware like bar code printers, bar code scanners and handheld computers, according to Gary Falconbridge, the president of BarCodes West, Label & Tag Division (Seattle, WA). However, many resellers don't sell bar code media like labels, tags and ribbons, Falconbridge says.
"Resellers develop relationships with end users after selling them printers or handheld readers," Falconbridge explains. "Once resellers make that initial sale, they establish a level of trust. So, it is much easier for resellers to sell customers labels and tags."
Tim Edwards, ADC market manager for Panduit Corp., agrees with Falconbridge. "Many resellers sell hardware, install it and then basically forget about customers until they need service. But resellers should take advantage of the fact that users know them by also selling consumables. Plus, the customer won't feel neglected when they need supplies."
Overcoming The Reluctance To Sell Consumables
Many resellers are reluctant to sell bar code media because they had a bad experience with it, according to Falconbridge. These bad experiences are often the result of resellers not having had sufficient training to sell labels and tags.
"Some resellers have had their reputation damaged because they sold a label or tag that didn't perform up to the user's expectations," Edwards says. "For example, the reseller may not have taken into account the user's environment, what the labels were going to come in contact with, or be adhered to. If the reseller doesn't consider those factors, their labels probably won't perform. When resellers unintentionally provide a problem, rather than a solution, their relationships with customers suffer. One bad experience can discourage a reseller from ever selling media again."
As a result, resellers should seek to establish partnerships with label and tag vendors that are willing to provide product training, according to Falconbridge. By being properly trained, resellers can avoid problems that result when the wrong label or tag is used in an application, Falconbridge says. "We ask that a reseller assign one or two to people to become experts on bar code media," he adds.
Falconbridge concludes, "Users only need new hardware every few years. They always need media."
Falconbridge adds that some media manufacturers now sell direct to users, as opposed to through VARs. Because of this increased competition, resellers also should attempt to develop expertise in a specific vertical market or application, he adds.