May 31, 2023
Mike Franz wants small and mid-sized distributors to win more business in the e-com space. As founder and CEO of iNSUPPLi, the fastest-growing mobile app for sourcing industrial and MRO supplies, he believes that “the little guys” can beat goliaths like Grainger and Amazon all day long in the local marketplace––with the right tool. Jason chats with Mike about his app’s ability to forge B2B connections without compromising buyer or seller value, the shifting purchasing habits of younger procurement managers, and the merits of providing list prices upfront.
“I’ve worked for distribution; I’ve sold through distribution. I've seen the different sides,” says Mike of the career moves that lead him to create iNSUPPLi. “It started to become very apparent that there was an opportunity to democratize certain things.” Like consolidating data from end users, analyzing that intel for cost savings opportunities, and promoting the best options a la what travel search engines like KAYAK do for flights and hotel rooms. “[We] put together an easy-to-use product that shows end-users price and location from local distributors.”
iNSUPPLi offers smaller companies a hefty ROI in the digital marketplace: increased visibility. “The whole goal is to put eyeballs on those distributors because they don't have the resources or the expertise to develop their online presence,” Mike explains. His app subverts the costly pay-to-play SEO approach already dominated by the big players. Additionally, smaller distributors can use iNSUPPLi’s aggregate data and innovative marketing tactics to revive brand identity and boost traffic. “We're starting to see other forms of marketing and tech that can definitely speed up the SEO process,” Mike says. “We want to be on the forefront of that.”
As next-gen leaders take the reins, apps that align with their search habits and buying ethos will continue to gain traction. iNSUPPLi already has an advantage as it's mobile-based and hyper-local. “Buyers are getting younger; they go to a search engine to start their buying process,” Mike says. “Instead of [sellers] dealing with all this SEO and never showing up in search results, be on our platform. We help promote them to who is most like their biggest customer segment or opportunity, which is locally.”
Smaller distributors just gained a new ally in the competitive search-find-buy arena.
“So many of the small distributors, they do some sort of SEO, but they never rank on pages and they're never seen and, if somebody does a Google search, they don't get seen. So, we want to help promote the local distributors to the local folks.”
“How do you decide what keywords you're gonna dedicate and how much money you're gonna dedicate to cost-per-click advertisements on Google when you got 50,000 part numbers? It's just, what sort of ROI do you get back from that?”
“With a small increase of eyeballs on your website each month, that only raises your potential sales revenue, e-commerce, sales revenue, exponentially, quite literally, right? So, that's the advantage.”
“There's the expectation that the B2B buyer has now of B2C type of interactions, right? And to get going down that path, if you are putting up any sort of barriers or buying obstacles or price walls or, well, price walls is maybe a little bit different story, but if you're putting any up of those buying barriers, that is only gonna turn off the end-user, and they're gonna find it somewhere else.”
“What we really wanna do is to get people to the sites so they can understand the services and the solutions that these smaller distributors can provide, and that's where they take over and show their true value.”
Distribution Talk is produced by The Distribution Team, a consulting services firm dedicated to helping wholesale distribution clients remove barriers to profitability, generate wealth and achieve personal goals.
This episode was edited & mixed by The Creative Impostor Studios.
Special thanks to our sponsor for this episode: Moblico, helping businesses do more business on mobile devices.