The Risk of Being First
The Financial Times this week reported on consumer confidence stating that because of many factors, consumers are more cautious about spending money in the returning market.
The Financial Times this week reported on consumer confidence stating that because of many factors, consumers are more cautious about spending money in the returning market. This creates an unusual risk for product sellers in that there is a balance of innovation and time that otherwise wouldn’t be as important. We are an industry that likes to be first to market because of the highly competitive nature of our business. But in times like this, it is not always good to be first.
Certain products have risen to the top of our market’s demand as businesses advance their delicate reopening procedures and consumers carefully enter back into the mainstream. These products include face masks, hand sanitizer, sterilization products, and other personal hygiene items. The fascinating consideration with these products is that they are not ones that were in high demand before this global pandemic. This means that our supply chain had scarce resources in the beginning and many of our industry’s suppliers didn’t carry these product lines at all. Many of them quickly adapted by adjusting their manufacturing process to include these critical goods. The challenge is that within innovation, as the timeline decreases, the risk for error during early adoption increases.
These risks include products that are irregular, misinterpreted product descriptions, and even certification and compliance errors. There have been distributors who have received several samples of products from a supplier and each product is vastly different in design, for example. This has to do with the innovation process itself. While most products are carefully adopted, consumer tested, delicately described, and steadily introduced, the demand associated with the pandemic caused these steps to be sped up if not eliminated altogether. Distributors who were the first to market with these new innovations accept the risk of having order errors or even risk the potential for misleading customers.
In a market where consumer confidence is already precarious, any error can prove extremely costly. So, what is the best solution?
In this very unique case, it is best to not be first. Something that AIM Smarter as a global brand prides itself on is knowledge distribution and supply chain accommodation. As an organization, we take the information shared from various resources and use that to make the AIM supply chain more effective. What we have learned through this process is that products must be vetted more than ever. There are still many opportunities for error, but as the innovation process in the industry continues, we want our distributors to have the knowledge to be effective early adopters without the undue risk of being first. The demand for these and other emerging products will only increase. But as time progresses, the supply chain will become more confident and that confidence will help build a more skilled industry.