We’ve all heard it a million times before: you have to sell online!
However, for Prime Mover Workwear, the decision to resist online selling and carry on with a traditional business model makes perfect sense, more so now that its two largest competitors, Hard Yakka and King Gee have both moved to selling online.
Company Director Brett Birkill told Anthill that he doesn’t want to ‘cut the lunch’ of his over 2000 distributors. In old-school terms, these distributors are his ‘mates’ and he feels he owes them for helping him grow his own business.
“The livelihood of work wear retailers is threatened when you cut them out of the chain,” he explained. “My company would be nothing today without these retailers so I’m determined to continue supporting them. That means not selling direct to the consumer online.”
Preserving the physical shopping experience
There are benefits to the Aussie worker too. They may have to walk into an actual store to buy the Prime Mover Workwear gear but they will enjoy the good old physical one-on-one service and can still try items on before buying.
It is also worth noting that many buyers and wearers of work wear live in regional or remote areas in Australia where a sense of community is still very important and prevalent.
“We love the idea that Macka from Mildura or, Mitch from Manjimup, can still drop into the local work wear store and chat with the local owner. We’d hate to see those sorts of relationships ruined entirely by online shopping,” Birkill explained.
Don’t get it twisted though; it’s not that Prime Mover Workwear abhors the Internet like vampires do garlic.
Birkill revealed that they have undertaken online marketing including social media, producing online videos and more. “But that being said; the traditional distribution flow is the most effective for us. It’s a faster way for us to spread our product and at the same time manage end consumers.”
“Also note that many of our distributors are or have online businesses, so consumers can still purchase our products online, but not directly through us,” he added.
Why selling directly online is not always cheaper
One could argue that cutting out the middleman lowers the cost of the product on the consumer’s end, but Birkill is not worried about losing customers over price to his competitors who are selling direct to the consumer. “Just because you sell direct to consumers doesn’t mean you can sell your product cheaper.”
“Selling direct often results in other costs that must be factored into the price of the product, such as the cost of distribution to the ultimate end user and the cost of managing those consumers,” he said.
“You need staff to deal with returns, size exchanges, lost goods and the like. If your post sales service is lacking, you won’t hold onto your direct customers for very long. And even a cheaper price is forgotten very quickly once poor service and poor delivery set in,” he added.
Deserted retailers are still eager to do business
Brett also revealed to Anthill that as more and more companies move to online selling they are leaving a large void that was once saturated, but now is slightly rudderless and waiting for the next business or brand to fill the gap.
“We find so many retailers needing support from us, as their traditional suppliers are deserting them and cutting them out. Companies need to take a good hard look at what they are giving up by deciding to work against these so-called middle men.”
“Middle men can be a positive,” he said. “They really help with the business spread and development. Not selling online and using a distributor base can dramatically help with the spread of product so most products can benefit from this model.”
All in all, whilst selling online is clearly a growing phenomenon, Birkill says it is often the traditional business model that stays true.
“It’s an unusual business strategy in this ‘online world’ of ours, but I believe it’s one that looks after the values of Australian workers and mateship. Prime Mover continues to thrive and I want to enjoy this success with our reseller partners and ultimately workers across this great country,” explained Birkill.