甜水 CEO:乐器行业需要“中间商赚差价”吗?

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作者: 飞飞

作为北美第一大、全球第二大乐器电商(查看全球乐器电商排名),音乐行业的厂商和琴行应该对“甜水”Sweetwater 不陌生,音乐人和发烧友也常逛“甜水”对比国外价格或找香港朋友代购。

其实这家互联网乐器电商巨头并不年轻,创立于 1979 年,CEO 一直是创始人 Chuck Surack,今年 61 岁,掌管 Sweetwater 近 40 年,作为 1997 年印第安纳州年度企业家,他拥有近十家公司,包括豪车公司、直升机公司、保险公司和投资公司。

近日 Chuck 大老板有点不满

在《MusicTrade》发表文章

开怼 “厂家直销”

有 Apple Store 的成功案例做榜样,十年来乐器行业从巨头到新锐小品牌都做起了直销(在中国,厂商也纷纷做起“天猫旗舰店”),这对传统的分销方式是个挑战。

当然小琴行是不敢怼厂商的

只有零售巨头敢惹一下


我们光速翻译 Chuck 的原文 :

《厂家直销的消极面》

“In recent months, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend of certain manufacturers selling their products direct to end-customers, bypassing the “traditional” rep/dealer chain. I have deep reservations about this trend, not just for its impact on my company, Sweetwater, but also for all retailers, reps, manufacturers, the m.i. industry, and the end-customers we serve. This is a practice that we must address now. Most of the 5,000 or so retailers have elected not to create their own private labels to compete with the manufacturers; it is a slap in the face for manufacturers not to offer us the same respect.”
“近日我注意到了厂商直销的趋势,他们抛弃了传统分销,我对此保留意见,不光为我的公司,还为整个零售行业、分销商、厂商、乐器行业和终端用户。业内 5000 多个零售商选择不生产自有品牌(与厂商竞争),厂商却没有给我们同样的尊重,真是啪啪打脸。”
“It’s no secret that sustained success in our industry is built on relationships and loyalty. Those two powerful words reflect strong fundamental values. If having an “Add to Cart” button on your site garners you a few sales, but ultimately strays from those values and damages or destroys relationships and loyalty among your retailers, is it really worth it? Trust matters.”
“我们行业的成功取决于【关系】和【忠诚】,这俩词是强大的基本价值,如果你们网站的 ‘添加到购物车’ 按钮能带来更多销售、但破坏了我们的关系和忠诚,这值得吗?信用很重要。”


“The key to its success is that everyone has their area of expertise and can focus on doing that job well. The manufacturer designs and builds high-quality products, often with input and feedback from retailers who are constantly interfacing with end-customers. The retailers focus on selling the products, which includes marketing, proactive sales outreach, order fulfillment, after-the-sale support, repair, returns, and so much more, all of which leads to a great customer experience.”
“成功的关键是每人都有自己擅长的领域,并聚焦于自己的工作。厂商负责设计和生产高质量的产品,并获取零售商与客户互动后的及时反馈;零售商聚焦于销售产品,这包括市场推广、促销、售后支持、维修、返厂等等,这能带来很好的客户体验。”


Putting up a website with an “Add to Cart” button is just one tiny part of providing a customer experience. Good retailers know this and work hard to do what manufacturers are not set up to do: deal effectively with end-customers. Good retailers are intentional about every aspect of a sale, from confirming the order to getting the item shipped quickly to following up after the sale. Plus, retailers are uniquely qualified to assemble, quote, and sell systems and packages, whereas individual manufacturers cannot adequately service this need at all—and selling direct completely undermines this massive market opportunity.
“在网站加上 ‘添加到购物车’ 对客户的体验经销很小,好的零售商深知这一点,并努力去做厂商们不擅长的:与客户高效成交。销售的步骤有确认订单、快速发货并跟踪物流,另外零售商尤其擅长促销、设计套装和音频系统,这是厂商做不到的,直接销售单独产品就忽视了巨大的市场机会。”


“Pretty much every manufacturer we challenge about selling direct says, “It’s such a small part of our business, it doesn’t even matter.” That statement alone proves that the manufacturer has no idea what they’re doing. A good retailer knows that every single customer matters. Every interaction matters. Every experience the customer has can go viral—either positively or negatively. But beyond that, if it doesn’t matter, then why do it at all and risk losing customers and dealers?”
“很多挑战我们的直销厂商都说 ‘这只是无关紧要的小业务’,这说明厂商不知道他们在做什么,好的零售商知道每一个客户都很重要,客户的每次体验都很关键(包括积极与消极),说实话如果你们觉得不重要,为什么要冒着失去客户和零售商的风险呢?”


“When a manufacturer chooses to blindly discard this partnership, everyone loses. I can assure you that here at Sweetwater, we are closely monitoring which manufacturers are choosing to go direct and will be making quick decisions about the lines we will be carrying and supporting based on that. I encourage all of the more than 5,000 retailers in our industry to take a close look at which manufacturers are supporting you and which are choosing to compete with you, and to decide who you will support accordingly.”
“如果有厂商选择无视这种关系,我保证我们 Sweetwater 会密切注视厂商的一举一动,并以此决定我们合作的投入,我也建议业内的 5000 个零售商密切留意 —— 那些厂商支持你、哪些厂商与你竞争,这样你就知道你要支持谁。”


我们总结下 Chuck 的观点 :

• 厂商抛弃我们,宝宝委屈

• 咱做零售 (比厂商)更专业

• 哪个厂商敢直销,你等着

最后一句怎么画风突变..


Chuck Surack 并不是说着玩儿,小编注意到很多品牌已经从 Sweetwater 下架了,这包括 Gibson,其型号在甜水已剩不到 100 个(Fender 还有上千个型号在售),而像 Antelope 这些小品牌直接就全线下架了。


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零售的趋势 ?

~~ ———————— ~~

很难相信甜水的老板这么说

毕竟他们是时代受益者

Sweetwater 曾经是“实体店”琴行的最大颠覆者,靠一家实体店店做到全球 No.3 的乐器零售商,它其实还是“总代理 + 零售”模式的受益者,厂商都愿意直接给甜水供货,逼得业内最大的总代理 JAM Industries 今年都被收购了。

其实甜水还开创了乐器电商的内容模式,当年挖到《Keyboard》和《EQ》的主编 Mitch Gallagher 来做“inSync”频道的内容和网上视频,这带来了极大的流量。

可以看出 Chuck Surack 的眼光确实不一般,而且执行到位,这让公司始终保持高速增长,他可能已经知道将来几年会发生什么,不过说的内容并不重要,关键是什么时候说(先解决现在的问题,以后可以改),说给谁听(《MusicTrade》的读者都是谁)。

毕竟Sweetwater 也有不做的

对比欧洲乐器巨头 Thomann

甜水没有做自有品牌

(Thomann 的品牌叫“t.bone”)

对比美国第二大电商 SamAsh

人家 1980 年就做“Samson”了

Chuck Surack 也可以做自有品牌,但品牌建设很慢,解决不了当前问题,现在急需解决美国电商增税、吉他业务下滑、以及中美贸易战的压力,他们也在焦灼等待 2019 年 1 月 1 日的关税结果


厂商这边压力也大

Gibson 老板曾痛骂零售商

最后他也被炒鱿鱼了..

网上直销的销量对厂商确实不重要,但厂商要了解市场并不能寄希望于零售商,一方面是信息天生容易失真、一方面是零售商无法专一,又不能把 Gibson 的销售数据告诉 Fender... 一方面又涉及甜水和其他厂商的商业机密..


没有人可以看到未来,但可以确认的是——传统的零售方式一定会逐渐跟不上时代,第一代电商正在变成传统企业,而现在线上线下结合的“新零售”也不会是以后的终极形态,2050 年的全球乐器巨头也许现在还没出生。

2019 年的经济应该会持续低迷

各行各业的大戏还正在酝酿中

作为观众, 我们很期待啊..