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LIGHTFAIR’S Huge Crowd Learns of Commitment to Distribution

LIGHTFAIR’S Huge Crowd Learns of Commitment to Distribution

By Scott Costa, Publisher, tED magazine

Take a shuttle bus to LIGHTFAIR, and prepare to wait in a long line.

Register to get your name badge to get into LIGHTFAIR, and prepare to wait in a long line.

Arrive at the front entrance at LIGHTFAIR right as it opens each morning, and prepare to wait in a long line.

And forget about eating lunch at a table in the noon hour. Or the 1 o’clock hour for that matter. You guessed it: Prepare to wait in a long line.

Just so we are clear, there are a lot of people at LIGHTFAIR this year.

The crowds inside can be 3 or 4 deep to talk with manufacturers as distributors and contractors walk the massive Javits Center exhibition halls. They are seeing new lighting products that have been introduced last week, products that are being released today at LIGHTFAIR, and products that won’t be available until the first quarter of 2016.

I had some interesting conversations with the manufacturers, who were quick to tell me about their latest designs, their use of smart technology and how quickly end users would be able to re-coup their investment due to energy savings or zero maintenance. The products are innovative in their design and engineering. They look great. They are easy to use. I was very impressed.

But the question I really had for manufacturers was simple: How are you planning to get the products into the hands of all of these people? The answer, from Topaz to QSSI to Cree to Lutron to ReneSola to Hubbell to Keystone Ballast to Osram Sylvania to Halco to Maxlite is the same. They are all committed to the traditional supply chain. They are all committed to our distributors.

This is really great news for electrical distributors. The lighting manufacturers have great products. They want to sell them through you, which means you will be stocking great products to sell to your end users. That’s a really great situation to be in, especially when you consider all of the threats that are currently surrounding our traditional supply chain.

AmazonSupply is about to turn into Amazon Business. The platforms for manufacturers to create their own e-commerce websites are far too many to mention. But they still want you to sell their lighting products because they want your relationships with your end customers. And they want your product knowledge to help your contractors install all of this energy saving and state of the art lighting that is about to come to market.

Brian Donlon, Sales Vice-President at Lutron, said it best while we were talking. “We want to sell solutions,” he told me. “We don’t want to just sell products.” The point is, just selling these products without the support of the distributors to help with purchasing decisions, installation or job bidding services will do Lutron or any other lighting manufacturer no favors. They want you to know everything possible about their products and they want you to use that knowledge from the selling process and to answer any additional questions your end customers may have.

There are a lot of people here at LIGHTFAIR. There are probably an equal number of products. It’s now up to you to make sure to get all of the essential components together to create some real opportunities for success.


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