For those that have read my blog over the years, I’ve been critical of some vendors when they mess up. I also give a pat on the back to those that get things right. This week, it’s Clover’s turn. Here are the questions that Jim Cerkleski asked and answered: Is Clover more than just a manufacturer? And, what other products could our customers source from us to sell to their customers?
It’s a variant of the questions Jeff Bezos asked and answered with Amazon. Are we more than just an online bookstore? A quick look at my visa statement from last month answers that, and Jeff is now the richest guy on the planet.
An investor could look at Clover as a company in the unhealthy business of office print. Fair point. But what if their elevator pitch was this:
Clover is a multinational organization with logistics and manufacturing on four continents and over 5,000 B2B customers that source products from them on a monthly basis.
Does that sound better? It’s not just about how it sounds though. When Covid hit, many in the office print industry held a pity party for themselves. “What can we do? Offices are closed. Our customers don’t want to buy our products. No customers are printing in the office…”
Not Clover. They immediately turned their attention toward using their infrastructure to source, manufacture and manage hundreds of additional PPE SKUs through their supply chain. Less than 45 days into the pandemic, they were shipping an entirely new product segment out to their customers.
It’s your turn. What business are you in?
Do you view your customers as only interested in sourcing one product from you? This is not a small exercise! The most difficult thing in business is to secure a customer, then to secure that customer’s trust. Are you simply an office print company? Or, even more specific, an MPS or, an A3 Copier/MFP company?
The relationships you’ve built over years and decades with customers should not be limited to a single category of technology, which like all technologies will be supplanted by new products.
It may have been fine to stick to your print lane when business was growing, but that ship sailed over a decade ago. Time to pivot. Hard.