The Amazon Asteroid: How Building Material Suppliers Can Compete

No matter where you look today, you’ll find Amazon’s influence.

Having surpassed Walmart as the largest retailer in the world in May 2019, Amazon has changed the game for consumers. It’s also drastically altered the e-commerce landscape for virtually every industry, and businesses that can’t adjust to today’s new, on-demand economy are being left in Amazon’s dust.

Some call this phenomenon the Amazon Effect; at GoFor, we call it the Amazon Asteroid.

What Is the Amazon Asteroid?

It’s the formula for many box-office hits: a large space rock is spotted hurtling toward Earth, threatening almost certain doom for everyone in its path. The powers that be are warned of its approach, and they’ve felt the effects of its wide-casting shadow, but there’s no way to stop it. Everyone braces for impact. In the movies, this story almost always ends with some intergalactic intervention that saves the planet from ultimate destruction.

In real life, and especially in the business world, many threats cannot be destroyed or eliminated.

To us, this type of inevitable, looming takeover feels very similar to the way Amazon is bearing down on businesses today. People recognize that Amazon is a clear, long-term threat and, in the business-to-consumer (B2C) world, many companies are furiously working to update their offerings with easy-to-use e-commerce sites, last-minute delivery options, and mobile support to stay competitive. Not everyone, however, has recognized the threat. Yet.

The Impact of Amazon on the Construction Industry

Until recently, Amazon’s business model has mainly disrupted the business of B2C retailers. What’s beginning to surface now is a more systemic, broad threat to B2B (business-to-business) companies, including those in the construction industry.

According to MDM’s list of 2019’s top 40 industrial and construction products distributors in North America, Amazon currently sits in the #4 spot, having taken in a whopping $6 billion in revenue in 2018. To compare, when the 2018 list came out, Amazon didn’t even make the top 40.

So how did Amazon make its move into the construction industry so quickly?

Although founded in 1994, it’s only been over the past few years that Amazon has gone from offering books and consumer electronics to selling absolutely everything from clothing to beauty products to — you guessed it — building materials and items geared toward home building and larger construction projects.

Much like Wayfair or Houzz, Amazon now sells everything for a build, right down to the toilets — and they’ll deliver it the next day or just in time for installation on the jobsite. Builders, designers, and contractors no longer peruse the aisles of Ferguson for faucets or call the hardware store down the street for construction supplies — they look to Amazon.

Why Amazon Is Successful — and How You Can Compete

Because of the seismic shift in consumer expectations, every retailer that wants to compete with Amazon must offer on-demand fulfillment and delivery, an e-commerce site that’s easy to use and accessible from all devices, and inventory that’s always available.

Larger retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s have started to adjust. They’re upgrading their consumer experience, investing in logistics, and even bringing on outsourced delivery companies to better serve their customers.

For smaller businesses with fewer resources and smaller staffs, this type of logistics overhaul can be more of a challenge. Fortunately, GoFor provides specialized services to help you compete with Amazon and other big-box retailers:

1. On-Demand Fulfillment and Delivery

As discussed in our last blog post, we live in an on-demand world. Customers want faster and more precise fulfillment — so manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers must be able to deliver the right goods fast.

With our comprehensive fleet of delivery vehicles, GoFor guarantees that we’ll get whatever you need delivered to its destination — whether you need it today or next Tuesday. We can also serve as back-up for your existing delivery service in situations when drivers are away or overwhelmed, or vehicles need repair or replacement.

2. Effortless E-Commerce

Consumers expect the best in digital tools, from easy-to-use apps and online payment portals to real-time status and tracking notifications. GoFor provides this service through our user-friendly app that’s accessible by mobile phone or desktop device. Contractors or suppliers can use the app to schedule a delivery from wherever they are — in a store, on the road, or on the jobsite.

The app also provides a dashboard with delivery status and detailed metrics around costs per delivery, so you can easily keep a pulse on business.

3. Cost and Inventory Management

GoFor provides all our customers with valuable insights and analytics in the form of transactional records, delivery data from individual routes, and movement information from each delivery vehicle in our fleet.

This type of data helps companies see a clearer picture of their operations and deliveries, so they can begin to piece together how much inventory they’ve been carrying, when they’ve been carrying it, and what inventory they need. These invaluable insights help businesses optimize their inventory and save costs along the way.

While the Amazon Asteroid is, undeniably, a scary reality for many businesses, it’s also forcing innovation in an industry where efficiency and productivity have been an issue for decades.

For long-term survival, retailers and suppliers in the construction industry must acknowledge the Amazon threat — and recognize this shift toward on-demand services as an opportunity to improve their logistics, optimize customer service, reduce costs, and, ultimately, improve their business for the long term. Partnering with GoFor can help.

GoFor Delivers Construction. To learn more and get an immediate estimate on your next delivery, visit us at

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