Mouser.com has increased its revenue by two billion dollars in the last two years! What’s their success mantra? Why do customers keep going back to them? What are they investing in, to keep growing? Is India important for Mouser? Why? What’s next? Quite a few burning questions, which got answered when Yashasvini and Rahul from Electronics For You met Mark Burr-Lonnon, Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Service at Mouser Electronics, during his recent visit to India. Key extracts…
Q. How would you define Mouser’s unique strength for its customers?
A. Our strength is in offering the newest products and working with small- to medium-sized customers to help them grow by getting the latest technology into the hands of the engineers who need them. We define New Products as those which are within 48 months from release to market, which is about 25% of our total inventory. We also put a lot of time and effort to make sure we have the widest range of parts for all our suppliers. So, this is not about the value of inventory or depth of inventory, but the breadth of inventory. When engineers are looking for parts, they want to go to the one source where they have the optimum chance of finding as much as possible. Plus, we have a motto that says, “Always do the right thing.”
Q. Can you shed some more light on the motto and how you handle its execution?
A. Our order accuracy rate is very high, but there are times when our customers make mistakes or we make mistakes. We try to fix such mistakes. For example, if the customer has gotten something by mistake that can be returned/exchanged, then we’ll send them the right part. It’s really important when you’re dealing with a customer to do the right thing. If we look after someone, they come back. So, we do our best to do the right thing to help them come back.
Q. How do you handle promotion of brands that sell competing stuff via your website?
A. We have some big suppliers and some small suppliers. When it comes to marketing, we do more with the big suppliers, because that’s where most of the revenue comes from and they often have co-op dollars that they want to use. However, if we have a new technology, and it could be a very small supplier who may be supplying only four or five items, or it could be a supplier who we’ve just signed up, and they have a groundbreaking new technology—we promote it because it’s something that engineers are interested in knowing about.
Q. Do you list a product only when it’s there in your warehouse, or is there an opportunity or a service for which you are also pre-booking orders?
A. We do take orders before the product comes into the warehouse. We won’t promote it though. The day the inventory hits the warehouse, the button goes off, and the marketing machine then starts to get into action. It is listed on the website and on the search engines. So, when someone’s searching for it, they can immediately find it. There’s nothing worse than a customer who gets excited about a new product but can’t buy it. We promote it when we have it in stock.
Q. We hear that there is some major expansion happening at Mouser. Can you shed some light on it?
A. We’re building a new warehouse and doubling our warehouse capacity. Currently, we have about a million square feet of warehousing. This is a footprint of about 450,000 square feet, but it’s going to be a mezzanine with three levels, totaling over a million square feet when finished. So that’s going to double the components we can put in the warehouse. In our business, inventory is king. Even during the past 12 months, we were fortunate to double our inventory and we plan to continue doing that. We currently have as much in the warehouse as we have on order. Despite the recent supply-chain issues, we have managed to increase a lot of inventory. The one thing that drives our business more than anything else is inventory. We can’t sell what we don’t have. If we don’t have the inventory, the marketing doesn’t matter, because the marketing drives people to the inventory. If the inventory is not there, the marketing is a waste of time. So, we try to make sure that we have the inventory, only then we do the marketing.