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You would be hard-pressed to find anyone in America who spends more time than Jim Robisch researching what pros and DIYers think of building material dealers. It used to be that The Farnsworth Group senior partner compared dealers with The Home Depot (THD), Lowe’s, and other big-box stores, and for the most part, he has found pros tend to like you more. But lately, Robisch has focused increasingly on internet competitors in general. And between what Robisch has learned about internet sales and what the big-box giants have been doing this year, the message is clear: Your lead is eroding.

In essence, these rivals are advancing because they are shoring up past weaknesses while simultaneously upgrading the web and e-marketing capabilities that appeal increasingly to customers of all ages.

Robisch, speaking in May at the Do it Best Spring Market, said the rivals’ improvements are making pro-oriented LBM dealers and retail-centric hardware stores look less valuable. Among all customers, his research firm has concluded, you’re viewed as having higher prices and less selection. Younger customers also are more likely to say you have a bad website and inconvenient hours.

Customers regard six factors as critically important, The Farnsworth Group believes. Of those, Robisch regards independent dealers as competitive in just two of them (having products in stock and a knowledgeable staff), merely adequate in two more (offering a wide variety of products and quick telephone assistance), and weak or vulnerable in the final two (competitive prices and an easy-to-use website). For another factor that’s moving up in importance—offering a variety of brands—Robisch regards dealers as adequate to weak.

Meanwhile, it’s not just Amazon that’s raising the bar. The Home Depot’s partnerships with Deliv and Roadie as well as its purchase of Interline mean it can provide same-day delivery of van-sized products to 70% of the nation’s population. A Home Depot delivery center using flatbed trucks and Moffetts will open in the Dallas market later this year. THD’s website for pros added 35,000 customers in the latest quarter, has 135,000 now, and expects to hit 1 million by year end. Sales to pros (a catch-all term for THD that also takes in maintenance people and amateur home-flippers as well as pro builders and remodelers) are growing faster than for the DIY customers. Website sales are up 23% from a year ago.

At the same time, Lowe’s suddenly has gotten a lot more interested in dealers. The company is reducing the number of times it’s out of stock, is staffing its pro desks with associates who work consistent hours, has recruited experienced outsiders to fill new regional pro manager jobs, and has dedicated staff just to load materials. It also opened 40,000 new pro accounts in its latest quarter.

Introducing flatbed trucks and assigning people to load pickup trucks might not seem like much, particularly if your biggest customers are tract builders. But most of America’s LBM dealers rely on the small builder, modestly prosperous remodeler, and robust DIYer to provide the bulk of their revenues. For those folks, when you add the big boxes’ service improvements to their internet advantages, longer hours, bigger footprint, and sweet financing terms, the combination will be a siren’s call to spend less time with you.