E-Commerce: A Goldmine for Wholesalers and Distributors
Buying habits and environment has drastically changed over the past few years. Customers are indeed getting incrementally comfortable in buying online. Of course, millennial generation, constantly using electronic devices and surfing on websites or social media has had a considerable impact regarding that market change. Consequently, wholesalers and distributors must address their new business environment by shifting to e-commerce to sell goods to businesses (B2B): “US B2B e-commerce sales are expected to reach $ 1 trillion by 2019" (Source Wholesale E-Commerce: 6 Objectives You Must Consider).
Trends in E-Commerce for Wholesale Suppliers
More Products Are Purchased Online
Online multiple-channel customers are likely to buy more products and more often than a traditional offline buyer on a single-channel. According to Forester, 60 % of B2B companies have reported that customers bought more online than offline(Source B2B E-Commerce: The bullet Train for Today’s Wholesale Distributors). It is in fact easier to customize services on an e-commerce platform, which leads to more loyal customers.
Customer Satisfaction is Now a Cornerstone For Businesses
Consumers are now empowered by information. They can compare products between websites and educate themselves for any purchase they can achieve with only one click, anywhere at any time. Plus, online commerce competition is strong. Therefore, it couldn’t be a better time for a wholesale and distribution business to ensure total customer satisfaction by providing a satisfying purchase experience “real-time visibility into product inventories, pricing, and shipping status, faster order delivery, less calls to customer service centers will all lead to a better customer experience” (Source Wholesale e-Commerce: 6 Objectives You Must Consider).
Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Customer (B2C) Buyers Have The Same Behavior
As customers already buy online in their everyday life, they are seeking for the same experience when purchasing on behalf of a company. They are indeed looking for a user-friendly website meeting the standards they are used to when purchasing at home: “Distributors therefore have to provide an equally great B2B e-commerce experience for customers with the ability to take orders 24/7 and provide customers with access to real-time inventory otherwise they will lose their business” (Source 5 Emerging E-Commerce Trends in Distribution, Pt. 1). Needless to say, millennials fall within this category of customers.
As approximately 80 % of adults are smartphone users (Source B2B E-Commerce: The bullet Train for Today’s Wholesale Distributors), an e-commerce platform ought to be optimized for mobile devices. Customers can indeed save time as they get a direct access to their wholesalers’ website, leading to loyalty. Either for B2C or B2B, your clients still want to buy anywhere at any time and you can achieve it by using a mobile e-commerce platform.
E-commerce Benefits for Wholesalers and Distributors
Growing the Business
Online business enables wholesalers and distributors to grow their business by reaching new market on an international scale. We are no longer living in a world where market is geographically defined. As a matter of fact, you will encounter some issues such as the language barrier, currency or taxes, which can easily be solved with an integrated solution.
Nurture Your Actual Customer Relationships
Nowadays, retaining clients is as much important as extending the reach of new prospects. As you can follow your customer’s interests and preferences on an e-commerce platform, you can offer them discountscross-sell and up-sell opportunities, based on their earlier purchases.
Time is money, so stop uselessly consuming it. Wholesale e-commerce leads to cost savings as there are no longer manual order entries nor errors from sales orders which can be time consuming. “According to a research survey of 203 large organizations (with 1000+ employees) by Market Dynamics, 53 % of companies reported manual processing of paper order forms, and that the average time to handle the paperwork associated with a single sales order (from receipt through to archiving) is an incredible 51.4 hours (that’s more than 1-person week!) (Source Wholesale e-Commerce: 6 Objectives You Must Consider).
As a result, you need to get organized in order to properly meet your customer’s needs and be efficient. Indeed, having a unique view of customers, orders, items and inventory on a real-time platform is a key to success in the e-commerce world. By automatizing your processes, you are then able to add e-commerce capabilities and increase your revenues by enhancing your customers’ satisfaction. Without implementing any proven solution, you encounter risks such as:
Ineffective inventories utilisation;
Difficulty expanding into multiple channels;
Inefficient order processes and inaccuracies;
Order orchestration and inventory visibility issues;
Manual processes that cannot scale.
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