Some distributors still rely heavily on direct relationships with customers and promote almost exclusively through inside and outside sales forces. Others have taken steps to post basic product listings and pricing online, but even that won’t sustain a distributorship for much longer in an age where online shopping and cheap shipping are the norm rather than the exception.
Without a doubt, wholesale distributors who are committed to evolving along with the industry must make wise investments now to modernize ecommerce and avoid falling too far behind the major forces rapidly reshaping the wholesale distribution industry.
New purchasing requirements - Purchasing departments are modernizing, and more often than not, require support for e-procurement from their suppliers. They also expect instant access to product availability and pricing based upon their specific discount levels.
Changing buyer habits – Whether at home, at work, or on the road, the way people research and purchase products is quickly evolving. Millennials in particular are more likely to shop online than dial a phone. That’s just one of many reasons eCommerce sales are expected to climb from $780 billion in 2015 to over 1.3 trillion by 2020.
Big competition – Amazon has recently aimed its massive eCommerce arsenal at the business, industrial, and scientific industries. This eCommerce giant is effectively shattering traditional regional distributorship boundaries.
In spite of the changes and challenges, even the smallest distributors can thrive. They just need to be nimble. Modern business-to-business eCommerce helps make that possible with customized storefronts, co-branding, and automated cross-selling. Plus, distributors can stand out from the crowd even more by providing e-procurement support, customer-specific pricing, smartphone optimization, and in-depth product information (for more about the significance of detailed product content, read our blog Meet Your Best Salesperson).
The overriding objective should be to create an eCommerce site that is an invaluable resource to both customers and salespeople. Think of the storefront as a relationship building tool. It actually enhances interactions between customers and salespeople because both groups have instant access to dependable product information and pricing whenever and wherever they need it.
The eCommerce21 platform from CPC is one of the few platforms developed specifically for the wholesale distribution industry. It provides the familiar retail eCommerce experience everyone is used to, but with the specialized B2B features required by distributors and their buyers. Be wary of the vast majority of off-the-shelf eCommerce products. Most were developed for retail eCommerce and don’t have the integrated B2B features that are required to be effective. It’s best to avoid the eCommerce applications provided by ERP systems as well. These obsolete systems don’t keep pace with the ever-evolving digital commerce world. Few platforms do, and of those that do, even fewer are affordable to small and mid-size distributors.
CPC isn’t just an eCommerce platform developer, we’re a one stop shop that has the expertise to provide detailed product content, sophisticated storefront interfaces, B2B expertise, ERP systems integration, and a roll out plan for smooth implementation. Learn more on our website at www.computerpundits.com.