Each year it becomes increasingly difficult to predict wholesale distribution trends that will emerge. The business landscape is consistently evolving and influenced by external factors. While it’s difficult, it’s not impossible. There are a few general trends wholesalers and distributors should consider planning for in the near future:
- Data-Driven Decision-Making
- The Continuing Rise of eCommerce
- Heightened Digital Transformation
- Advanced Customer Experience
Data-Driven Decision Making
In order to remain competitive in such a fast-paced environment, wholesalers and distributors can use reporting and analytics data to make informed and strategic decisions about inventory, pricing, and other areas of their operations. Automated reporting can additionally help a company better able to compete and increase customer loaylty, below are two examples.
- Have your system send you an email if a loyal customer hasn’t submitted their normal bi-weekly order, so you’re able to follow up. This simple email can help you maintain customer loyalty by creating a personalized and relevant experience for your customers.
- View a sophisticated dead stock analysis to see which products you should be trying to get rid of. This report can help you prepare for the future and can even help you expand your product line by creating kits with dead stock.
The Continuing Rise of eCommerce
Wholesalers and Distributors who are able to offer online ordering in a B2B capacity and/or B2C capacity will remain competitive in upcoming years. Online channels, especially when selling through multiple channels, gives businesses the ability to place orders at any time of the day, from anywhere in the world. When your eCommerce channels are connected to your back-end system, it allows salespeople and customers to view accurate inventory levels. In order to be well-positioned to meet the rise of this demand, having an online presence is essential.
Heightened Digital Transformation
We have been seeing fast developments in automation and this trend is expected to continue. Businesses can prepare for a digital transformation by developing a digitalization strategy that includes investing in the right technologies. These may include cloud computing or other emerging technologies. Collaborating with partners, customers and employees in new ways help to establish strong connections that businesses can leverage when navigating the challenges of a digital transformation. To remain competitive, companies must be agile and adapt to change quickly with minimal effects on business operations.
Consumers, businesses, and governments are increasingly putting pressure on businesses to reduce their carbon footprint and improve sustainability. Wholesalers can expect to see this trend increasing in demand and may want to consider incorporating sustainability into their business strategies. Some ways to become more sustainable include reducing your business’s energy consumption, reducing waste, and encouraging employees to walk, bike, carpool or take public transportation to work.
Another suggestion when incorporating sustainability into your business model, is sustainable sourcing. You decide where you purchase products from, and you can do the research to find suppliers and vendors who use recycled materials or practice an environmentally friendly production process.
Advanced Customer Experience
Competition is everywhere. With the accessibility of online shopping, consumers have choices and businesses must be on top of customer experience and loyalty. There are two statistics I want to share with you, one from the consumer side and one from the business side.
73% of companies with above-average customer experience perform better financially than their competitors.
96% of customers say customer service is important in their choice of loyalty to a brand.
These two statistics prove that an enhanced customer experience affects consumer loyalty AND increases revenue. Consumers are seeking out products and experiences that are tailored to their individual needs and preferences and wholesalers that can offer personalized and customizable products and services will have a competitive advantage.