Blog Post - Tim Reay, Nov 20 2015

Deliver digital and reap the rewards

Deliver digital and reap the rewards

Wholesalers are actually extremely well suited to an ecommerce offering. Large product ranges, complex and varying pricing models and differing payment methods are all difficult to execute in physical stores where any number of different customers walk through side by side. Transport yourself into ecommerce and you can offer customers an infinite range whilst highlighting their regular items; personalised pricing and payment information, and targeted advertisement into the deals that may be of interest to them.

The most important thing for wholesale retailers to consider with multichannel commerce is to apply it to the basics of their business:

  1. Understand your customers and attract new ones – ecommerce allows you to offer your customers tailored and personalised experiences. By adopting tools to translate customer information into strategies and campaigns that anticipate individual customer behaviour, retailers will be able to deliver a great online buying experience and help keep existing customers whilst attracting new ones.
  2. Retail basics – Even within ecommerce, retail is still retail and the basics of it are as important as ever. The best online experience can be destroyed by poor service of fulfilment. The majority of failures in ecommerce result from a failure to recognise this so when developing your online business, do not neglect the core retail processes that will execute it to your customers.
  3. User experience –Just because you are targeting business customers does not mean you need to make your website look like a 1980s ordering system. Learn the lessons from B2C best practise and apply those with your B2B industry expertise.
  4. Business strategy –What is your range breadth, what are your pricing and payment variations, what are your international ambitions? Understanding your current and future needs before you enter the market will allow the selection of technology that enables your ambitions cost effectively. For example, if you plan in five years’ time to be operating in 10 countries with a 100k product catalogue and offering differing pricing models based on customers’ size of business with you, ensure you select an ecommerce engine that supports multi-language, multi-country, personalised pricing models within the same core ecommerce engine and not one which requires a different architecture for each country you operate it.
  5. Look beyond your immediate industry – Wholesalers who purely observe the actions of immediate competition are unlikely to lead their market, just follow it. By identifying the retailers who are able to be successful through ecommerce, across industries, observing the key characteristics, capabilities and partnerships that create success, wholesalers can then map these back to their market and implement them within their company. Ultimately it’s not about beefing up ecommerce efforts in isolation. This is not a project or a trend, but rather an integral part of the future of business and wholesalers need to embrace it to ensure they continue to be successful. Those who don’t adapt risk losing out to digital-savvy competitors and an ever growing army of suppliers who are looking to supply goods direct to consumers through ecommerce. Retailers need to embed ecommerce and omnichannel retailing into the DNA of their organisation to truly reap the rewards it can offer them and their customers.