Wholesale is going online – don’t get left behind
Embracing the internet as a route-to-market can make the difference between success and failure for wholesalers, according to a Maginus report on the changing face of B2B commerce.
The whitepaper, entitled ‘Wholesale in an Online World’ considers winners and losers in a sector steadily under-pressure as brands increasingly go direct to their end-consumers. It demonstrates that being online is a key differentiator for the winners, and identifies many key strategies and essential considerations for online B2B success.
Leading multichannel consultant and author of the report, Chris Jones, said: “You probably booked your last holiday online, quite likely those books you bought to read on the beach were downloaded not printed, and you chose your holiday outfit on your tablet. It’s increasingly impossible to sustain the argument that when you then enter your work environment you simply leave the online world behind.”
The Maginus report demonstrates the risks of resisting the inexorable march of the internet and illustrates the opportunities a successful online B2B offer can create, using several case-studies. These include the UK’s leading wholesaler of security products, Aldridge, a Manchester-based firm who report that e-commerce now represents a third of sales and is growing at over 30% per annum, since launching their proper e-commerce solution in partnership with Maginus.
The report considers what B2B can learn from more familiar B2C e-commerce, but focuses especially on addressing critical differences: contract pricing and price-transparency; complementing not replacing the personal relationship, so essential to sustaining and growing a B2B client base; delivering services and not simply selling. Borrowing the slogan from another successful wholesaler, RS components, it shows how successful online B2B is all about e-commerce with a human touch.
Mark Thornton, eCommerce director at Maginus added: “The analysis supporting the whitepaper reveals several common requirements that motivate wholesalers to review their online strategy – namely; improved customer satisfaction via account management portals, to increase average order size through multichannel relationships, support remote workers and customers by providing mobile ready solutions and to derive efficiencies by enticing smaller customers online.”