Distributors must maintain the flexibility of digital commerce


Since the COVID-19 pandemic, e-commerce has grown in importance for distributors as it has dramatically increased the number of B2B buyers who prefer to buy digitally, according to preliminary results of the Digital Commerce 360 ​​Distributor survey and Wholesaler Digital Commerce.

As the growing number of digitally focused customers creates new opportunities for online sales and ways to interact with buyers, it also creates new challenges for distributors, especially those who rely primarily on retailers. non-digital sales channels to interact with buyers to drive sales.

To better understand the challenges that distributors face in e-commerce and their plans to grow their e-commerce sales channels, Digital Commerce 360 ​​interviewed distributors on a variety of topics, ranging from their readiness to leverage growth opportunities presented by electronic commerce. their e-commerce priorities for 2022 and how much they plan to spend on e-commerce technology in 2022. The full investigation and analysis will be published in the upcoming 2021 B2B Distributor 300 research report.

When it comes to being fully prepared to take advantage of e-commerce, less than a quarter of retailers surveyed say they feel fully prepared. When asked to rate their readiness on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being fully ready, 21.7% said they were fully ready to take advantage of the growth opportunities offered by e-commerce. . At the same time, nearly 40% of distributors gave themselves high marks for their e-commerce readiness, but said they still have some work to do before they become fully e-commerce ready. Of the distributors surveyed, 17.3% rated their readiness as 8 and 21.7% rated their readiness as a 7.

One of the biggest challenges retailers face today – and will continue to do so in 2022 – is adapting to and innovating around the new standard. Therefore, distributors must reinvent their core value-added services and anticipate and respond to the needs of their customers, Caroline Ernst, vice president, Ecommerce Solutions, for Affiliate Distributors, an association that told DC360 – B2B, told DC360 – B2B. serves more than 850 independent distributors and related companies. This year.

When it comes to reinventing their core services, distributors need to consider how they organize events and deliver services remotely, how they provide contactless pickup, like online purchase and branch pickup, how they promote the growth of e-commerce for the convenience of the customers and how they serve the customers via the permanent digital channel with technologies such as online chat.

“Distributors thrive by anticipating and then responding to the needs of their customers,” says Ernst.

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