The shift toward digital poses a threat to the vitality of distributors’ role within the supply chain (especially if they are not evolving alongside these changes).
With a $6.6 trillion opportunity —and their staying power— at stake, distributors need to pay attention to how the commerce ecosystem is changing around them and get ahead of it (or, at the very least, keep pace with it).
In this blog, we will explore why and how distributors must adapt to an increasingly digitized supply chain:
How E-Commerce Can Become Distributors’ Golden Opportunity
Distributors are currently at a crossroads: redefine your roles, services, and value proposition, or be replaced by the innovators who will. Most distributors have already caught on. Data from B2BecNews shows that two-thirds of distributors do have a B2B e-commerce site, and most plan to use it to continue to grow online sales and traffic:
Still, while e-commerce is obviously becoming a priority for distributors, it’s not necessarily a direct path to a revitalized and future-proof value proposition. Distributors’ approach to digital must be tactful and strategic. Read on to learn how.
Tips to Tackle the Distribution E-Commerce Landscape
- Get Both Pricing and Service Right: Online customers want an even stronger customer experience, omnichannel strategy, and more support throughout the full buying journey (as well as the best deal or lowest-priced offer). Here’s your first tip: don’t just offer what customers want now; anticipate how digital will change their needs and react accordingly.
- Use Online Channels to Make Offline Processes More Efficient: Distributors can add even more value to their online customer experience by reducing the manual resources required to make and process these sales. Tip #2: Don’t get pressured or bogged down by digital-only strategies: a blend of online and offline touchpoints, executed together, tends to work best.
- Future-Proof Your Approach: As the distributor market becomes even more digitized, current markets are likely to become more robust, and new markets that were previously too expensive to service will come into reach. Here’s tip #3: When you adopt your digital strategy, leave some bandwidth to grow and scale your business and processes as needed.
What Does This Mean for Digital Distribution?
E-commerce isn’t a death-sentence-in-waiting for distributors (as long as you maneuver change the right way). Distributors who embrace digital are actually likely to see huge benefits as spending increases for omni-channel customers (and many are already seeing success).
Or for a more high-level view, check out our free PDF infographic now on digital transformation trends for distributors.