At SAP, we increasingly hear from our customers about the threat presented by AmazonSupply in the Business-to-Business marketplace and how they are looking for ways to compete.  As a distributor, you should be asking yourself, “How can I make it easier for my customers to do business with my company?”

Most wholesale distribution companies sell through a combination of direct sales reps, dealers and catalogs and some may have brick and mortar stores.   All of these channels rely on direct relationships with customers and high levels of customer service.

Today, as many buyers do their research on-line and with a growing preference toward on-line sales, distributors need to continue to evolve their sales channels to compete.   With the addition of an e-commerce platform, online channels provide an opportunity to better market and promote products that are tailored to customer’s preferences.

It is time for wholesale distributors to aggressively leverage the capabilities of e-commerce if they want to effectively compete.  The ability to provide a pleasant user experience, acquire additional customers and effectively merchandise to customer needs increases significantly with the utilization of on-line channels.

E-commerce sites, search marketing, social media and e-mail marketing will allow distributors to evolve and compete for the attention of millennial buyers and ultimately make it easier to do business.

At a minimum, wholesale distributors should start with on-line catalogs that include custom pricing and detailed product descriptions, real-time inventory availability, competitive shipping rates, discounts for frequently replenished items, on-line support via chat and self-serve account functionality.

Distributors should also be considering search engine optimization and advertising to drive additional visibility and attract the business of rising technology savvy buyers.    Additionally, it is important for distributors to demonstrate product expertise and offer a high level of tailored support to their customers.

Are you making it easier for your customers to do business with your organization?

Join your competition in providing a multi-channel shopping experience that provides advanced personalization to deliver targeted content,
self-service and online order management tools with customer-specific catalogs and pricing.

Now is the time to make a bold move and invest in e-commerce.  To find out more about how SAP for Wholesale Distribution can help you compete, visit us here.

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2 Comments

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  1. Jelena Perfiljeva

    Michelle, good blog and good points, thank you for sharing!

    For me, as an individual customer, Amazon’s Achilles heel could be the customer service. You might see many complaints that they don’t really have an easy access to CS in case there is any trouble (there is no chat or 1-800 number posted openly). If everything goes smoothly, most customers probably couldn’t care less, but it’s like an insurance – you only notice it when you need it and then it’s very nice to have. 🙂

    Also Amazon’s pricing has become less competitive in the past few years and with many states (including my home NC) in the US now collecting sales tax on purchases it is becoming less and less attractive buying choice.

    Your blog reminded me of the ASUG webcast we had in April –

    Network’s Next Generation E-Commerce Web Store with Real Time SAP ERP Integration. There might be a recording available on the ASUG website. I’m not in any way affiliated with the vendor but really enjoyed their demo and believe it would be of interest to the wholesale companies in particular.

    Thank you.

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    1. Michelle Schooff Post author

      Hello Jelena,

      Thakn you so much for reading and for your insightful commentary.  Your perspective on pricing was of interest to me.  It is great to hear from customers and I appreciate you reaching out.  Thanks, Michlele

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