I hate traffic jams. Not too surprising, I know. Recently while crawling along A6 a group of teenagers were dancing on a bridge and waving at the cars below, generally entertaining everyone, spreading positive energy and putting a smile, not only on my face. While inching forward my mind started to wander and I tried to think of companies that managed to make me smile. Singapore Airlines and the team at the Erzherzog Johann Hotel in Meran / South Tyroly came to mind (no, I get no compensation from either of them), and a few others but it was a relatively short list.
With nothing else to do following that trail of thoughts, I was thinking that one of the big strengths that Wholesale companies have, is the close relationship with their customers. Many customers still prefer to place their orders to a sales rep or via phone, because they like this direct contact.
Now whether we like it or not, the world around us continues to change and so does our business environment. eCommerce and omni-channel business models continue to grow and replace more traditional sales engagements. This of course has several advantages and creates new opportunities. But, it also poses a significant risk for Wholesalers: while having to play per the new business rules they may not be able to bring their traditional strengths into the game. This set of rules plays into the hands of new competitors and pure eCommerce giants.
Wholesale companies must find ways to either compete within this new framework created by companies like Amazon or try to find a different approach that can still leverage the close relationship with customers created over decades; the intimate knowledge of products and markets and the ability to put a smile on their customers’ faces.
In the world of automatization, IoT and eCommerce this is not easy, but some Wholesalers are working on models, where they leverage these new technologies to expand their traditional engagement models rather than replacing them. These technologies can be a source of additional insight but also help reach new customer groups with streamlined offerings. For example Wholesale eCommerce can be more than a simple webshop and IoT can help deliver proactive services without eliminating the personal contact. As many of our innovative Wholesale companies prove, innovation does not mean, that you must abandon your traditional strengths but rather expand them with new possibilities.
What makes you smile?