11th July 2016

How Wholesalers Can Keep A Competitive Edge In The Online Age

Extracted from the original post on LinkedIn by Tom West, Account Director

24 hour order fulfilment is now standard in wholesale distribution. The fulfilment clout of dominant industry players has caused consumer demand for speed to grow and intensify in recent years – and this expectation will continue to shape the industry.

The 2015 Wholesale Technology & Sales Trends Survey report found that 24 hour maximum fulfilment is the speed benchmark for wholesalers, which sets the bar pretty high. This would suggest that any wholesaler who fails to meet the new standard risks losing their competitive edge altogether.

Simply put, your clients won’t be prepared to wait for you if they can get faster, more efficient online service elsewhere. The solution for the wholesale market then is to digitize. To implement technologies that accelerate productivity and offer a smart customer experience. Once you’ve invested in the right tech, it becomes all about how to stand out in 24 hour fulfilment.

The customer of the digital age is resilient.

Thanks to a market saturated with similar messages and the general expectation of rapid change in services and products, it’s not enough to just shout about your great new solutions. You have to position yourself as a market leader in all things efficient fulfilment. You have to obtain the competitive edge in speedy service. But how, you ask?

Your answer: Through disruptive digital marketing.

Disruptive marketing is a highly targeted method, and strategically taps into changes in the market which can be capitalised on for growth or sustainability purposes. And in the case of wholesalers, it is digital disruption that's changing the dynamic of both B2B and B2C relationships.

Disruptive digital marketing is perfect for the rapidly changing face of wholesale and the technology supporting it, such as the digitized processes that allow for 24 hour fulfilment. You must first ascertain what the customer wants and then use messages that either challenge conventional thinking in an existing market, or that speak to an emerging market. One basic example would be to convince your customers that you've reshaped wholesale, adding that you deliver to their exact requirements.

Lisa Arthur, Forbes writer and data-driven business marketing expert states that 'disruption is a forcing function;' companies 'use it as the imperative to engage customers'. So, marketing experts develop strategies that effectively use the most market-relevant channels. For 24 hour ordering these channels will be digital, since digitization is at the heart of the fulfilment revolution.

It’s imperative that wholesalers develop a social media presence with a unique positioning. You have to sell yourself as a leader by going directly to users. Be part of their daily online interactions and you'll become synonymous with the online world, ease of access and of course – a 24 hour presence! Another method is to produce highly interactive digital content which both encourages consumers to engage with you, and positions you as the leading developer of wholesale innovation.

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