In the past, distributors strictly dealt in B2B sales. This meant shipping in large quantities less often. Today, however, the trend is moving toward distributors shipping directly to consumers, turning their business from B2B into B2C. This is a major change for distributors and requires them to perform a restructuring of their business as they know it, including the need to add eCommerce.
The purpose of eCommerce for distributors is to give the distributor’s customers the ability to obtain real-time inventory checks, as well as pricing. This also eliminates the risk of incorrect ordering, ordering products that are out of stock or quoting the incorrect price. Overall, this means the distributor’s customers will have a more pleasant experience, which will make them become a loyal customer now and in the future.
One of the main benefits of adding eCommerce to a distributor’s business is the ability to be open 24/7, 365 days a year. There is no need for employees to be available for a customer to place an order. They simply place the order on their own through your eCommerce system. In addition, this allows distributors to reach more customers globally because they are not restricted to the customers whom they have targeted on their own. Essentially with the right eCommerce tactics, more companies will find your distribution company and become potential customers.
It might seem overwhelming to begin an eCommerce project within your distribution company when you have used the same tactics for many years. Creating the perfect eCommerce plan requires distributors to discover the competitive advantage they will have over others in the industry and capitalize on that. You also need to determine just how to create all channels of your eCommerce business to work as one system. Having separate systems throughout your company only creates more work and leaves room for more errors.
The customer expectations should also drive how you create your eCommerce project. Customers expect their products now; they are not willing to wait for them. Customers also want the capability to order online or on a mobile device and to have their products delivered wherever they desire them to be sent. This requires distributors to not only be organized but also flexible when it comes to pleasing the consumer.
Because eCommerce is not going anywhere anytime soon and is actually predicted to increase greatly between now and 2015, distributors need to find the perfect method to add eCommerce to their existing business while incorporating all other channels involved. Your distribution center must be ready to react to please the customer, including shipping items overnight and providing real-time answers to all their questions. Finding the perfect balance between offering the ability to order your products online and keeping up with the demands it brings is a challenge all distributors should face in the near future.