2020 turned out to be a gruesome year for all of us. COVID-19 outbreak impacted the global economy.
The wholesale market suffered massively as thousands of manufacturing departments, distribution centers, and warehouses were shut down, production of goods stopped. No profits were generated and companies across the globe suffered.
Despite all the turbulence the wholesale industry faced this year, it’s now all set to find new opportunities to get back into the business.
With constant progression in B2B capabilities and technologies, we can predict 2021 is going to be a big year for wholesale distributors.
Today in this article, we’ll discuss the top 5 Wholesale Distribution trends that will dominate the wholesale market in 2021.
Top 5 Wholesale Distribution trends for 2021
Omnichannel marketing, a new marketing terminology introduced in the B2B landscape used to provide buyers a better customer experience. The primary purpose of using this new marketing tactic is to enhance the buyer experience and provide consistent buyer satisfaction.
Compared to the multi-channel marketing approach, omnichannel marketing puts the customer at the core.
In 2020 a lot of B2B businesses have embraced omnichannel marketing. According to the statistics, 90% customers now expect consistent interactions across different channels. The statistics prove in 2021, this marketing strategy will become more relevant than ever.
The number of ways a consumer can communicate and engage with companies are increasing. If we go back in time, in 2005 an average customer used two touch-points while purchasing.
However, with omnichannel marketing, things have changed. Today, an average customer typically uses six touch-points.
Omnichannel marketing has a massive impact on customer retention. Wholesale distributors who embraced the omnichannel strategy have seen an increase by 91% in customer retention rates.
While this marketing strategy is now dominating the B2B market, currently there are more than 55% wholesale distributors who have still not adopted this cross-channel marketing strategy.
To stay ahead in this cut-throat competitive market, wholesale marketers should embrace this marketing strategy in 2021.
It is vital for a B2B business to provide a seamless and consistent customer experience across all the channels. This includes social channels, digital channels and physical storefronts.
International Trade and Global Expansion
Global trading trend in the B2B landscape has made leaps and bounds in 2020.
Thanks to the advanced technologies, enterprises are now all geared to adopt this trend to make trillions.
Many B2B businesses have already expanded their business overseas because customers are purchasing more internationally. This leads to the point that wholesalers need to focus more on digitalization in order to fulfill customers’ demands and acquire new customers.
They need to digitize their supply and buying chain workflows and implement the integrated cross-channel marketing strategies. When stepping into the international trading business, wholesalers should also streamline the cross-border payment technologies which they’re using.
In recent years, a shift has been observed in the behaviour of wholesale customers. They expect the same level of customer experience that B2C buyers get. This shift in their behaviour signifies, wholesalers need use the digital capabilities to plan and improve services level strategically.
Yi-Wei Ang, Director of Product at TradeGecko in a webinar stated, “As digital channels are opening, international brands are finding more opportunities to meet consumer needs outside of their home market.”
Online marketplaces such as Alibaba and Amazon business have already transformed cross-border trading capabilities for wholesalers and retailers. These huge marketplaces give the opportunity to small scale wholesalers to reach more number of customers to generate more sales.
Opting this new-emerging trading trend in 2021 will give more opportunities to B2B sellers to acquire new international customers easily.
Wholesalers who are still unaware of expanding business into global marketing trends need to adapt it in 2021 in order to stay ahead in the highly competitive B2B market.
Use of Artificial Intelligence
When wholesale distributors hear the term “Artificial Intelligence”, most of them think of Amazon. Indeed Amazon has taken the most advantage of this top-notch technology as 35% of its eCommerce revenue is generated through AI.
But it’s not the only one one who is making the most out of AI.
Previously, companies with only big size pockets had full access to AI. But now B2B companies of all sizes are taking full advantage of AI. In fact, all of us make use of AI on a daily basis, whether you’re talking to Bixby or booking an uber cab.
Basically, AI learns and analyzes from data, then it implements solutions to evaluate the obtained results. Over time the system becomes smarter. When wholesale distributors implement AI, they can easily create more intuitive, smarter and efficient processes.
Not only this but AI helps in streamlining supply chain which frees up employees and resources for planning other strategic activities. It can seamlessly take over all the warehouse operations such as, labeling, packaging, shipping, etc.
By using AI-driven technology, your sales team can easily identify which customer needs more time and attention. AI can also be used to recommend companion products to customers that may have forgotten to purchase or didn’t realize they have to buy it.
AI can reduce all the possible errors at maximum and make the purchasing journey more convenient than before.
The distribution industry was already transformed when the digital revolution took place. The Artificial Intelligence trend is all set to take the wholesale distribution market into new realms.
Stepping into the world of eCommerce
Nowadays, online shopping is quite popular among customers (B2C and B2B both). Most of the B2B sellers have already invested in eCommerce stores whereas the wholesale distributors took longer to settle in the eCommerce marketplace.
eCommerce platforms are becoming more accessible for wholesale buyers and distributors.
Previously wholesale distributors used to send physical catalogues of their products to their existing clients. Buyers used to examine products physically and then they used to place orders via phone or emails.
However eCommerce has seamlessly streamline this whole process(buying and selling).
Now wholesale distributors can make their product catalog available on their eCommerce store easily. Retailers or wholesale buyers can pick the needed item(s) and add it to their shopping cart.
Moreover they will also know the cost of their order before checking out.
Being available online can open thousands of new possibilities while making the wholesale buyer’s shopping experience more convenient.
Moreover, distributors can reach new audiences and expand their consumer base. Getting listed on B2B eCommerce marketplaces allow wholesale buyers to connect with wholesale distributors who offer the products they’re looking for.
Wholesale distributors who are looking for an eCommerce platform that is specifically designed to fulfill their wholesale business needs, B2BWoo is a perfect option for them.
B2BWoo is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms that is specifically designed for wholesales, distributors, and manufacturers.
B2BWoo is optimally built to meet the unique demands of your buyers and provide a frictionless shopping experience on your WooCommerce B2B eCommerce store.
All in all, using this modern business approach will enable B2B businesses to offer wholesale customers the same level of satisfaction and sophisticated services that B2C customers are getting from decades.
Inventory Management and Supply Chain Transparency
Wholesale distributors are now commonly implementing latest inventory management technologies to easily make data-driven trading decisions and efficiently handle business operations.
To stand out among competitors, B2B business should keenly focus on investing more money and time into a ‘Integration friendly’ inventory management system. Implementing this strategy allows wholesale distributors to collect accurate data which can facilitate them to make better business decisions.
It also eliminates the fear of ordering too few or too many products. Wholesale distributors use inventory management systems because it can be easily integrated with other business softwares like shipping software, accounting software, multiple eCommerce stores etc.
Talking about supply chains transparency, George Schildge, CEO at Matrix Marketing Group stated in one of his interviews, “Most supply chains are complex and lack transparency.”
Up to an extent the statement is quite accurate. However in the past few years, supply chain transparency has become a popular trend among wholesale distributors.
As today consumers want to know everything. They want to know whether they’re spending money on high-quality, authentic and fortified products that live up to their business standards.
Currently, wholesalers are working to increase supply chain transparency so they can build more trust in consumers.
Moreover, COVID-19 has made the need of the supply chain to be much more apparent than before. Supply chain transparency is a critical trend that every wholesale distributor must follow to discern and mitigate the impact of global economic crises.
Since, the virus is still out there and the situation is pretty much similar, this trend will dominate the wholesale market in 2021 massively.
2020 was full of ups and downs, but we all survived. Thanks to God for that.
Though the wholesale market suffered in 2020 but now it’s finally time to look ahead. All these wholesale distribution trends we’ve discussed above are born out of the desperate need to survive in the market in such severe economic crises.
To get into business and strive in this highly competitive market, every wholesale distributor must follow these trends in order to survive and stand out in the market.
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