The worldwide wholesale B2B industry is valued at $7.7 trillion. Think about that for a second. As a decision maker in this highly competitive industry, you cannot underestimate the importance of staying at the forefront of technological innovation and change, especially when it gives you the opportunity to differentiate yourself from the competition and give your customers a best-in-class purchasing and fulfillment experience.
The biggest and most important development to impact this industry, undoubtedly influenced and inspired by the B2C sector (think Amazon.com), is B2B eCommerce for wholesale distributors. In fact, 80% of companies who have implemented B2B eCommerce solutions believe that B2C buying practices have changed the way in which their customers want to place business orders.
Digital Is The Future Of Wholesale Food
There was a time a few years ago when you could get away with a “wait and see” approach to B2B eCommerce for wholesale distribution. However, that time is long past and we know definitively that not only is B2B eCommerce here to stay, but it is the future of wholesale food distribution. By the end of this year, eCommerce penetration in wholesale food distribution is expected to reach 70%. The path to success in 2019 starts with B2B eCommerce, but it doesn’t end there - let’s find out why.
- 57% of the buying process is completed before a buyer engages with Sales
- 74% of buyers do some form of research online before making a purchase
- 93% of buyers want to complete their purchase online
We’ve all been there, some of us for decades, thinking that our old ways of doing things (e.g. taking orders by phone, text, and even fax!) are fine, and there’s no need to change our ways. The truth of the matter is, while these old ways “work”, they are inefficient - wasting both time and money - and error-prone.
Gaining A Competitive Edge
As is the case with any cutting-edge technology, the big players in an industry are always the first one to experiment with it, learn the ins and outs, and roll it out to their customers. Unfortunately for you, your biggest and fiercest competitors have not only adopted B2B eCommerce, but they are using it as a distinct advantage over you, putting you at significant risk of customer attrition.
US Foods launched its eCommerce platform over 5 years ago and is generating over $20 billion in sales through it. To get some more background on how they did it, don’t forget to download our free eBook on US Foods’ Secrets to Success.
As eCommerce technology becomes easier to use and cheaper to implement, even your smaller and more direct competitors are adopting it to streamline their operations and give their customers a best-in-class experience. The fact of the matter is, the efficiencies these systems create for sales teams, and the proven growth you can expect in terms of average order size and average frequency, more than make up for the costs.
The Modern B2B Buyer
We don’t even have to think as far ahead to the sales process to see how eCommerce can add value to your business. Put yourself in the shoes of a wholesale food buyer. They have to do their due diligence before entering into a new relationship, and in fact, as many as 89% of them are doing research online. What they’re looking for is whether or not a supplier has a business website where they can learn more about you. Do you have a digital catalog that is easy to browse and makes it easy to learn about and discover new products? Do you offer a mobile or online eCommerce platform, that makes it easier and more convenient for buyers to place orders?
Unless you check all the boxes, you may never hear from them, and never know how much business you lost without even knowing about it. Thankfully, all hope is not lost if you follow this B2B eCommerce implementation guide.
To succeed in the modern wholesale food distribution industry, you need more than just a stellar reputation. Find out why a mobile eCommerce website is the first resource you need in your B2B eCommerce plan.
Say goodbye to pricey, bulky and outdated catalogs, and learn how digital product catalogs can help your sales reps, increase order size, and grow revenue.
Your sales reps are the driving force behind your company’s success. Why not leverage their skills by giving them a dedicated mobile sales rep app?
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