Every business needs to be customer-focused, and this is just as true for wholesalers as it is for retailers. At the same time, the digital age has evolved to the point where the ‘customer experience’ has become all-important and wholesalers need to know their customers very well if they want to offer personalised services.
Wholesalers may not deal directly with the public per se, but they still have a customer base that needs goods and services source and delivered as efficiently as possible.
Luckily for wholesalers, they have no shortage of digital tools at their fingertips to improve every facet of their business, from internal staff training and management to supply chain optimisation and product delivery.
Digital technologies are the key
B2B commerce process management has made huge digital leaps over the past decade, aided greatly by increased workforce mobility through mobile, location- and user-aware apps. Meanwhile, technologies such as big data, analytics and the cloud can disseminate vast amounts of information quickly and efficiently to pinpoint exactly what a particular customer wants and then create the most seamless and compelling experience for them.
It has also opened new channels to market, and with the likes of Amazon, Zara, Costco and a host of other cut-price mass retailers out there and more planning to set up shop, wholesalers will need to constantly think outside the square to create compelling multichannel shopping experiences.
Wholesalers are, in many ways, ideally positioned to embrace business-oriented technology as it helps to maximise the efficiency of existing customer networks, product ranges and knowledge bases.
Supply chains, for example, can benefit from analytics and even augmented or virtual reality, which can locate weaknesses in the chain and eliminate them, while mobile apps track inventory from all over the world. This technology will become increasingly vital for wholesalers competing with the giant lower-priced retailers and will make it far easier to source, procure and track the delivery of ever-increasing product ranges in many retail sectors.
At the same time, 3D printers are becoming increasingly cost-effective and could be used regularly in the not-too-distant future to manufacture parts for a range of machines, which wholesalers could take full advantage of.
Having a range of digital channels to market including social media is also helping wholesalers to reach as many potential customers as possible, as is search engine optimisation.
Using data mining and analytics tools, wholesalers will be able to glean much about their customers, which ones are more lucrative to them and why, and how best to maximise the customer relationship’s potential.
Like their retail partners, the challenge for wholesalers in the digital age will continue to be finding the right products for the right customers and giving those customers what they want as efficiently and seamlessly as possible.
For more information on how Brother can be part of your wholesale trade solution visit our corporate solutions website