You can accomplish a lot as a distributor by incorporating e-commerce in your business. Of course, such an opportunity offers you growth in exchange for a certain amount of patient effort.
Fortunately, you can improve your prospects of success by properly preparing an e-commerce strategy. Begin by learning the following ten things every distributor should know about e-commerce distribution.
1. Embrace Mobile
Mobile users dominate the internet and therefore dominate online commerce. This holds true for B2B customers as well as for consumers. For this reason, your distribution model should support the needs of businesses who depend on mobile platforms and apps to sell to their customers.
In addition to attracting new business, your mobile-e-commerce distribution model can give you a vital advantage over competitors that have failed to adapt to the trend toward mobile. In the end, by embracing mobile, you give your customers increased access to your products and services that can lead to additional sales.
2. Use E-Commerce
Through e-commerce distribution, you offer your business customers the same convenience and efficiency that appeals to consumers. After all, when you adapt to the needs of the B2B world, you have a chance to provide additional services that can lead to long-lasting relationships.
For example, when you use e-commerce, your customers can place orders around-the-clock at their convenience, without wasting time for you to open and answer their phone call. Also, they can use your e-commerce platform to check the status of their orders, including delivery dates, and make arrangements for returns.
3. Recognize threats
After disrupting the global retail market, Amazon is now vying for dominance in distribution. Its website, AmazonSupply.com, pits the global resources of Amazon against your firm and poses a substantial threat.
Just as the existence of Amazon hasn’t derailed every retailer, it shouldn’t deter you from pursuing your goals. Certainly, you should expect to lose some business to the e-commerce giant, but you can enjoy a healthy business by developing and pitching your firm’s advantages.
4. Buy American
If your firm sells to American businesses, you probably should avoid the pitfalls that come with distributing products that were made overseas. Although you can sometimes achieve cost savings that way, competitive domestic manufacturers and socio-political preferences are prompting more B2B customers to buy goods made in the USA.
5. Emphasize Customers
Put customers first by supplying them with an exceptional customer experience. For example, B2B customers have a need for fast procurement cycles, so make that your goal. As a matter of fact, you can often successfully compete against Amazon when customers can easily buy from you and quickly receive their goods.
6. Accept Change
New technically-savvy firms are daily entering the e-commerce distribution market and will overtake you if you fail to stay on the cutting edge of e-commerce trends. With this in mind, you must prepare your firm to continually adapt to new technologies and changing customer expectations. For this reason, you should maintain an aggressive marketing effort and prepare a plan for surviving an unexpected erosion of your customer base.
7. Monitor Performance
Analytics data supplied by your e-commerce and marketing platforms will help you track the performance of your firm and respond to emerging trends. Based on your collected information, you can resolve operational bottlenecks and find innovative ways to meet the needs and expectations of your customers.
8. Use ASN
Advanced shipping notification (ASN) gives your firm the ability to coordinate shipments with both your carriers and clients. Using the system will help ensure timely freight pickups and deliveries and make information accessible on demand. In the end, using ASN will improve your supply-chain management as well as your customer satisfaction rates.
9. Demand Accountability
To begin with, you should always have backup sources ready to take up the slack when suppliers fail to meet their obligations. That way, you have the leverage you need to demand accountability when a vendor fails to deliver as promised. Although you need to exhibit patience and tolerance, your suppliers need to know that you cannot afford to let them jeopardize your success.
10. Handle Returns
Expect a higher rate of product returns from your e-commerce distribution business than you might have in a consumer-facing operation. Make sure that you create a painless, easy-to-use on-demand return process for your B2B customers. Additionally, you must minimize expenses by streamlining streamline the processing of returned goods as they go back to either suppliers or your inventory.
As a distributor, e-commerce offers you the potential to improve service, reduce costs and compete effectively in the modern B2B marketplace. Needless to say, your commitment to e-commerce requires an ongoing education in the latest technologies and tactics.
Given these points, the opportunity to attract and retain new customers should give you the needed incentive to expend the time, money and effort required to become successful with e-commerce distribution. Furthermore, failure to act now may jeopardize your success in the long run.