The Wholesale Ecommerce Event recently took place in Rotterdam. Lectures and knowledge sessions alternated. Speakers from various backgrounds held up a mirror of the future to the audience. That future, it will not surprise you, is peppered with reflections on technology, big data and Artificial Intelligence. The wholesaler and Eommerce are now inextricably linked. The importance of an optimal customer journey and more emotion in the B2B relationship is increasing. Platforms help with this.
'How do you ensure that your customer from an assortment of more than ten thousand different screws immediately sees the right article?' It was a relevant question during one of the workshops of the Wholesale Ecommerce Event. The answer soon followed with Bouwmaat's successful online sales story. The national wholesaler of building materials, with more than 13,500 products in stock, has an effective online recipe: search-find-click-buy. A very good app is linked to their B2B Ecommerce platform - 'the only tool that you as a professional must have with you on the job'. Since Bouwmaat facilitates craftsmen and contractors in this way, sales have improved by leaps and bounds.
Wholesale and Ecommerce are finding each other better and better
It is a good example of the way in which wholesalers and Ecommerce find each other better. It is no coincidence that optimizing and digitizing the search and purchase process at the beginning of this year was mentioned everywhere as one of the main trends for the wholesale trade of 2019. With the hot breath of Amazon and Alibaba in the neck, Ecommerce giants who are increasingly to the B2B market, major improvement steps in Ecommerce are inevitable. If you have taken the right steps, the world is also at your feet for the wholesaler.
The platform economy is the future. The world of wholesale is also not affected. "The market is changing completely and we are all facing competition from parties that are just as smarter than ourselves," said Bidfood CEO Dick Slootweg at the Digital Food conference in March this year. Bidfood stems from DeliXL, which almost went down during the crisis years. The company was able to change course with maximum resilience. In a short time Bidfood grew into the online wholesaler for food professionals. Find them on bidfood.nl over 50 thousand articles. In the meantime, Bidfood is good for a turnover of 750 million euros.
In China everything revolves around online platforms'
Slootweg strongly doubts the role of the wholesaler as a physical link. He visited Alibaba in China. To copy the art. He said in response to his experiences: "Compared to China, we still live in a kind of museum, where everything revolves around online platforms." Although Bidfood is doing very well, according to the CEO, the wholesale trade is facing the biggest challenge in years. That is: developing and implementing national and international platforms where different providers can market their products. This transforms wholesalers from a physical place for commercial transactions to a digital environment in which service and experience are paramount. An example that illustrates this change well is the platform developed by Bidfood Foodyard.nl, intended to inspire culinary professionals and based on knowledge sharing and customer loyalty.
A good marriage between wholesale and Ecommerce offers new opportunities. Relationships with suppliers / customers were purely focused on the transaction, but become more emotional. The B2B customer is 'just a person' who prefers to buy his stuff online and likes convenience, accurate product information, reviews and fast delivery. In that respect, business traffic no longer differs so much from B2C traffic today. Deployable platforms must reflect and support this optimally.
New perspectives through interaction between wholesaler and Ecommerce
Wholesalers who want to claim their role in the interplay between wholesaler and Ecommerce face great challenges. With success conditions: agility and an open mind for technology. Your warehouse management and order management system remain crucial, but are no longer determining. The online platforms that you use require an extra dimension, aimed at optimal support of the customer journey. The customer experience is also key in online wholesale activities. Wholesale and Ecommerce is considerably more than linking systems. It requires thinking differently and taking strategic decisions. Who does that right, opens up new perspectives and growth opportunities.