Wholesalers are under pressure, they form a link in the chain between manufacturers and retail. Many manufacturers try to approach their end customers directly. Prices become very transparent through e-commerce and you can find product information and advice anywhere on the internet.
Wholesalers are in the process of strengthening their digital strategy and IT architecture to remain relevant in the value chain and to face new competitors such as Amazon.com and Bol.com.
In order to survive, wholesalers today have to focus strongly on added value. This can be found in:
- wide range in stock, very quickly available
- deep and broad product knowledge so that customers with all their questions about brands are advised, also online.
- configure / assemble / cut the products in order to save time for their customers.
- strong database and software interfaces that allow retail and larger customers to link fully automated product information, stock, orders, invoicing
- useful apps that allow customers to enter (approve) orders, approve them in a personalized environment, budget control ...
It seems to me that every wholesaler should ask themselves the following question today: what is my strategy around marketplaces? Do I want to become an (online) marketplace myself? Do I want to join existing marketplaces? Do I want to focus on physical delivery points / shops, a network of representatives who visit customers or do I want to be a pure player (internet only)?
Here is an overview of popular tools.