Changing demand and lucrative opportunities mean that, for wholesalers, it’s now not a question of if they should provide online ordering, but when. However, there are many challenges and choices to be made. Anna Metcalfe looks at some of the key considerations.
Online wholesaling is becoming big business. Although it’s an ever increasing and very exciting sales opportunity, it’s also fraught with issues and challenges to overcome if you are to make it work for your business and work seamlessly with your other routes to market.
Online has arrived: Ignore it at your peril
“The landscape is constantly changing now and technology is driving much innovation and change. We can’t afford to be afraid of it and we must harness the right parts for our own businesses”
Andrew Lynas, MD,
“In many ways, ecommerce is no longer an option or an alternative; rather, it is customers’ expectation”
Niall Deveney, digital marketing executive,
Dunns Food and Drinks
If you can grow your online business from £15m to £874m in 10 years, there has to be some sense in embracing the world of wholesale ecommerce. These headline figures form part of Booker’s success story. It started its online journey in 2005 and today enjoys those £874m of online sales from a total of 410,000 customers registered to shop on the group’s website. Sturdy figures indeed and a scenario that many wholesalers would dearly love to mimic.
Further reinforcing just how critical the online channel is becoming, a recent survey of 200 wholesalers from 28 countries by inventory management software company TradeGecko showed that 41% believed online sales would account for the biggest share of revenue this year, a significant increase from 31% last year. What’s more, 24% said that they would start to operate online this year.
There is no mistaking that the rise of online wholesaling is upon us. You most definitely ignore this fact at your peril. Yet embracing it is accompanied with an intimidating set of challenges and issues to overcome in an ever more pressured marketplace in which margins are squeezed and manufacturers are forever attempting to cut out the middleman.
Rest assured, you’re not alone. Andrew Lynas, MD of Lynas Foodservice, sums up the situation well: “The landscape is constantly changing now and technology is driving much innovation and change. We can’t afford to be afraid of it and we must harness the right parts for our own businesses.”
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