The B2B market is in a major period of disruption—for the better—thanks to a growing global e-commerce market, a recovering economy and demanding consumers who expect to do business when they want to do it and via the channels they prefer.
A great post in Electrical Wholesaler points to 10 trends that will shake up that industry, but many of the points made in the op-ed by Jim Lucy are easily applied to any manufacturer and distributor, including:
More and more U.S. manufacturers and distributors will look to grow their businesses outside the boarders of the United States, as more companies from Europe, Asia and South American make inroads into the American market. A strategy for global commerce is a necessity in an era when e-commerce worldwide is expected to reach a staggering $1.2 trillion by 2017.
The up-and-coming generation of workers demand a creative approach when it comes to recruiting, training and incentivizing young talent. Manufacturers, distributors and reps need a clear-eyed approach to this new wave of potential employees. This generation innately understands the potential of technology to create new systems and processes—it’s up to businesses to harness that energy.
Wholesaling industry trends: Mobile commerce
But the most salient point made by Lucy is to capture growing revenues, brands absolutely must be prepared to meet their customers where they want to buy. That means an increased focus on mobile commerce.
More and more customers are using mobile devices and demanding access to product lines and SKUs while in the field. This trend is forcing B2B enterprises to rethink how digital product information is not only managed, but how it can be accessed by consumers.
A great example of how manufacturers and distributors can adapt to this trend is W.W. Grainger, which offers a mobile app giving their customers access to 900,000 SKUs. The mobile strategy adopted by that brand results in a huge jump in its e-commerce numbers, and the company expects to see 40 to 50 percent of its annual sales made via e-commerce channels by 2015.