Understanding eCommerce for Distributors

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Retailers are taking advantage of eCommerce platforms like websites and social media for marketing and sales purposes, and it’s paying off. However, capitalising on the eCommerce trend may look slightly different for distributors. In this article, we explain the benefits of eCommerce for distributors, and how businesses can take advantage of this growing trend.

Why eCommerce?

Distributors have long had a reputation for great customer service, but in our digital age customers are increasingly seeking more than just good service. Nowadays, customers are showing themselves to be more and more responsive to the options to shop online at their convenience. This isn’t just because it means they can do it from anywhere they have an internet connection, it is also because shopping online is generally faster and more accessible. Previously, customers had to physically flip through catalogues or visit a physical store. Now, online shopping cuts out the middleman and speeds up the process.

Some distributors have failed to keep up with customers’ demands to shop online, and instead have stuck to the traditional distribution model. However, and unfortunately for some, this has given large B2B eCommerce sites like Amazon.com the opportunity to capitalise on this missing piece and redirect customers to them who feel inconvenienced by traditional distributors’ lack of online presence.

Where to Start

For distributors considering entering the world of eCommerce, the first place to start is a company website. Having an online website where customers can easily browse your products, purchase goods and get in touch with your customer services team is the first place any distributor should start.

If you have traditionally used catalogues to present your products and prices to customers, you can still use this basic model by making sure that these catalogues are fully accessible online. Ensure that every aspect of the products are clear – specs, details, images, and prices – so that customers are more likely to purchase.

Ensure your online purchasing process is as easy and transparent as possible. Customers have become accustomed to spending only a few minutes on any given website, and if the purchasing process is complicated or time-consuming, you are at risk of losing valuable online shoppers.

Social Media

The next step is to ensure that your distribution company has some form of visibility online. Establishing a social media presence can help your buyers find you through multiple channels. By creating a presence for your company and brand through multiple channels, including your website and social media, you instantly open the company up to a wider audience. More exposure gets your brand out there and provides extra visibility so that customers can find you more easily and buy your products with as little effort as possible.

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Melanie - Unleashed Software

Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.

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