If you’re a wholesale distributor scratching your head, trying to find your place in the world since the pandemic has skewed the way that everyone is shopping, you’re not alone. But Amazon is not the only game in town. The good news is, there’s plenty of good news.

Let’s explore the many advantages that you still have over a behemoth retail enterprise:

  1. Creative Contract Agility. Every wholesaler wants to create a win-win partnership with their customers, and one way to do that now is to revisit your contracts. Wholesale distributors can design creative rebate and incentive contracts that behemoth organizations would never consider. Like an aircraft carrier, large enterprises are slow to make a change in direction. Wholesale distributors are more agile, like jet skis, able to pivot as needed to accommodate their customers. You are more likely to build lasting relationships with your customers and share in their risks, such as investing in stockpiles of emerging technology because you are confident that the new tech won’t be obsolete in 6 months.
  2. Props to the Value Prop. Wholesalers have the distinct advantage of driving differentiators. You can design services that meet the needs of your customers in a way that the behemoths cannot or will not do. Wholesalers like you can customize labeling, kitting and assembly, delivery options, perform parts configurations and modifications, fabrication, painting or resizing services, just to name a few. You can also provide product safety consulting, financing alternatives, engineering services, training and education, or technical support centers to meet the needs of their customers.
  3. The eCX (eCommerce Experience). Many of your B2B shoppers are working remotely. Having electronic device-agnostic, omnichannel visibility into your inventory, pricing, customization options, and real-time delivery tracking are the expectations that have spilled over from B2B shoppers accustomed to B2C shopping experiences, according to the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors. Before March of 2020, you may not have realized what a mission- critical investment your eCommerce portal would become, but now you’re positioned to meet your customers where they live, literally.
  4. Information Sharing. Wholesale distributors must be willing to share your proprietary information upstream and downstream to ensure the mutually assured success of your supply chain, based on your own forecasts and demand planning to solidify the long-term partnership and cohesiveness for your specific ecosystem. A larger retail enterprise will have the data, but they would be unwilling to share it, or would likely charge a healthy fee for the information, if they were ever motivated to share it.
  5. Data Collection Hacks. If proprietary data isn’t your strength, Think With Google has some interesting features for providing you with buyer insights that you can exploit:
    • Market Finder can be a game changer for predicting your target market regions. Simply click on Market Finder and it will ask you if you want to sell in the U.S. or worldwide. Once you identify that, it will ask you for your website URL and the categories in which you are selling items. In the click of a mouse, Market Finder will identify either the U.S. states or where you should focus your sales efforts.
    • Shopping Insights identifies which products are most searched on and trending in a particular category. For example, a quick search on “Apple Watch” identifies that Greenwood, MS, Memphis, TN, Salisbury, MD and Philadelphia, PA are the top four areas searching for Apple Watches at this moment, with 82% of those searches conducted via mobile phones.
    • Rising Retail Categories provides a peek into consumer behavior, which is updated daily, or you can look at weekly, monthly, and yearly trends. Today, toilet paper had a 60% jump in online searches, especially in California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois and Pennsylvania. The key words “Sam’s Club Hours” saw a 100% jump in searches related to toilet paper.
    • Google Trends gives you consumer search behavior insights over time, on any topic.

In short, if you’re in the wholesale distribution market, you can be the beneficiary of opportunity, despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Contract agility, monetization of value-added services, and the exchange of business intelligence via collected data insights will keep wholesale distributors in an advantageous position for the foreseeable future.

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