In our latest report, "Nordic Digital Commerce in B2B 2022", there is a clear trend that wholesalers are leading the digital development among B2B companies. Of approx. 100 surveyed wholesalers, 91% have already implemented digital sales channels. Almost everyone also believes that there will be a sharp increase in digital sales within the next three years.
The majority of wholesalers have digital solutions
An overwhelming majority of wholesale companies have various digital sales solutions in place. In several cases, it is about full-scale digital e-commerce services, while some have their product catalogue online to facilitate the sellers. Investments in digital solutions also seem to be paying off. A quarter of wholesalers say that as much as 50-74% of their sales take place through digital channels.
The reasons for this are likely that wholesalers, to a greater extent, sell finished and less complex products. It is also possible that they sell to retailers who turn to the B2C market, where digital sales are expected to be a given.
As a wholesaler, it is also common for the same type of products to be sold repeatedly. Then it is more efficient to steer customers towards digital channels, because they already know what they need. Filling the shopping cart online is simply easier than having to make a contact with a salesperson every time to complete an order.
Great expectations of increased digital sales
The majority of respondents in the survey expect that sales in digital channels will increase in the next three years. With wholesalers, however, this expectation is higher than for any other group. A whopping 92% of wholesalers expect that digital sales will increase. With such numbers, companies that choose not to use digital channels are taking a huge risk. Falling far behind the competition can be very costly.
Continuation of the industry’s digitalisation
For wholesalers, it can therefore seem that they are far ahead and that there is little left to do. However, just because there are digital sales channels in place does not mean that digitisation is complete. Rather, the value in continuing the digitisation journey becomes clearer.
A full 26% of the wholesalers in the study state that they have a data-driven approach and a focus on continued digital development. This includes, among other things, connecting different business systems and creating new offers based on a digital presence. Some even see opportunities in creating call-off contracts with their customers. Through integration between the wholesaler's and the customer's systems, they can then automate orders and deliveries within the framework of these contracts.
As in the B2C market, possibilities for personalised customer experiences, more efficient customer service functions and increased delivery options are also discussed. Just like for many other markets, wholesalers want to be able to create seamless customer experiences where all contact is handled smoothly and efficiently through digital channels. The increased possibilities for automation is also an attractive aspect, as it means more efficient solutions with reduced costs.
Some challenges remain
The challenge lies in finding systems that can be connected in a simple way. However, many of the system suppliers for B2B have not had to think along these lines in the same way as B2C players. This means that standardised APIs and integrations are somewhat uncommon at this point. This makes it difficult for companies that want to create a 360-degree view of customers and create a comprehensive solution for their entire digital business. In other words, finding the right collaboration partners is key to creating a fully data-driven business.
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