A look at where the Wholesale Market stands heading into 2021
Is E-commerce a good idea for manufacturers? Of course. A manufacturer can produce a product and mark up the price to be competitive in their market online. Simple enough. What about Wholesale Distribution? There are roughly 415,000 Wholesale Establishments in the United States. Most people buy retail products from Amazon or eBay. This is a great way to purchase gifts and gadgets, but what if I want to buy a part for a machine at work. This is where we get into the Industrial E-Commerce era.
The rise of B2B E-Commerce sales is growing at a substantial rate. Is this a concern for a brick and mortar distributor? Maybe. It all depends on your target consumer. Customer Service will always drive sales growth. Does the age of the buyer have any influence on over-the-counter sales vs. Online Sales? I will get back to this. I started an online E-Commerce distribution site during the quarantine period in March of this year. I figured I had all the knowledge and passion to go down this path. Let's just say that I have never worked so hard in my entire life. You can also throw your sleep schedule right out of the window. I wanted to develop a huge industrial marketplace with CAD/Revit drawings, 3D configurations Etc. If I could go back to the beginning I would do everything over again. I am happy with what I achieved, but it is not as simple as some may think.
There are multiple platforms that offer "Simple" design and you are up and running. These are great platforms if you are selling coffee cups and candles. The Industrial E-Commerce sector is only made up of 5% of the online market. Manufacturers and Distributors have thousands of items. Most manufacturers that I purchase from had no idea of what to do when I asked if I could sell their product online. I eventually took their price sheets and created the products and published the items online with a substantial mark up. Great, I was up and running and sales were pouring in. One day I noticed that the products I was selling were everywhere. Some were below my price and some were above my price. I had no idea what was going on. This is where we need to keep the Manufacturing/Wholesaler relationship. The Industrial Market could be in for a big surprise if there is a change in Manufacturer to Consumer shift. The Industrial E-Commerce sites should benefit from the B2B sector. The Wholesalers and Distributors are trained to provide sufficient support for the products they represent. As a wholesaler, I believe that customer service is still the key to current sales and growth opportunities.