The Wholesale Dilemma
When it comes to staying current, wholesalers have their work cut out for them. With thousands of brands, immense competition and fickle consumers, wholesalers have to stay agile in order to survive. In order to stay agile and flexible, wholesalers have to understand what they are selling and who they are selling too. If you’re a wholesale distributor of soda and your main business has primarily come from selling to upscale offices, you may want to rethink your strategy as more health reports come out and workplaces continue to embrace healthier alternatives. You could be slowly losing more and more money due to slowly-but-steadily decreasing sales without even knowing it. Not only is money lost, but the opportunity cost of trying to sell to non-desirable customers is huge. Problems such as fickle customers and heavy competition are in no way specific to wholesalers, but the lack of inventory flexibility and limited customer base do make these problems more severe for wholesale and DSD sellers.
The Realities of modern commerce
Most companies, and just about every physical store, sell a very large variety of items which can be subbed out for other items any time should the necessity arise. Wholesalers and DSD sellers don’t have this luxury, as they sell a much smaller range of products and in much greater quantities. Changing strategies for wholesalers is therefore more difficult than for most other sales based businesses. Wholesalers really need to know who their desired customers are, as their potential customer base is already quite limited. Luckily, human behavior doesn’t change overnight. If this soda company had tracked its sales and statistics more diligently it could have caught the problem and adjusted accordingly, before it was too late. The advent of e-commerce has also upped the analytics arms race, as many websites and online businesses have access to important stats in regards to themselves and their customers.
The E-commerce effect
E-commerce has completely changed the game. Today’s consumers want everything at their fingertips, and would much rather do their own research than have to deal with salespeople. That’s why having an online presence is key, but just having a website isn’t even enough anymore. A mediocre/disorganized/ugly website will usually make the potential customer exit your site and find another distributor with a more appealing web presence. Aesthetics and convenience really matter to people, so don’t mess this up! Having a good web presence is doubly important for distributors as these sorts of companies don’t get too much “walk-by” traffic. Content such as blogs are also a nice touch, as these help your website out on the Google algorithm and are nice ways to get people onto your website, ultimately translating into sales. Specifically for blogs, keywords are great because they further help in having your blog be seen by people on Google. Having a user-friendly website with a good aesthetic really helps, but even this doesn’t really give you a huge advantage any more as every distributor with merit has a nice/user-friendly website. You need other tools, at the forefront of which is data! Keeping up with what your customers want is the single most important thing for distributors, because in the end, the product is what customers are buying.
Solutions are out there
Information is power in this day and age, and you cannot continue to use pen and paper to track how your company is doing. With the field sales software embedded in inSitu sales, analytics such as how specific products are doing with specific customers is tracked automatically and in real time as your salespeople are out in the field. The added advantage of this instant tracking through this salesman app is your ability to pivot on the spot and reassign your sales staff at any moment, should you realize that your current sales targets just aren’t working out. This enables you to always keep up with trends without wasting precious time, and not fall behind when public opinion inevitably changes.
6 keys for distributors are
1. Know who your desired customers are.
2. Get a web presence! A website is most important but social media is helpful as well. Make sure your website is clean and user friendly. A bad website is just about as bad as having no website.
3. Make sure to have a B2B E-commerce presence.
4. Make content such as blogs for your website.
5. Data! You need to know what people want in order to sell to them.
6. Always stay flexible. What worked yesterday may not work today, as people and trends are always changing.