The Consumerization of Wholesale Commerce
Consider Harry. A self-employed plumber, who is a wholesaler customer.
Let’s take a look at his typical work day:
Harry flops down on his sofa after a hard day’s work.
He looks to see where he left his laptop, but notices that his wife is already using it. “Honey, can I use the laptop, please? I need to order a few parts for a job.”
“Just a minute,” his wife responds, “I’m ordering a book. If I buy it online now, I’ll get it tomorrow.”
Harry’s wife can order a book by 11p.m. and have it delivered the next day. Harry, on the other hand, already knows that he won’t be able to get next day shipping because it’s too late in the day. He would like to pay online for an item and pick it up in-store tomorrow, yet that isn’t an option provided by his current supplier.
When Harry finally gets his laptop, he pulls up his supplier’s website and finds the part he needs. Unfortunately, the store is closed, and he isn’t able to call to check and ask if the part is in stock. Harry plans on stopping by the store in the morning and hopes that the part he needs is in stock.
Harry represents your current customer.
There are plenty of customers like Harry, who have the same experience: service engineers, decorators, restaurant owners, office managers or farmers.
In their personal lives, they are enjoying prompt and more engaging ways to shop. They can reserve items online and pick them up in-store. They can even purchase items for same-day delivery or check inventory at various stores.
Unfortunately, wholesaler small business owners and employees don’t enjoy the same types of conveniences while shopping with their suppliers.
With professional and personal life becoming increasingly entwined, people cannot be expected to make a strict separation between both areas of their life when it comes to buying products. This situation is only reinforced by the fact that they use the same electronic devices, like smartphones and laptops, for both private and business activities. In a nutshell, the “consumerization of commerce” is becoming the norm – for both B2C and B2B shoppers.
Keeping up with the customer.
Wholesalers can find it more difficult than traditional retailers to keep up with the rate at which their customers are taking to new technologies.
The consumerization of wholesale commerce both poses threats and offers opportunities.
The threats come from competitors, often unexpectedly, who begin to offer shopping conveniences which customers are already enjoying in their personal lives. Imagine catering wholesalers, who are seeing supermarkets offer online ordering and delivery services. Services that can eat into their bottom line.
The opportunities are presenting themselves to wholesalers that do business with their customers on the customer’s terms. When it comes to wholesale, maintaining strong relationships with customers is critical.
After all, this is yet another effect of the consumerization of wholesale commerce: customers will move on to the next opportunity if their high expectations are not met in a prompt manner.