Maginus, the provider of multi-channel solutions for retail & B2B distribution companies, has launched a white paper Wholesale in an Online World in association with IMRG and Redsock consulting, to highlight the lucrative market B2B ecommerce presents but also the dangers for companies that do not embrace it.
The latest figures from IMRG reveal that ecommerce now accounts for 21% of UK retail sales, with more than a fifth of non-food B2C retail currently transacted online. Despite all this change, there is often a perception of the wholesale sector being relatively unaffected, but the reality is that nothing could be further from the truth.
While the number of mid-sized wholesalers has dropped by 6.4% in the last six years compared to roughly equal growth in the number of comparable sized retailers, B2B ecommerce is actually growing at three times the rate of B2C ecommerce, now making it a far larger market to be operating in. In fact, the potential for businesses in this market has never been higher, with the latest research from Forrester revealing that B2B customers typically spend far more per transaction.
The Maginus white paper calls for wholesalers to heed changes in B2C retail and bring their offering into the multichannel world through B2B ecommerce. With the right set-up for their target market, selling online could offer B2B wholesalers and distributors the opportunity not only to increase their trade sales figures, but potentially also begin selling direct to consumers as well.
"It's increasingly impossible to sustain the argument that when you then enter your work environment you simply leave the online world behind," said Chris Jones, of Redsock Consulting and author of the report.
"Far from being exempt from the influence of ecommerce, B2B wholesale and distribution companies risk being left behind by not embracing online channels," said Mark Thornton, Ecommerce Director, Maginus. "There's a lot to be learnt from B2C ecommerce practices, however it's also important to bear in mind that B2B buyers have different priorities. The most successful solutions combine usability with back-end integration, to ensure customers continue to receive the same smooth service currently offered offline."