Over the last few years, online sales have begun to grow in popularity. The convenience of shopping online seems to attract customers all over the world. Shopping online (or in person), can come in the form of retail or wholesale. When a product is sold by retail, it means that the consumer is buying it right from a shop or a website (B2C). If someone is buying wholesale, it means that the product is sold to a retailer, who will then sell it to the consumer. Wholesalers typically will sell their products in bulk quantities to multiple professional customers (B2B). They will usually buy their products at a discount from the manufacturers, then sell it for less than the retail price.
- What is behind the e-commerce revolution?
On the one hand, worldwide e-commerce increased at a rate of 19% in 2013. However, a survey of 1000 U.S. residents in 2015 showed that 85% of consumers still preferred to use a traditional, physical shop. This demonstrates that physical shopping experience is still the preferred method but online sales are rapidly increasing. If they continue performing as well as they currently are, it is likely that more physical stores will soon be replaced with virtual ones.
On the other hand, physical wholesale is so far resisting the online invasion. This is partial because of the strong relationship that retailers are able to have with their suppliers. Collaboration brings forth a higher chance of success for both parties. For example, a retailer could give a recommendation for a certain supplier in exchange for a discount on a product order. As well, professional customers enjoy having a physical showroom where they can come in to see the product before they buy it. When they are physically able to touch and examine an item, it may help them picture exactly how they will display it in their shop.
- What can physical wholesalers do to resist from e-commerce?
For wholesale stores to keep up with upcoming buying habits, they need to consider adapting with the changing times. As well as maintaining a face-to-face relationship with their customers, they should also cater to the needs of the people who buy from them. This may include starting a company B2B website so that buyers can browse products from home, and potentially go into the showroom to place orders.
Keeping up to date with current trends and popular items is important for wholesalers. They can use online tools to their advantage. For example, Google Trends would be a quick way of checking popular searches.
The challenge for wholesalers is to maintain strong relationships with their suppliers, even if they operate only through the internet. Thus, retailers and suppliers would need a B2B platform as Uppler to connect online, and consider whether it will be mutually beneficial to work together. On Uppler, a supplier can showcase their brand for retailers to examine. If both companies approve each other, they can start collaborating. After approving one another, wholesale orders can be placed and business can commence.
To conclude, physical and online wholesalers both have their own unique strengths and weaknesses. To stay ahead in this technology-savvy world, physical wholesalers should consider broadening their horizons. By working both physically and virtually, they will be able to satisfy a wide spectrum of buyers.