A New Year, A New Solution Needed.
The Global Pandemic has accelerated change in the Distribution Industry. The once slow but steady march towards digitalization and webstores is now an outright sprint. During the time millions of people were locked down in one form or another of quarantine, the use of internet shopping exploded. Your world, once insulated from this rapidly growing trend, is experiencing a similar phenomenon.
Many of your customers are working from home. The move came rapidly and with little warning. Most did not move their collection of catalogs home with them. COVID measures eliminated the age-old practice of in-person sales visits. Customers, striving to keep their operations going, found their way to online B2B sites and they liked the experience.
The vaccine is being slowly rolled out now, but the general population will not be inoculated until late-Spring. Experts tell us many of the habits and patterns developed throughout what will for most be a full year of Pandemic-driven behavior will never go away. The use of digital tools in business has become so deeply rooted, it will remain and continue to expand. There is no putting this genie back in the bottle. Webstores and other digital selling tools are here to stay.
Distributors without a digital platform will be grossly behind the curve.
Your customers are already buying online… just not from you. Recent distributor voice of the customer surveys always carry the same message, customers are buying online and the percentage of their purchases made digitally is higher, often much higher than the distributor realizes. Truth is, many distributor salespeople - the eyes and ears of the sales effort - were afraid to ask the question.
Your suppliers understand this phenomenon. Candid conversations indicate their internet-based channel has continued to grow during the pandemic, while traditional brick and mortar distributors lagged previous year sales – producing negative numbers.
Distributor digitalization is no longer about using the internet to capture someone else’s business. Providing a credible online busying experience is required to maintain existing accounts. If you are a knowledge-based distributor, it is important to know customers conduct product research online first, long before your salesperson even knows about the project. Only after this initial research is completed do they call your tech-savvy seller in to assist with application-specific nuances.
One customer described their preferred distributor’s digital efforts this way, “Their website is the perfect complement to their traditional sales approach. It smooths off some rough edges when gathering information for the project and allows me to get urgent work done without regard to business hours. I love my salesperson, but I love the ability to quickly find products and delivery times just as much.”
A digital platform improves the customer experience.
According to a recent survey (Accenture and Salesforce) of B2B executives, 90 percent of the respondents feel enhancing customer experience is part of their core business strategy. Sadly, the other side of the buying equation does not see it that way. Only 30 percent of the buyers feel they are genuinely enjoying an excellent customer experience.
While digitalization is not a panacea for every issue facing customers, it is a step in the right direction. When done properly, digitalization does, in the customer’s words, “smooth off some rough edges.”
Digitalization has never been easier.
In the past building a solid webstore/digital platform took years. Less than a handful of years ago the cost, in both dollars and human effort, put a webstore out of the reach of most small and mid-sized distributors. The process was long and technically challenging. Worse yet, the fluid and rapidly changing nature of internet technology meant work done today would be obsolete in five years.
KYKLO makes it quick, easy, and effective. We handle everything from product content to search engine optimization and everything between. Our world-class webstore draws from our library of over two million products (SKUs). Importantly, KYKLO’s team provides not just digitization, but coaching and training to help your sellers put the system to its most effective use.
Let us play a role in your digital process.