In the past, distributors were slow to adopt e-commerce platforms because the existing methods of selling had always worked, with sellers going to customer locations. When distributors did choose to adopt e-commerce platforms, it was largely out of necessity, as a cost- and time-saving measure to avoid having to send sellers out to distant customer locations. The decision to adopt these e-commerce platforms was not strategic, and the platforms themselves were not particularly user-friendly, as they were lacking a lot of the information that customers would want to see and they were often hard to navigate.
Now the expectation from customers is that distributors will offer an e-commerce platform for ordering. Customers want the convenience of placing orders when it’s convenient for them and from any location and device. They expect seamless navigation and the ability to see their sales data, all of the products they can buy in easily searchable fields, and the promotions that are available to them, so that they can make the best buying decisions for their businesses.
Of course, the benefits of this move to e-commerce platforms isn’t just for the customers. Distributors can have their sellers focus more on strategic goals. Rather than acting simply as order takers who go to customer locations, they can focus on selling product. Sellers can work as partners with customers, coming up with the right strategic product mixes that enable these customers to sell more high value products, enabling a win-win situation for both the distributor and the customer.