While the wholesale distribution industry was grappling with the trade war between the two largest nations — China and the United States, it was slammed yet again by the pandemic just when we thought there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Considering how fast the business landscape has changed within such a period, stakeholders in the wholesale distribution industry will be doing their business disfavor if they don't develop creative solutions to boost their business agility.
Building business agility for wholesale distribution
At the center of building business, agility is implementing measures to help your business adapt to changes and cater to your customers' needs.
Remember, you are in business to make money, and you can only do that if your customers are satisfied with your services. That way, they won't mind reaching into their pockets because they are getting value for their money or entrust you with their product distribution to you.
An outlook of the wholesale distribution and distribution company shows that shareholders and investors alike must take proactive steps to keep their business afloat until the pandemic is defeated.
How do you do that? Take steps to increase your business agility. Yeah, there goes the buzzword again — business agility.
How do you improve your wholesale and distribution business agility?
Improving business agility is not exactly rocket science. There is a tall list of things you can do to make your business agile and secure your business's growth and success at these trying times.
Let's take a look at steps you can take to make your business thrive at this time when the pandemic is raging on.
1. Be innovative and creative in your thinking
While others may argue that building a business strategy is best left to business leadership, it cuts in both directions. Everybody that is involved in the wholesale and distribution process has a role to play. To be agile means to adapt and thrive even amid economic uncertainties.
Introduce new products and provide enhanced delivery services
You can tinker around introducing new products and enhancing delivery services to meet your customers' increasing demand. While you are at it, you need to be proactive and swift in identifying your customers' demands. This gives you a head-start in making decisions that will give your competitors a run for their money.
2. Provide exceptional customer care
What other way to build a customer-centric business than providing a stellar customer service experience? While treating customers well is highly encouraged and applauded, providing exceptional customer care, putting extra efforts to exceed their expectations will keep them glued to your business.
That way, you will be building a solid bond with your clients. One that will foster profitable deals and business collaborations. And you know what that means for your wholesale and distribution business.
To give you a perspective of how customer service can impact your business, a recent study by inc.com showed that at least 96% of enterprises close within ten years because of poor customer care.
Be proactive in identifying and eliminating the challenges your customers are facing
You need to be proactive in identifying the challenges your customers are facing and be swift in resolving them — else, you will be bidding your clients farewell as they walk into the arms of your customers. And that is not how to increase agility.
3. Adapt and respond to changes
You will agree that several aspects of the wholesale distribution business have been greatly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Everything from the sourcing of goods to distribution and supply chains has been disrupted.
While a significant number of wholesale businesses have packed up, the few that are still in business are investing in replacing existing infrastructure that could sink their ship.
Business agility brings stability
The idea behind improving your business agility is to help your business adapt to fast-changing conditions. You can look in the direction of investing in reliable IT infrastructure and agile project management systems to reinforce your response to increasing demand.
Other steps you can take to improve your business agility include streamlining your communication through technology and empowering your workforce.
Having mentioned adaptation and response to changes in the market, let's shift our focus to the trends in wholesale and distribution in 2021.
What are wholesale and distribution trends in 2021?
While adapting to the new wholesale and distribution climate, there is a need to ramp up distribution to bridge the demand gap.
It is expected that there will be a shift from traditional methods to technology-driven infrastructure that will enhance supply chain capabilities and give brands more visibility as they meet fulfill customer demand and supply.
Also, because of the boom in the e-commerce sector (thanks to the pandemic), wholesalers are bracing up for a continuous increase in storage facilities' prices. Storage price is expected to remain on the high side for most of 2021, considering the escalating trend in wholesale drop shipping worldwide.
Away from the role of e-commerce in driving the wholesale and distribution trend, other important wholesale distribution trends that will continue to shape the industry includes
· Increasing competition and innovations
· The impact of global dynamics in supply chain
· Imposed complexities caused by increasing regulatory requirements
These are trends every wholesaler must come to terms with — sooner or later. And instead of turning your back in denial of their existence or fear, these trends offer growth opportunities to rise to the occasion.
Increasing competition and innovations
The competition between suppliers and other industry players is fueling intense competition in the wholesale distribution industry.
Unlike in the past, customers' choices are driven by convenience. They would instead explore different options and channels to buy the same product a distributor is offering.
But this time, they are scouting for competitive prices and flexible delivery options. Interestingly non-traditional distributors are also leveraging technology to meet the demand of their clients.
This competition has led wholesale distributors to explore other means to remain in the competition. We are now seeing value-added services intended to win customer loyalty and build confidence.
The impact of global dynamics in supply chain
Considering the central position that wholesale distributors hold in the logistics supply chain, one can conveniently say that wholesale distributors are an essential element in the global supply chain.
In the pandemic heat, distributors were confronted by challenges such as geographic dependency, manufacturers shutting down, and regulatory restrictions. This trend forced distributors to monitor and respond to risks associated with sourcing and balancing the spontaneous change in demand patterns.
Today distributors are focused on supply chain planning processes, managing inventory and working capital, and assessing realistic demands because of the disruption caused by the pandemic.
Imposed complexities caused by increasing regulatory requirements
The wholesale distribution industry is faced with complex regulatory requirements that hinge on product traceability and customer protection, among other requirements like national mandates.
These requirements have made it costly to do business because distributors now spend more on tracking, tracing, and monitoring goods throughout the supply chain.
Considering the prevailing market conditions and wholesale distribution dynamics, it is evident that improving business agility is the best way to stem the pandemic's tides on wholesale businesses.
If you need help managing your wholesale distribution processes from sourcing to supply and distribution logistics, you are welcome to contact us for professional advice and guide.