Many in the wholesale and distribution industry are seeing change in the future as disruption causes a difference in how business is done.
The industry is in a state of change and gone are the days when a customer would call customer service and spend significant time on the phone trying to figure out what part they were looking for. Today’s customer wants faster, more accurate results.
There are new and more efficient ways of doing business these days. Now, using mobile technology, customers can snap a picture to send to the customer service rep. The distributor’s digital core, paired with machine learning, can automatically identify potential matches to the pictured part. The customer receives an immediate reply identifying the part’s stock number and how to order it.
These are only basic examples of how machine learning is helping wholesalers and distributers improve productivity while also improving the customer experience. The improved ability can instantly solve a problem and keep the customers happy leading to better retention.
Much of these changes have been driven by the appearance of companies such as Amazon and Alibaba. These companies have made the old handshake way of doing business less adaptable to the new customer experience.
Wholesale distributors are having to transform their businesses in ways that had not been conceived of only a couple decades ago. Smaller distributors are having to differentiate themselves through value-added services or other unique ways. It has to go beyond simply providing opportunities to place fast orders online. It must extend to creating a unique customer experience that builds loyalty.
For the consumer all these changes are good news and seen as improvements that make it easier to get what they’re looking for sooner rather than later. Improving ordering, fulfillment, and shipping of goods will become crucial ingredients for wholesalers if they want to compete in the new digital environment.