The Unknown World of e-commerce: Tips for B2B Sellers
The digital economy us disrupting the world as we know it. The rise of retail e-commerce between businesses and consumers is upsetting industries. Now, the impact extends beyond Amazon and eBay to reach B2B companies around the world.
A place for B2B distributors
As retailers strive to adapt to the new frontier of online consumerism and the modern supply chain, the logistics sector is responsible for meeting these demands. The rapid expansion of e-commerce has created new challenges that B2B distributors were previously isolated from. Those who have the right tools to move forward will have the best chance of claiming their rights in the online space.
The arrival of any unknown territory is accompanied by a deluge of new challenges, obstacles to navigate, and difficult questions to answer. For B2B distributors, e-commerce is stepping up the pressure to deliver a web experience that appeals to and retains customers. In addition, the majority of these companies face the problem of scale.
Digitizing logistics is a priority
Think of the big companies in the industry: Amazons and Walmarts. They have the size and resources to adopt the latest equipment and software as soon as they enter the market, reinforcing what is already a huge competitive advantage. E-commerce presents significant opportunities for all types of B2B candidates. Now is the time for B2B distributors to navigate a digital space. And the beginnings of this effort are directly in their own warehouses.
The path to this involves three steps:
Improve inventory management. Recognizing this as the key to commercial success is the first step. Look for ways to generate real-time data to optimize inventory movement and storage, as well as improve personnel and materials management. Identify tools that can improve the results by reducing costly shipping errors. In the process, you will increase customer satisfaction.
Improve warehouse efficiency. This means understanding the factors that contribute to warehouse efficiency and execution, such as visibility, organization, accuracy, and speed. Start by putting your installation in order. Look for boxes in the aisles, stocks scattered in garbage cans, rubbish on the floor – all obstacles to store and find the stock. Greater handling means extra manpower, so design your processes, put in place the right technology to support them, and ensure that every employee knows how to make the best use of the system.
Identify and implement technology. This third and final step is essential to achieving better inventory management. Take warehouse management systems. Any company that does not already see the benefits of a highly automated WMS or ERP should strongly consider adopting one. Examples include integrated modules for presenting and shipping small packages and fewer trucks, or trucking with off-road confirmation, stop, and delivery.
As the supply chain continues to evolve, robotics, the Internet of Things, and other advances will continue to offer additional opportunities. When it comes to B2B distribution, modern e-commerce requires a different way of doing power – and technology is that engine.
The rapid expansion of e-commerce ended the days when warehouse and stagnant distribution centers were designed solely to meet the demand created by retail sales. The next development will require a complex technological infrastructure to support today’s booming Internet economy. Companies that fail to adapt, do so at their own risk.