In the fragmented retail industry technology and e-commerce have fundamentally reshaped B2C business models and customer engagement. However within the B2B value chain digital adoption has yet to be properly embraced and has remained largely unchanged for decades.

Within a tight margin game, every players in the retail supply chain seems to be changing the model and trying to build a relationship directly with the retailer or merchant. This fragmented retail is poised to be transformed by “eB2B” players offering portals and applications that replace the in-person sales model for small retailers and restaurants.

With the introduction of new players and the modernization of existing players, it is vital that wholesalers modernize to remain relevant in order to continue to support their surrounding community. In this article we look at how prepare and bolster existing key differentiators to allow wholesaler to prepare themselves to compete within the new normal.

The Impact for Wholesalers

Globally, this is a massive trend with many regions fast adopting this new modern retail approach. As investment fuel the growth and disruption of this industry, it is more important for wholesalers to stand out and make their mark.

The role of the Wholesaler is well entrenched within the rural main market. Provided much needed break bulk services for last mile delivery and replenishment for local Spaza’s and Merchants.

The Competitive Landscape

Every player or partner in the route to market has a steak in entering the eB2B space. However, both traditional players that have ventured into the eB2B space and digital natives—are showing rapid growth while defining a path to profitability.

Digital start-ups

These companies are trying to capture the distribution margin pool, monetize data, and build their own product offerings in commoditized categories. These start-ups are sometimes an extension of B2C e-commerce companies and often act as marketplaces.

Consumer-goods companies

These companies — especially those with well-developed distribution and a competitive cost structure for direct store delivery  — are seeking to go digital and create an eB2B offering beyond their own products.

The Wholesaler & Distributor

Wholesalers in Africa have greater room to benefit from cheaper last-mile delivery economics and improved supplier–retailer relationship through introducing technology, and better data collection.

Wholesalers start the journey to eB2B with significant competitive advantages:

How to launch an eB2B platform

Taking the steps to move to an eCommerce business can be quite daunting. There are many things to consider: which technologies, which partnerships to build on, what business processes need changing, and incorporating user adoption.

We have put together a quick 4 step plan on how you can easily leverage and successfully launch an eB2B platform within your business.

1. Develop a distinctive, customer-backed value proposition

To fully create value and foster trust and loyalty you need to understand why your customer buy from your brand. In creating a value-proposition it is easier to fulfill these promises, creating easier adoption and ultimately stickiness.

2. Rapidly harness competitive advantages

Ensure all operational information and systems are set up to maximize your existing competitive advantage. Using what works and building on it’s availability in order to deploy a complete view of your B2B Retail customers to better serve needs and demand.

3. Scale up fulfillment operations

Building more than on online store that offers better service levels than existing channels requires an eB2B platform that enables plug and play functionality to manage and sell products and get closer to your Merchants.

4. Open the marketplace to other sellers

Once the platform is build a go live strategy must  be developed. Incorporating user adoption and change management principles will help with the roll out both internally and externally.

It is time to innovate through disruption! Keep your Wholesale business relevant within these troubling times. Disintermediation of the retail supply chain along with the disruption of the internet and eCommerce makes it challenging to meet Spaza and Merchant demands while maintaining the bottom line.

The Solution

Built from the perspective of an entrepreneurial fast-moving Consumer Goods route to market, MAC e-Com Platform offers more than just an online store. You can easily introduce a B2B platform to drive order generation direct from spaza to the eCommerce platform.

Rapidly provide an end-to-end cloud based eCommerce platform with built in Warehouse, Distribution and Sales modules offering simple catalogue management and user-friendly order generation.

If you are looking at deploying new eCommerce platform or adding additional touchpoints to your channel, get in touch and we can arrange a deep dive into our best practices and unpack our learned experience.

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