The wholesale distribution industry is changing. The days of solely delivering manufacturers’ products to retail customers at a competitive price are gone. Today, wholesale distributors are business partners participating in traceability initiatives and employing operational mobility to meet customers’ demands. Looking near term, wholesalers will continue to evolve their business, providing more value added services and employing analytics to help drive new business endeavors and operational efficiencies. Looking into the future, the retail revolution, technological advances and business integration could so drastically disrupt the face of wholesale distribution that it becomes almost unrecognizable.
For some industries, mobility simply adds a level of convenience or even a factor of cool. For wholesale distributors, mobility can make significant improvements in efficiency, equipping the many mobile employees to do more. It can also connect wholesale distributors to their retail customers, improving service levels, gaining speed as well as collecting data for analytics.
Placing devices in the hands of mobile employees provides them with the ability to execute planned trade promotion merchandising and displays for their customers. It also gives them the opportunity to collect real-time competitive and consumer information while on site with the retailer. Additionally, simply equipping this mobile force with the ability to recalculate and print customer receipts can improve efficiency and customer service.
Providing retail customers, especially mom and pop shops, with the ability to place orders through a mobile device can improve efficiency and customer service. Some wholesale distributors today allow retailers to submit orders either through webbased portals or mobile apps. Some make it as simple as taking pictures of items that are low on stock and submitting them for replenishment.
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