Delivering for Best-in-Class Wholesaler-Distributors

An NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence Research Series of 7 Research Reports and 7 Corresponding Webinars in Partnership with Ian Heller and Jonathan Bein of Distribution Strategy Group.

DON’T MISS August 18, 2:00 p.m. ET, Webinar: “Distributors’ Views on Technology Disruption and How to Respond”! Scroll down this page to register for the Webinar. The Research Report of the same name will be released in early August so stay tuned.

Traditionally, one of the most important benefits distributors have offered customers is quick access to a wide assortment of products. How times have changed. Today, many customers start product searches online. Customers have the ability to find the product somewhere other than from a distributor. Two factors have driven this change:

  • With few exceptions, many brands and products that distributors carry are now stocked by online marketplaces.
  • Most distributors are not as skilled as they need to be with e-commerce and SEO, so customers who are searching online for products will find them elsewhere instead.

What else is transforming the wholesale distribution landscape?

Influx of Competitors. A growing number of leading companies are building marketplaces that carry B2B products. This huge influx of competition and capital is likely to drive industry consolidation, raise performance requirements and fundamentally transform customer expectations. Are you taking this into account as you develop your business strategy? How will you differentiate when virtually everything you sell is available from multiple sources and can be delivered in a day or less?

Artificial Intelligence. B2B customers will increasingly rely on alternative ordering methods — shopping and buying without a keyboard or a computer screen. How will you fight market share erosion as customers adopt these purchasing methods?

3D Printing (Additive Manufacturing). 3D printing or “additive” manufacturing is fundamentally changing how many products are made. Some theorists believe this will result in much more distributed (and closer to the customer) manufacturing. Others argue that many products distributors carry today will simply be made by the customer utilizing their own 3D printers. What is the risk to distribution? Or is this an opportunity for distributors to add 3D printing as a service — which might help customers but, potentially, alienate suppliers.

What Does This Mean for Distributors? We are entering a period of time in which some distributors will develop successful marketplace strategies, form new methods of differentiation and survive through the turbulence. Many other distributors will fail to respond — or make the wrong decisions — and will either get acquired by smarter, faster competitors, or they will go out of business.

There is no better time than right now for distributors to learn how these technology trends will combine to transform the landscape of wholesale distribution. You can start right now by participating in this series of 7  Research Reports and 7 corresponding Webinars that follow the theme, How Technology Will Transform Wholesale Distribution. NAW’s partners on this compelling project are Ian Heller and Jonathan Bein of Distribution Strategy Group.

Each month from July 2020 through January 2021, NAW will post one Research Report here and follow it up with a Webinar in the same month. Both offer double the punch and will provide you with the intelligence you need to formulate new strategies and ensure that your company thrives through this era of technology transformation. This project is driven by research conducted among wholesaler-distributors, manufacturers and end users.

Right now, July’s Research Report is available for you to download below. You can also register for July’s accompanying Webinar. Why not go ahead and register for each of the 6 other Webinars now, while you wait for each month’s new Research Report release. Just click on the buttons below.

Thank you for being a part of one of NAW’s most compelling thought leadership programs ever!

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