Distribution companies are going to have some of the biggest impacts from mobile commerce. These effects will change standard processes, and some companies may not make it through the mobile revolution. However, distributors that take the time to learn what changes will be likely will be better prepared to become the leading supply chain associates of tomorrow. Let's take a look at some of the ways mobile commerce is impacting distributors today.
Some distributors are unwilling to run the updates required by their systems. Unfortunately, not updating systems as soon as possible can lead to a system-wide crash. According to Clean Link, avoiding essential updates within a given distribution system may result in information bottlenecks and lead to problems for the end-user. Also, updates are starting to become routine and frequent, so avoiding even a few updates could cause problems in your distribution network.
Your website needs to be responsive. According to Sarah Leung of Handshake, 52 percent of B2B buyers research products with their smart phones, and if your site is tricky to navigate or unresponsive to different devices and viewing on a smartphone, you could be losing business. Responsive web design refers to the ability of your site to adjust automatically to the best viewing sizes for different viewing screens. For example, a customer should be able to navigate your site more easily on a smartphone or tablet, and in fact, failure to optimize your site in this manner will result in a penalty alongside your site by Google.
Businesses and vendors want to access Internet-based wholesale environments. This simplifies the ordering process and allows all parties to work together better and faster. Meanwhile, customers are accessing more retailers than ever through omnichannel solutions, and as a distributor, you need to be ready to handle information from vendors, consumers, and B2B partners. In other words, you site can no longer survive as a two-page or three-page information-only site. You need the ability to sell your services and products from within the distribution network.
The days of terminal-based systems have ended. Your distribution network should rely on systems that do not keep data on-premises or in out of order systems. Instead, Cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions can be automatically rationalized and managed from any location. As a result, your opportunities for growth are more lucrative. Concurrently, SaaS solutions are enabling smaller businesses and competitors to enter the market. Unfortunately, this means you will need to move harder and faster to maintain a firm grasp on your customer base.
Do you remember one of the most famous sayings when the iPhone was unveiled? “There’s an app for that” became identical with the push toward a ground-breaking mobile phone, and in a sense, those words helped to create a new environment for shoppers and businesses alike.
Customers and businesses want apps. Apps are easy to use, quick to load on smartphones and a source of information. Apps have been created for practically every purpose known, and if you have not yet embraced the creation of an app for your business, you are falling behind. More prominently, your customers and B2B partners may not even be eager to try to access your system through a Smartphone’s browser.
According to Samantha Carr of Handshake, integration, and personalization of the shopping experience will be critical to the success of the business through mobile commerce. Furthermore, clients and customers will want instant ordering capabilities, and real-time inventory updates will be needed to give customers as much information about a product as possible before placing an order. For example, an automated email announcing a favored product is back in stock may be warranted to encourage repeat purchases by both B2B and B2C sales.
Think back to the brief mention of apps. Apps are everywhere, and there is a common aspect of most free apps. Advertisements are the life force of free apps, and you can use this to leverage more visibility and automated marketing for your company. Furthermore, many app-based marketing campaigns are incredibly simple to upload and manage. Primarily, you need to contact Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, or other online advertising agencies and create a PPC marketing campaign. This advertising is much cheaper than traditional advertising, and the ads are up and running in record-breaking time.
Mobile commerce is also empowering better inventory management. Distributors have access to more information collected and analyzed from consumers’ and businesses’ actions online, which translates into more data to use in creating forecasts. More importantly, data-based estimates enable distributors to redirect the flow of goods to areas where increased sales are likely. As a result, the supply chain becomes more proactive to the order completion process, reducing delays and costs along the way.
Mobile commerce is a revolution for distributors and the supply chain. Do not be fooled into thinking your competitors are not using mobile commerce. Your competition is already online, and it is time for you to make the move as well.