NEW YORK, Oct. 14, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Handshake, the emerging leader in B2B Commerce technology for manufacturers and distributors, today announced key findings from its 2015 Wholesale Technology & Sales Survey Report. Exploring how wholesale distribution companies are changing the way they sell and deliver products to their customers, the report highlights a shift in technology investments to front-end sales processes, and the need for improvements in operational efficiency.
"In an industry known historically for its resistance to change, developments from today's on-demand economy are fueling a transformation that's quickly changing the face of wholesale distribution," said Glen Coates, CEO of Handshake. "Our report – the first of its kind – takes a closer look at how rapid-fire advancements in consumer technology are seeping into the business world, and how manufacturers and distributors are making more investments in efficiency, sales enablement, and customer experiences."
According to the report, wholesalers cited order writing inefficiencies as their biggest pain point, followed by limited access to accurate information. To address these challenges, wholesalers are adopting digital solutions for sales teams to boost their effectiveness and increase order volumes. Of the 39% of wholesalers using order writing software, 49% of those report that orders are submitted from the field to the back office in less than an hour versus 17% that use manual methods. Streamlining administrative tasks traditionally associated with the sales process is enabling sales representatives to focus more on customer discussions.
In addition, better preparation for customer meetings is becoming a big priority for businesses. For example, 67% of respondents would like their sales reps to have their company's best sellers on-hand during in-person appointments, while 61% would like them to have the customer's performance history. Wholesalers are recognizing that sales reps armed with detailed information provide a more personalized experience for their buyers.
Wholesale customers' expectations have continued to shift, with more of them expecting a consumer-like buying experience when doing their jobs. This shift has prompted wholesalers to further expand the level of service they offer customers by delivering self-service B2B eCommerce experiences that are designed for the wholesale buying process.
Of the wholesalers surveyed, 44% already have implemented a B2B eCommerce solution, while nearly a quarter (22%) of them have 40% or more of their customer base placing orders online. And 55% of those have seen significant growth in their B2B eCommerce channel over the last 12 months. The expectation of 24/7 online ordering will only become more common among buyers as more wholesalers provide the option.
"Those who aren't planning on making these investments in the next 12 months must consider it now or risk falling behind competitors," said Coates. "For those who currently have a solution in place, prioritizing retailer adoption of this technology is key to reducing order processing costs, driving revenue, and increasing profitability."
To read the full report, download it here.
There were 410 respondents from companies self-designated as wholesale distributors across over a dozen industries, including industrial manufacturing, gift & homewares, food & beverage, accessories, apparel, beauty & cosmetics, medical instruments, sporting goods. Respondents included leaders within their respective organizations (with C-level leaders at 17%, VP-level leaders at 9%, and Director-level leaders at 15%), as well as, managers and individual contributors in Sales, Operations, Marketing, Finance and IT.
Founded in 2010, Handshake provides the B2B Commerce platform for manufacturers and distributors that powers standout ordering experiences both in-person and online. Companies using Handshake transform their sales effectiveness and drive operational efficiency, delighting customers and growing lasting relationships. The Handshake mobile app allows sales reps to write orders faster, and gives them the product and customer information they need to have more strategic customer conversations. Handshake Direct is a custom B2B e-commerce portal that complements field sales reps by providing customers the convenience of 24x7 ordering and product education. For more information, visit https://www.handshake.com/.
CONTACT: North 6th Agency, [email protected]