Everyone is talking about digital transformation. For some it’s the key to success, for others it’s an unpredictable monster. It’s responsible for a process of great structural change in operating procedures, markets and business models. It has not been possible to hold back this digital transformation for a long time now. Those who close their eyes to it, who hold tight to old habits and inefficient processes, will be left behind. Markets are in global competition and only the fastest will win.
So the question thus arises as to how one can take on and optimally integrate digital transformation. In sales in particular, there is huge potential for growth through digital transformation. It starts with cost reductions and an increase in efficiency, customer retention, and leads all the way to the chance of being able to position oneself more strongly.
The complexity of digital transformation is due to the fact that it is not about one single phenomenon. Digital transformation is a completely new realignment of our society, markets and companies. It is where three essential developments of our modern world meet: digitization, cross-linking and mobility.
Digitization is no longer something new, we were familiarized with it in the 1980s when private households began to acquire CDs. Almost all company information is digitized today. However, this leads to so-called digital silos: the information might be saved, but not every employee can access it. This is why digitization only becomes truly interesting through cross-linking. Unfortunately, in practice there are quite a few shortcomings. Information has to be carefully gathered, copied or even typed up and manually put together. This leads to media breaks and time-consuming tasks, costs and high error sources. Cross-linking data and the resulting optimization of processes will become essential for the efficiency of a company in the future.
Mobility is the third development that really gets digital transformation going. It is no longer just young people who are almost symbiotically connected to their smart phones. The smart phone has become an inherent component of our lives and our constant companion – whether at work or in our time off. The boundaries are becoming increasingly fuzzy and this has far-reaching consequences: the user is independent of time and space. Based on existing technologies, employees can already work freely and independently of any location. Although many bosses are still reluctant, mainly because they are suspicious of their employees, the classic office as a workplace will continue to change in the future. It won’t be the presence of employees, but rather the results they bring in that will be in the forefront.
Digital transformation changes sales
Speed is a competitive factor. In the age of digital sales, the actual purchase decision takes place long before logging into a webshop or an eCommerce app. The customer has already completed a “customer journey” and gathered information on related platforms, blogs and social media. Blinking banners and elaborate graphics no longer entice customers, to the contrary. When a customer enters a sales platform, they want to make a purchase quickly and directly. They want the product: right here, right now! Speed and user friendliness are by now more important than colorful images. Furthermore, the “search – find – buy” functions need to be run and depicted in a flawless and intelligent way. They are at the heart of any modern shopping solution.
This also applies to B2B sales. Gone are the times in which customers consider a delivery time of several weeks to be “normal.” After all, their end customers also expect quick deliveries. Just-in-time and same-day-delivery also apply to B2B sales. It is therefore even more important to trim the processes and programs to achieve the optimum in efficiency and speed.
Ideal in its use: an eCommerce app that is independent of location and runs very quickly. eCommerce apps implement all three components of digital transformation: digitization, cross-linking and mobility.
Professional eCommerce apps create clear added value for customers. All information is available quickly and around the clock. The purchase takes place independently of opening hours and location, whenever and wherever the customer desires. eCommerce apps not only help to quicken the selling process, but also logistics, acquisition and administration profit from them. Processes become more efficient and companies more competitive.
One impressive and successful practical example is the Sonepar B2B eCommerce app. The customers, who are mainly electricians, can order electrical equipment easily and conveniently directly from the construction site. And when there’s no internet connection? No problem: Should this be the case, the selected articles are simply added to the shopping cart and the order is placed as soon as there is a connection again. Deliveries directly to the construction site take place within 24 hours.
New sales strategy for the wholesale trade in the age of digital transformation
The company Sonepar opportunely recognized the sign of the times and adjusted and developed the changed digital framework conditions accordingly. For the wholesale trade, this means: push forward with more innovations and invest in new technologies.
The digital transformation of the wholesale trade opens up new opportunities and sales channels in the respective industries. With their logistics, their customer networks, their extensive product range and their detailed product knowledge, wholesalers have a comprehensive basis at their disposal that should be digitized, cross-linked and made available to customers at all times. New technologies such as eCommerce apps help in creating a measurable added value for customers.
It is now primarily up to management to accept digital transformation as an impetus, to sustainably reconfigure the added value in the value chain and to develop a customized sales strategy for a digital world.