The wholesale digital playing field

The wholesale playing field is changing. Digitalisation is causing a power struggle in the value chain. Manufacturers are finding ever shorter routes to retailers and consumers. With the implementation of an effective digital strategy, wholesalers can protect the connecting role between supply and demand. In this article, we outline the playing field and the digital tools to go to war.

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    Ready for digitisation battle

    Wholesale is currently one of the fastest-growing industries. Yet Wholesale remains reluctant to invest and lags behind in digitalisation. Compared to other industries, wholesalers 20% have fewer digital resources available. Without digital catching up, wholesalers remain the stuffy position in the supply chain between retailers and manufacturers. With these in dire straits, it is a prime opportunity to use IT to occupy space in the value chain.


    We cannot deny that the corona crisis has put the industry on edge. Lockdowns and international restrictions create both advantages and disadvantages for trade. Abrupt production shutdowns and volatile international transport rules make deliveries unpredictable. A flexible supply chain is therefore essential in these times. To meet this complex logistics challenge, it is important to integrate as many processes as possible. A flexible traceable and self-managing supply chain pulls the longest straw here. 

    The closing of shops during the lockdown has forced wholesalers to reduce the route to consumers. By deploying digital platforms, it is possible to approach customers directly and fill the retailer's gap. This also provides opportunities to collect data and set more efficient sourcing and pricing policies. 

    Data is key

    The future of commerce lies in data collection and analysis. The growing amount of digital information that is available is shifting Wholesale's business model. Where previously the focus was on managing the flow of goods, today the value lies in a data-driven supply chain. Having data here provides the competitive advantage and is a requirement in a future-proof business model. Data-driven wholesale offers the opportunity to grab space in the value chain.


    With increasing competition, margins are coming under pressure. To remain resilient to this, cost efficiency is essential. Besides optimising the supply-chain using effective data analysis, costs can be saved in the transaction structure. Manual partner agreements and monthly quotes are cumbersome, error-prone and also pricey. Using blockchain technology can make all the difference here. By automating processes and minimising intermediate steps and people, it is possible to save a lot of money. Smart contract management and new technology like 5G and Internet of Things ensure fast, transparent and reliable transactions.

    As the digital transition of wholesale is still at a relatively early stage, we can learn from other sectors. Here, the potential for new technology to disrupt the market emerges strongly. Companies that embrace innovation early and prioritise innovation often have the longest staying power. The most potential from IT can be gained by integrating it into the core of the business as an entire infrastructure rather than applying separate tools for specific problems.