The calamitous pandemic that has gripped the globe for over a year has significantly changed consumer behaviour. People are making fewer trips to the stores to comply with lockdown measures, but as a result they’re buying more during each trip. In addition, as the economic impact hits consumers who are unable to work during lockdown, value over price has become a key differentiator. Price comparison wars favoured by supermarkets are no longer enough to entice people looking for a bargain.
Consequently, many people have changed how and where they shop to accommodate their desire to get everything in one go. It will come as no surprise that there was an exponential shift to online shopping in 2020 as people looked for the best deals at the click of a button. According to recent reports by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), in November 2020 alone, the value of sales from online commerce was 74.7% higher when compared to sales in November 2019.
Andy Pratt, Business Development Executive for Oporteo, says there is a great opportunity for B2B businesses to capitalise on these new consumer trends. “wholesalers need to differentiate themselves and compete for customer’s attention and loyalty. When many retailers and hospitality venues have been forced to close their doors, opening a direct-to-consumer channel is essential for competitive advantage and growth.”
Spikes in demand and the ever-increasing volume of online orders has meant many wholesalers are looking for solutions that will help them expand their customer base and increase their resilience to market disruption. Andy says, “As the pandemic continues to shift everyone online, wholesalers are competing with a growing number of online retailers and digital disruptors. However, many of our customers have seen the value of direct-to-consumer ecommerce whilst traditional sales channels are inaccessible.”
Oporteo has been undertaking rapid deployments of direct-to-consumer (D2C) solutions to help their customers survive and thrive during these trying times. These have included implementing their B2B ecommerce platform with click and collect functionality for commercial and public use, mobile sales solutions so businesses can enable sales from stock on-the-move. Plus, white label ecommerce solutions so that B2B customers can generate additional revenue online.
However, the success of a direct-to-consumer approach isn’t as simple as just implementing technology according to Andy, who has been advising businesses on a strategic level. “In order for this type of business model to work, there are some key considerations that businesses need to take on board” he explains.
“Expanding your customer base to include consumers will require various operations across the businesses to be changed, from Marketing and Sales to Customer Support and Warehouse Operations” says Andy. He continues, “Consumers have slightly different needs that businesses have to accommodate, such as a mobile responsive website, relevant payment and delivery options, VAT inclusive pricing, and appropriate customer support in place to process enquiries and returns.”
As a result of increased interest from businesses looking to better utilise their digital platforms, Oporteo has written an ultimate guide on how to expand B2B operations to D2C. Their goal is to help wholesalers and distributors take advantage of changing consumer behaviours they can maximise their sales potential.