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Ecommerce continues to revolutionise the wholesale sector as The Office of National Statistics (ONS) reveals wholesales received £165 billion in online sales alone in 2017.

Ecommerce continues to be key for achieving sales growth
The annual ONS ecommerce survey collated the latest online activity from businesses in various sectors across the UK. Results show that total ecommerce sales by businesses with over 10 employees was £560 billion in 2017. This is a 16% increase from £484 billion in 2016.

Wholesalers are at the forefront of ecommerce
If you thought that the majority of these sales were within retail, then guess again. An analysis of sales by industry shows the wholesale sector charging ahead with a total of £165 billion in ecommerce sales. This is £120 billion more than the sales within the retail sector (£44.4 billion) and is over 20% higher than total sales in 2016 (£129.4 billion).

This comes as no surprise to the team at Business Computer Projects (BCP) who have been keeping track with their own ecommerce growth index. Andy Pratt, Business Development for BCP says “Since our analysis began in 2015 we have seen record revenue and order volume growth online. Demonstrating that wholesale customers are adopting ecommerce at an accelerating rate.”

Website sales growing whilst EDI sales stall
The ONS bulletin includes sales received via website and sales received via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). The latest figures show that website sales grew by 21% to £300 billion in 2017, whilst EDI sales only saw an 11% increase. Overall, growth in EDI sales has been slower than website sales over the past 8 years. This is an ongoing pattern BCP continue to see as businesses move towards ecommerce websites, which are easier and more cost-effective to implement.

However, when it comes to sales over a website, the wholesale sector is once again way ahead with £70.5 billion, compared with £41.1 billion from the retail sector.

Big businesses are leading the way
There is a clear correlation between business size and the total number of website sales. The largest increase in website sales has been in businesses with over 1,000 employees. Since 2009, website sales for businesses with between 10 – 49 employees have grown 337 %. This demonstrates that more and more businesses are getting on board with ecommerce and the benefits it brings.

Digital marketing a key part of ecommerce success
In this year’s statistical bulletin the ONS also looked at the impact of digital marketing. 54% of larger businesses are utilising digital marketing channels to maximise their website. Paid advertising, social media, content marketing and SEO being the most popular. This is helping them promote their products and services and increase sales. The ONS also found that larger businesses have better website facilities, such as descriptions of goods and services.

However, within the wholesale sector, BCP undertook their own research and found that 62% of businesses are missing out on digital marketing opportunities. This is because there is often no digital marketing budget or there is a lack of resources and suitable skills to implement a digital strategy.

BCP helping wholesalers survive and thrive in a fast-paced digital world
As a leading software provider to the wholesale sector, BCP understands that digital technology is shaking up old business models. Andy says “Investing in a suitable ecommerce platform needs to be a priority for wholesalers in 2019 if they want to achieve sales growth.”

However, in an overpopulated market, BCP understands that it can be confusing to know which ecommerce solution is best. So they built Oporteo. A carefully designed B2B platform that delivers real-time benefits to you and your customers. Its sector-specific features now facilitate 100s of millions of pounds in annual revenue for BCP’s clients.

Andy concludes, “We don’t see digital technology as a challenge to be overcome, rather as an opportunity to grow. We help businesses embrace the power of digital technology so they can achieve long-term growth and stay ahead of the competition.”

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