Speed shopping: The wholesale distributors’ guide to competing with Amazon Go

9 January 2017 | BlueBridge One

Today, wholesale distributors are having to get to grips with an increased pace of trading, with next day shopping services such as Amazon Prime, and the ever growing array of same day or within the hour delivery and package tracking options ensuring that customers are receiving their goods faster than ever – and going elsewhere if expectations can’t be met. Providing a digital solution for browsing and ordering products to arrive as soon as possible is now essential for keeping up with speed-savvy consumers, who want the quickest possible turnaround from tapping the keys of their mobile device, to holding the item within their hands.

But with the introduction of Amazon Go, a physical shopping experience that literally requires zero queuing or checkout time, the retail giant is dramatically increasing the pressure on multi-channel distributors to provide a faster browsing-to-owning process than ever before.

Walk in and Go

Available to the public in 2017, Amazon Go stores will allow the customer to simply walk in to a bricks and mortar environment, select the staple food items they wish to purchase, and walk away without checking out – this is made possible through the use of highly advanced tracking sensors that identify which items a shopper has selected, to be automatically charged to the individual’s Amazon Prime account. It’s the ultimate use of technology for consumer convenience, and could revolutionise the way we are served (or not served) in-stores, or view our shopping trips altogether.

In order to compete with the immediacy of this innovation, multi-channel distributors will need to fulfil orders even more quickly in 2017, without a loss in accuracy or efficiency. For some, this will involve recognising that their digital enablement capabilities are lacking. This may involve launching a B2C ecommerce site, as well as a feature-rich site for B2B buyers, or re-evaluating the end-to-end processes and business systems that may be holding them back from operating at their most efficient levels.

A faster way of fulfilling orders

Assuming that a wholesale distributor is up to speed with its stock management, order fulfilment and back-end processes using the right ERP solution, they can look at raising their game at what is increasingly becoming the critical metric – delivery. The expectation of prompt receipt of goods will necessitate a review of traditional logistics; while the prevailing delivery method of the past two decades has been the hub and spoke approach of courier delivery services, distribution is now embracing emerging systems and technology such as click and collect, robotic stock picking, and even drones, in order to satisfy today’s highly connected and busy consumer.

Compete, or become obsolete

While the impact of Amazon and its digital commerce revolution is undeniably disrupting the wholesale distribution industry, there are ways to compete, and in doing so, improve the way that your multi-channel operation does business. By selling your products across a variety of channels, better managing the way you control inventory and deliver orders, and upgrading your technological systems to improve end-to-end working efficiencies, you’ll be able to cater to an increasingly immediate shopping culture. One where the future may involve walking away without paying at a till point.

BlueBridge One can help you to improve your distribution strategy for 2017.

If you’re ready to develop or improve your multi-channel strategy, and provide a faster fulfilment service than ever before, we can help. Visit BlueBridge One online to see how ERP business management software can help you to scale your processes, manage your back office activities, integrate systems and improve working efficiencies.

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