Home Opinion Digitalisation | Editor’s Viewpoint March/April ’21

Digitalisation | Editor’s Viewpoint March/April ’21

The theme of the viewpoint for this month is digitalisation, the ongoing pandemic has forced businesses to think and act differently, and turning to the internet to increase sales is part of that.   

There is also going to be a bit of repetition on this as I have spoken about this before, but isn’t life just a series of repetitious behaviours anyway? Eat sleep, rave repeat – no that’s a different one, ignore that, at least for a few more months anyway! Life certainly feels like it’s on repeat at the moment, accepting this new life after a brief disturbance to the old ways of doing things is now a stark reality for everyone.  However, as much as the ‘new normal’ is now just ‘normal’ and the old normal is now the ‘old normal’ there are some new things becoming normal – get it? Well, it made sense in my head.

The ‘new normal’ – ok it’s the last time I use that I use a tired cliché today – has seen so many people turn to the internet to socialise with friends, see and connect with family and to do business. Ready or not the ‘new normal’ new way of doing things has accelerated the digital transformation in many aspects of life and the electrical wholesale market is not immune to those changes. Undoubtedly the industry was already on the road towards a digital transformation, not only in the simple buying and selling of electrical goods on ecommerce platforms but in the wider, more general sense across all areas of business include despatch, holding stock and delivery confirmation etc.  Whilst I know many of you have already embraced these changes including dipping your toes into the world of social media, many will have seen a huge leap forward from where they expected, and had planned to be, this time last year.

A 2020 survey from the EDA found that the digitisation of the industry and competing with big online sellers was one of the most pressing business concerns amongst wholesalers. Although other factors have certainly played a part, such as the buying behaviours following a similar pattern to that in the consumer markets (the likes of Amazon and ebay that dominate this market have seen sales increase rapidly in the last year) the effect of Covid has also accelerated this trend by up to five years quicker than anticipated. It is no wonder that this is a concern to wholesalers who are suddenly expected to rapidly accelerate their digital expansion strategy whilst having to battle with the other after effects of the pandemic, such as a drop in product availability and furloughing staff amongst many other headaches.

Although, understandably, this may not be at the top of most wholesalers’ priority lists, keeping one eye on the latest digital trends will be vital to ensure you don’t get left behind. Adapting to the buying behaviours of your customers will keep you at the forefront of the rapidly evolving digital landscape. Integrating digital processes into an existing business can be a minefield and involves a lot of expertise and knowledge  on a complex topic, so don’t be afraid to outsource for those expertise in order to put your business in the best possible position to prosper in the next five years and beyond.

Enjoy the issue.

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