Top New Trends for Wholesale Distribution in 2021

3 min readJan 12, 2021

Wholesale distribution typically involves buying products in bulk, storing them, and then selling them off to other businesses in smaller quantities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, wholesale distribution has played a pivotal role in maintaining global supply chains. Despite its importance, the wholesale industry has undergone significant changes in the past year. Due to drastically shifted demand patterns, wholesalers have had difficulty determining what items to procure and store. Additionally, 75% of wholesale distributors have reported transportation issues due to COVID-19 restrictions, and nearly 50% have reduced inventory amidst the uncertainty. With a recovery expected to start soon, here are the top new trends for the wholesale distribution industry as 2021 begins.

As 2021 begins, wholesale distributors will implement omnichannel selling, digital marketing, and other new technologies to stay ahead of their competition.

Developing Omnichannel Selling:

Omnichannel selling is a sales approach that focuses on providing seamless customer experiences whether the client is shopping from a mobile device, a laptop, or in-person. The Harvard Business Review reported that 73% of all customers are omnichannel customers; in other words, these customers use multiple channels while completing a purchase. The key difference between omnichannel selling and all other sales approaches is that customers have the flexibility to shop however they please. Additionally, the Harvard Business review found that omnichannel customers spend 4% more on every shopping occasion in the store and 10% more online than single-channel customers. In 2021, wholesale distributors should prepare for an increase in omnichannel selling.

Improving Digital Marketing and eCommerce:

As mentioned in a previous blog post, digital marketing and eCommerce are becoming increasingly important for all types of businesses. Wholesale distributors are investing in eCommerce platforms, so they can provide the same user-friendly ordering and customer experiences that their clients are used to online. With further improvement of digital marketing tactics like search engine optimization, wholesale distributors will become more discoverable and accessible by potential customers Additionally, by implementing online payment systems, wholesalers will be able to easily conduct price negotiations and finalize sales online.

Implementing New Technology:

In two other previous blog posts, we discussed how automation and new technology will impact the construction industry; similarly, these advancements will also affect wholesale distribution. New tracking and automation innovations will allow wholesaler distributors to manage operations more effectively and make informed decisions about shipping, staffing, and warehousing. Additionally, by utilizing new artificial intelligence systems, wholesalers will be able to easily access and analyze data, which will help improve planning and lower operations cost. As wholesalers continue to adapt to new problems, more technological advancements will emerge and contribute to the industry’s long-term success.

If you are in the wholesale industry, follow these developing trends to ensure your success for your business for years to come.

The Takeaways:

In the past months, distributors have been forced to shift infrastructure, inventory, and personnel to keep their businesses, global supply chains, and the entire economy functioning. Although the COVID-19 crisis has hurt many wholesale distributors, the industry will begin to recover during 2021. By developing omnichannel sales approaches, improving digital marketing and eCommerce systems, and implementing new technologies, wholesale distributors will adapt and improve their businesses. If you are a wholesale distributor in need of any delivery assistance, reach out to PartRunner and make us one of your delivery partners.

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