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April 18, 2017

Most distributor customers would buy more products from their distributor if they knew what else was offered. E-commerce can expose those additional product offerings and prevent customers from buying elsewhere, according to Bob Lewis of B2X Partners, in Build Revenue with Existing Customers.

“There’s money in their customer base that distributors are just not getting today,” Lewis says. “When it comes to customers – whether their distributor is in electrical or industrial or HVAC or something else – we ask them if they’re purchasing those kinds of products online from somebody, and 70 percent are buying products online today from somebody.”

Growing revenue from existing customers is “low-hanging fruit,” says Lewis, whose company helps distributors build e-commerce solutions and is AD’s partner on its eContent program. But revenue leakage is a problem for many distributors because of insufficient e-commerce and marketing efforts.

"The percentage that is leaking off somewhere else right now is something they can start bringing it back in-house,” says Lewis, who likens e-commerce to a digital branch. “Getting them in and exposing them to the full breadth of products that you carry will generate incremental revenue for you alone."

Letting existing customers know what else it offered is what prompted North Valley Distributing, a Redding, CA-based electronics and electrical distributor, to launch an e-commerce site in January, according to General Manager Bob Keeran.

“I really don’t care if I ever sell something on our web storefront to someone who is not an existing customer,” Keeran says. “The idea was to make it easier for (existing customers) to gather information from us.”

Read more about how e-commerce and other practices can increase wallet share from your customer base in Build Revenue with Existing Customers.

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