Top 3 Distribution Technology Trends for 2013 - Modern Distribution Management

Log In

Top 3 Distribution Technology Trends for 2013

A generational shift is contributing to the increasingly rapid adoption of three technology trends.

Technology is driving a lot of the trends we’re seeing in wholesale distribution markets going into the new year.

\"TheDownload a Free Chapter:
The Little Black Book of Strategic Planning for Distributors

Submit your email address below to receive a chapter of Brent Grover’s new book. When you submit your email you will be signed up to receive weekly distribution news updates.


Part of this is due to a generational shift that is taking hold in the industry. Up-and-coming leaders are increasingly driving initiatives at their companies to build out a more sophisticated online presence and integrate mobile into the workflow.

Here are the top three technology trends to keep in mind as you map out your 2013:

1. E-commerce is gaining critical mass.
Each year, we report that distributors have growing interest in building a stronger e-commerce platform for their businesses. This year was a banner year for the technology, apparent when more than 85 percent of distributors in a 2012 survey told MDM that they had plans to upgrade their website in the following 12 months. E-commerce functionality was one of the top improvements they wanted to make. The interest is widespread among both small and large distributors, and distributors that don’t finally take the trend seriously risk losing business in 2013.

2. Mobile is becoming a ‘game-changer.’
The ability to go mobile has had a dramatic impact on how distributors do business. Mobile has changed how salespeople do their jobs and how they access information. It also has changed how customers interact with distributors. Distributors are taking advantage of this trend not only to provide another channel for purchasing but also to grow mindshare with customers. Customer behavior has also been shown to be different on mobile devices than on a traditional computer. Grainger, for example, reported recently that its customers frequently reserve their orders on mobile for will call – over one-third of visitors on mobile versus just 2 percent on

3. Analytics is taking center stage.
Advancing technology is allow distributors to crunch data faster than ever before, resulting in the ability to track trends and be more strategic in applying sales resources. That said, there’s a reality gap in what distributors want to do and what they are doing when it comes to the Big Data trend. But the demand for better data for better decision-making is definitely out there. We’ll be watching this particular trend closely in 2013 to see how distributors big and small use data to improve their businesses.

In the latest issue of MDM Premium, our twice-monthly newsletter for distribution executives, we present 12 Trends in Distribution for 2013, an annual look at key issues and trends. In that article, you can read more on the above three technology trends and nine more trends affecting distribution in the new year.

Share this article

About the Author
Recommended Reading
Leave a Reply

Leave a Comment

Sign Up for the MDM Update Newsletter

The MDM update newsletter is your best source for news and trends in the wholesale distribution industry.

Get the MDM Update Newsletter

Wholesale distribution news and trends delivered right to your inbox.

Sign-up for our free newsletter and get:

  • Up-to-date news in a quick-to-read format
  • Free access to webcasts, podcasts and live events
  • Exclusive whitepapers, research and reports
  • And more!


articles left

Want more Premium content from MDM?

Subscribe today and get:

  • New issues twice each month
  • Unlimited access to, including 10+ years of archived data
  • Current trends analysis, market data and economic updates
  • Discounts on select store products and events

Subscribe to continue reading

MDM Premium Subscribers get:

  • Unlimited access to
  • 1 year digital subscription, with new issues twice a month
  • Trends analysis, market data and quarterly economic updates
  • Deals on select store products and events



You have one free article remaining

Subscribe to MDM Premium to get unlimited access. Your subscription includes:

  • Two new issues a month
  • Access to 10+ years of archived data on
  • Quarterly economic updates, trends analysis and market data
  • Store and event discounts

To continue reading, you must be an MDM Premium subscriber.

Join other distribution executives who use MDM Premium to optimize their business. Our insights and analysis help you enter the right new markets, turbocharge your sales and marketing efforts, identify business partners that help you scale, and stay ahead of your competitors.

Register for full access

By providing your email, you agree to receive announcements from us and our partners for our newsletter, events, surveys, and partner resources per MDM Terms & Conditions. You can withdraw consent at any time.

Learn More about Custom Reports

Request a Market Prospector Demo

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.