The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Some Wholesalers Go Retail Online

With already tight margins in a struggling economy, some distributors are looking for creative ways to survive, and hopefully make a dollar or two along the way. A recent article from the Wall Street Journal at WSJ.com (subscription required) highlighted how some wholesalers are taking on a virtual retailer role to expand their sales base. Companies like GlassTileStore.com, operated by glass and tile wholesaler Eli Mechlovitz in New York, are setting consumer-focused Web sites for direct orders to fill gaps left by retail and other commercial clients that are also struggling.
 
Any commitment to selling online, whether to a distributor's traditional customers or direct-to-consumer, requires a ...

With already tight margins in a struggling economy, some distributors are looking for creative ways to survive, and hopefully make a dollar or two along the way. A recent article from the Wall Street Journal at WSJ.com (subscription required) highlighted how some wholesalers are taking on a virtual retailer role to expand their sales base. Companies like GlassTileStore.com, operated by glass and tile wholesaler Eli Mechlovitz in New York, are setting consumer-focused Web sites for direct orders to fill gaps left by retail and other commercial clients that are also struggling.
 
Any commitment to selling online, whether to a distributor’s traditional customers or direct-to-consumer, requires a willingness to invest in the infrastructure of an online e-commerce site. In addition, in this case, wholesalers have to be willing to deal with consumer concerns directly rather than relying on the retailers of the products.
 
Karen Lynch, vice president of Global Wholesale Distribution at SAP, says similar trends have already started to make some headway in European countries. During our conversation for an upcoming report on the State of the Distribution Software Industry in MDM, Lynch said these distributors are looking for ways to grow without the challenges of moving into a new market in a different country with different regulations.
 
The shift may not be for every distributor but for those willing to invest the time, money and energy needed to adapt to a new business model, the efforts can pay off. Mechlovitz’s Web site is matching historic sales from the traditional wholesale business -which he tells WSJ he plans to continue to operate as well.

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