For most businesses, competing on price is ultimately a losing proposition. Instead, knowledge, selection and turnaround are the hallmarks of the profitable and well-positioned company. For wholesale/distributors, their customers demand a comprehensive, reliable inventory that they can reach whenever it is convenient for them. That means eCommerce.

It’s a realization many have already come to accept. In a survey of wholesale/distribution companies, "improving e-commerce capabilities" beat out the expansion or addition of any other sales channel as a strategy to build revenue over the next 12 months, with over one-third of respondents ready for enhanced eCommerce. Additionally, eCommerce tied with customer relationship management (CRM) in the top spot in response to a question which asked which technologies WD companies would explore in the next 12 months.

Yet, providing real differentiation means more than just static pages of inventory. That's why modern ecommerce platforms are the way forward—major trading relationships are being forged and maintained on powerful, yet user-friendly sites. Here are the five reasons companies are turning to innovative cloud eCommerce solutions to establish and maintain their next competitive advantages:


1. Whether they're buying MP3s or machinery, buyers prefer the ease-of-use and accessibility conventions of the eCommerce experience that grew in the B2C space. Rather than cling to old technology with green screens and trading hubs, B2B needs to not only provide B2C features and functionality but also the payment methods and processes of the B2B world like terms and volume discounts.

2. Powerful eCommerce enables you to reach parts of the world you just couldn't reach before. Staying wedded to a regional mindset can hurt your prospects for growth. In many industries, distributors have loosened or even eliminated their old regional exclusivity pacts. Take the example of distributor, Monterey Lighting Solutions which is able to compete with much larger businesses thanks to the flexibility of the cloud. A powerful eCommerce solution helps your business reach buyers wherever they are, without the need to add staff and overhead in satellite offices.

3. The depth and effectiveness of your product catalog is a competitive advantage. Building out your eCommerce experience doesn't mean simply putting up a data sheet and "add to cart" button for every SKU in stock. Modern eCommerce platforms give you the power to merchandise solutions personalized to your customers based on the buyer's profile, buying and viewing history, and even the search terms used to reach your site. This context-sensitive personalization gives companies a chance to demonstrate superior product knowledge and earn loyalty.

4. Organizations need reliable and real-time links between their eCommerce front-end and the equally powerful inventory management, order management, CRM, financials, marketing and reporting systems that power the back office. A stand-alone online store can't deliver thekind of insight to efficiently run and grow business.

5. A single eCommerce system that can facilitate supplier purchases and management as well as sell to end customers means businesses can operate efficiently, speeding delivery times and facilitating orders. As the lines between suppliers and customers blur, having one system to manage them all allows a company to react swiftly to changing business conditions.

We can help transform your business into a modern eCommerce contender. Register at this link for a webinar presentation and live demo of NetSuite SuiteCommerce, the world's only cloud commerce platform to provide a complete, customer-centric eCommerce solution. On Wednesday, February 20 from 10-11 a.m. PT (1-2 p.m. ET) we will have key capabilities on display, all of them closely coupled to the needs of the modern business.

-Ranga Bodla - Director, Industry Marketing, Wholesale Distribution and Manufacturing