Wholesalers and distributors are facing the “Perfect Storm for Mass Disruption” in the wholesale distribution marketplace, and the only way to weather the storm is with innovation. Consider the following two disruptive forces creating this storm:

1. The previous generation of business owners, buyers and contractors in your customer base is being replaced by new tech-savvy web and mobile users. These new customers are used to researching and buying products online. They expect free and rapid shipping management, generous return policies, and the ability to price-shop without picking up the phone. They use mobile phones and tablets to research and order what they need anytime, anywhere.

2. Amazon has turned its sights on the B2B marketplace by launching AmazonSupply.com. This is a disruptive new mega-competitor not to be taken lightly. With $61 billion in 2012 revenue, Amazon sells more product online than its 12 biggest competitors combined, including Walmart, Target and other big box chains.

When you combine these two factors, it’s easy to predict that traditional “feet on the street” distribution companies will need to evolve to survive. The sooner they innovate, the better the chance to prevent irreversible customer churn that is typical when disruptive technologies like AmazonSupply.com hit their stride.

What innovative strategies can distribution companies implement to pre-empt the Perfect Storm of Mass Disruption? Everything from implementing a B2B Ecommerce and mobile strategy, to selling through Amazon, developing online marketing and pricing strategies, extending product selections by drop shipping, and investing in personnel that have the technical skills to stay on top of it all.

It’s precisely because of NetSuite’s interest in innovation that we are a key sponsor of the Unleash WD conference being held in Chicago on October 29-30th.

A critical piece of the innovation puzzle is to choose the right software platform that lets distributors execute their online strategies effectively and efficiently, while keeping them ahead of the technology curve and this is exactly where NetSuite can help distributors.

We are looking forward to working with UnleashWD and seeing what innovation they help drive.

The following infographic gives some perspective on what we won’t see at Unleash!

-Ranga Bodla, Director of Industry Marketing, Manufacturing W/D