Driving Traffic Through Wholesaler Websites

Over the past 10 years, retailers have embraced the migration to web in delivered wholesale, with 96% of retailers now placing their orders online rather than over the phone.  Focusing on our current uncertain times, the spread of Coronavirus has resulted in a growth in app traffic and  revenue. Moving from Pre Coronavirus-Uncertainty to Peak Coronavirus-Quarantine, the week beginning the 15th of March has seen the highest app usage to date.  Most noticeably, groceries have seen a spike in app revenue, as retailers cater to consumers stocking up on shelf stable foods.  Non-foods have experienced a similar increase in revenue, particularly since the beginning of the week of the 15th of March, as products such as toilet paper and cleaning supplies have been in high demand. 

Considering this, and the growing importance of the online channel, ease of navigation of wholesaler websites and apps should be a top priority.  However, as retailers are less satisfied with wholesalers’ websites this year, there are improvements to be made across web and app to improve user experience. 

As basket building becomes more routine, disruptive advertising can disrupt retailers on autopilot.

Key in improving the retailer experience on a wholesaler web or app is improving the path to purchase.  On web, optimising the favourites tool and search function are key to driving sales and improving the retailer journey, while on app, ensuring the barcode tool is functional is the most important. With retailers using favourites and barcode tools in addition to search, basket building is increasingly routine, as retailers spend less time scrolling through product lists and category pages.   This highlights the importance of correctly tagging all products, and targeting retailers who are shopping more routinely with disruptive advertising.  

46% of time spent on a wholesaler app is spent on the homepage, which is a key page for media activity.  However, with baskets on apps typically build using the barcode scanner, rather than by browsing through category pages, NPD is easily overlooked.  Where retailers have traditionally turned to manufacturer reps and trade publications for category advice, websites and apps can increasingly offer such advice.  In addition to NPD focused adverts, dedicated pages on site and app should encourage retailers to add new products to their range, offering range and merchandising advice to price sensitive, risk averse retailers.

Retailers are building less frequent, but bigger baskets on web this year. 

Retailers on web typically build baskets gradually - baskets are now built over six sessions, up from five sessions last year.  With more sessions to reach retailers between transactions, there are opportunities to reach them with promotions as well as non-transactional information such as category advice, and as retailers browse between baskets, to target them with more adverts.  To improve engagement with media activity, notifications should be optimised, and increased personalisation is important.

Increased personalisation is available on web and app, but remains a missed opportunity.

Targeting retailers with promotional activity based on profiles and previous purchases is under-utilised on wholesaler websites and apps. With the increased threat of pure players like Amazon Business with already sophisticated targeted marketing disrupting the delivered wholesale market, personalised offers are an important way of building customer loyalty and driving engagement.  Personalisation, already used in B2C retail, will become increasingly optimised with innovation in AI, enabling wholesalers to build retailer profiles based on user behaviour and demographics. This will allow notifications and promotions to be shown only to retailers who are likely to engage with them.




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