116. Three Steps To Winning At Cloud Ecommerce in 2021

Future-Shock Cloud Ecommerce is Here

In 2018, well over $100B will be spent on digital cloud ecommerce capabilities. Even the large public distributors are spending 10’s of millions on upgrading digital-selling capabilities.

The telecommunications companies have started, in parallel, a race to build out 5G wireless bandwidth starting in major cities. By 2021, Best B2B customers in top 50 cities will…

  1. Be increasingly digital-buying Millennials who don’t want regular rep calls.
  2. Have 5g phones providing 100-fold increases in bandwidth. 15 to 90 second augmented video infomercials will be prevalent.
  3. Be starting their product discovery journeys on Amazon (if vertical marketplaces don’t emerge).

Manufacturers will have to advertise on Amazon to be where the eyeballs are. If an end-user wants 24/7 real-time e-help, brands will provide it. If end-users want to spot-buy something direct from the factories, then new Omnichannels will deliver. (Some dis-intermediation for distributors?)

Channel selling will shift significantly from reps pushing products to end-users, to end-users pulling information and products to them digitally. Most non-spot-buying, sales volume will still go through traditional distributors. But, these trends will combine to pressure traditional, bundled, selling-service (rep) costs, covered by traditional product-markups.

The Three Steps to Winning at Cloud Selling

Most distributors’ Step One has been to bolt on better web-selling capabilities to their highly-evolved business model. But, more small orders with a high fulfillment-cost structure yields modest sales growth and shrinking profits.

The combined strains of the Big Switch to Cloud Ecommerce ‘21 on selling models will force many into Step Two: Transition Chaos.

Some will either make it to or jump directly to Stage Three: invent new, “from-scratch”, separate Cloud-Ecommerce business models aligned with serving targeted, digital end-users. Warehousing may be outsourced to robotic facilities. The digital service models, prices, and terms will vary with end-users’ choices.

And, in parallel big-volume accounts’ replenishment systems, services and selling must be rethought and digitally assisted.

Analytics For The Big-Switch Challenges

If suppliers and distributors have shared SKU-profitability analytics, then they can co-create win-win Omnichannel solutions. The same analytics can guide distributors in rethinking their sales force – skills, assignments, and compensation – to sell better replenishment systems to bigger, best accounts.

For more, on analytics for Cloud Ecommerce ’21:

  1. Request my “Core Renewal Roadmap” document and/or a virtual visit/demonstration (bruce@merrifield.com).
  2. Attend my one-day seminar (www.merrifieldseminar.com). (Or, help me get it to your city in ’19)

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