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    Wholesalers urged to boost engagement and sales with digital tools

    As customers seek cost-cutting initiatives, wholesalers should support using digital efficiencies to meet these demands, a new report has suggested.

    The UK Wholesale Online Report 2023, by market researcher Lumina Intelligence, provides wholesalers and suppliers with key insights to plan their e-commerce strategy for the year ahead.

    The report also urges wholesalers to consider implementing open banking, a powerful tool for cutting costs for businesses and customers, as more frequent ordering has driven a decline in basket spend.

    The report suggests that B2B WhatsApp API technology can help wholesalers deliver a more tailored service, boosting engagement and sales, adding that engaging with customers at the right time will be crucial for influencing impulsivity and purchase decisions.

    Noting how Sugro and Bestway are exploring how WhatsApp can drive engagement for members, the report said digitalising information for customers via WhatsApp will be a key opportunity for cutting costs and boosting sustainability.

    Wholesalers are also urged to collaborate with suppliers to optimise taxonomy and search functionality for customers, therefore improving experience. Bestway is best in class, as over one in three customers noted that their preferred method of receiving category advice is via websites/desktop, the report says.

    For suppliers, online order frequency is up, highlighting an opportunity to communicate through the online channel. Suppliers should ensure that communications regarding promotions are easily accessible across digital channels, the report suggested as they have greater opportunities to disrupt web and mobile browsing than in-depot browsing. Push notifications and personalised ads can disrupt the shopper’s journey and boost engagement.

    Suppliers also urged to open communications with customers on where they expect to find items. Almost 25 per cent of searches are refined as customers amend to achieve better results, and search terms including ‘vegan’ have soared in 2022. Digital spend should be in the right ratio to print spend for success in informing customers of categories, with websites being operators’ preferential way of finding out about categories.

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