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How B2B Distributors Can Benefit From Taking Drop Ship More Seriously

Greg Snodgrass

Whether it’s B2C or B2B, ecommerce is driving more sales than ever before. It’s never been more competitive or more necessary for B2B companies to enhance their digital channels with capabilities that enable efficient order and fulfillment.

Taking a page from B2C retailers, who rely heavily on distributed fulfillment via drop ship, can help B2B distributors increase productivity, streamline interactions and expedite orders and fulfillment. At its core, drop ship is the direct shipment of goods from manufacturers, wholesalers, sellers directly to the customer on behalf of the B2B distributor that took the order. It’s a capital efficient (no owned inventory or additional warehouse investment needed) and effective way to get items to digitally-savvy customers faster.

Here’s a look at how B2B distributors can leverage drop ship to increase revenues and gain a competitive advantage.

Rapidly expand assortment  

With drop shipping, distributors can rapidly expand in key product categories to add depth and broaden their assortment. Customers are able to find what they need, when they need it. When properly implemented, drop shipping ensures customers can find products that are in stock with reliable delivery promises. Offering more options and choice eliminates customers’ need to look elsewhere—making their experience more convenient. These are critical ways to enhance customer loyalty and drive incremental revenues.

Drive fulfillment efficiencies  

With drop shipping, B2B orders are shipped directly from suppliers to the customer, their job site or to a branch for pick-up. Traditionally used primarily for fulfillment of ecommerce orders, drop shipping can also be used for other order types, such as electronic data interchange (EDI) or e-procurement. When implementing drop ship via a proven ecommerce enablement platform, B2B distributors are able to:

  • Gain valuable visibility through the availability of accurate, location aware, and up-to-date product inventory data, with the capability to display this information in real-time at the point of purchase (e.g., the distributor’s ecommerce web site), and in compliance with current business rules.
  • Access real-time monitoring and exception reporting to ensure inventory and order accuracy and enable staff to intervene in a timely manner to resolve issues.
  • Improve customer communications with the integration of order information and standard customer communications and messaging methods for order status and delivery.

Deliver an exceptional customer experience

With multiple suppliers on tap via the drop-ship model, distributors are ready for spikes in volume, while keeping the customer experience intact. Distributors can offer products delivered directly from a supplier to the customer or a branch location. Ecommerce enablement that centers around drop shipping strengthens the supply chain and streamlines inventory management to get items to customers faster.

A drop shipping program provides supply chain flexibility enabling distributors to quickly shift to meet changing customer expectations without the expense of owned inventory. Distributors can offer broader inventory and selection with drop shipping, eliminating customers’ need to look elsewhere and dramatically enhancing the customer experience.The right drop-ship partner matters

Many B2B distributors find success by relying on partners like CommerceHub. Leveraging CommerceHub’s proven drop-ship platform and ecommerce expertise enables them to keep driving growth and meeting customer expectations for a more digitally driven buying experience while not being encumbered by the technical operations of program management.

We’d love the opportunity to show you how a well-executed drop ship program can benefit your business. Contact us.

About the Author

Greg Snodgrass

Greg serves as Vice President of B2B and Distributor Partner Development, helping all layers of the B2B ecosystem find new ways to grow revenues and improve customer satisfaction. He has 25 years of ecommerce industry experience with specific focus on B2C retailers, B2B innovators and large scale Marketplace strategies.