B2B Wholesale Future Trends 2024
Across B2B wholesale future trends 2024, you’ll see a few key themes: technology, personalisation and change.
Some are accelerations of global movements, while others are specific to the B2B space. We’ll break down what you can expect in 2024 and where these movements are coming from in this quick, 5-minute read.
1. Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and Internet of Things (IoT)
First, we’re starting off strong as companies increasingly turn to artificial intelligence, machine learning and the Internet of Things to drive data-driven decision-making. Machine-aided tools are becoming near-ubiquitous in the B2B wholesale space, whether for predictive sales, content marketing, analytics or other support. And, with advancements in integration, it’s usually possible to plug and play most of these devices and SaaS tools. So, an investment in tech can see returns in weeks, not months.
2. Adopting e-commerce & mobile interfaces
This is all about making the buying experience more intuitive for B2B customers. All B2B buyers will be B2C buyers in their own lives. So, it makes sense that the B2B purchasing experience be as streamlined as the processes they’re used to at other retailers. And thanks to investments from big players in the e-commerce space, this is becoming a reality for more wholesalers every day. New interfaces now look like other online shops and are even optimised for mobile OS; allowing purchasing from any device. When faced with an e-commerce-style interface, 83% of buyers prefer it, so the switch is likely to be permanent.
3. All decisions are data-driven
Bouncing off the tech integrations above, B2B wholesale future trends see a shift to data-first decision-making. The software available in the marketplace can be used to understand customer behaviour, improve supply chain management and boost inventory optimisation. This includes insights such as which price a customer is most likely to pay, churn risk and what other products the customer might like (cross-selling). Armed with this information, sales team members are able to use logic to guide where they put their time and what products they go to market with. The result is better conversion rates and overall efficiency improvements.
4. Personalisation in anticipation
With all that data, it’s now possible to do personalisation in anticipation. Instead of sending every email to every customer, B2B wholesalers are now optimising their product range and marketing comms specific to the end B2B customer and their future needs. This increases core KPIs like open rate, CTR and retention rate while boosting the opportunity for conversions with every unique customer. And, in a lot of instances, it only takes a few minutes to label the product catalogue; providing endless mix-and-match combinations across all marketing channels.
5. Sustainability and zero waste
Another one of the big B2B wholesale future trends in 2024 that we’re seeing is zero waste and sustainability. Remixing product packaging to cut out plastics or offering compostable options is gaining popularity. Even more, buyers are demanding bulk options or reusable dispensers. Not only does this lock them into a supplier (somewhat) but B2B suppliers that can pivot to offer greener options are winning market share. There’s also a demand from buyers who need to have transparency on their own sustainability processes to understand their suppliers’ green initiatives as well. So having a green policy and working down towards net zero emissions is an increasingly-important goal for all B2B wholesalers.
6. Blockchain and cloud adoption
The use of the blockchain and its alternative payment methods creates a new revenue stream for B2B wholesalers who previously didn’t accept Bitcoin, Ethereum or similar crypto. And, as the pandemic taught us, it’s now possible to conduct more of our operations from anywhere. So, we’re seeing a huge increase generally in the adoption of cloud-based tools, like our very own SaaS. B2B wholesalers no longer need to have server rooms and data centres in their own locations. Everything can be hosted on the cloud and securely delivered to devices for a more agile workforce with fewer overheads.
7. Shift away from globalization
Shortages. We’re still dealing with them. The pandemic highlighted gaps in global supply and this is making local B2B wholesale suppliers more desirable. With fewer transport miles, B2B wholesale buyers are seeing less carbon emissions and a more consistent supply that’s still off-setting the cost-benefit of overseas trade. Markets haven’t yet righted that trend, so we expect it will continue throughout 2024. This is on top of a switch to home production which started in the 2000s and further adds fuel to the localisation fire.
8. Robotics and automation
Using robots and automation to do boring, standardised and repetitive tasks frees up humans to innovate at the highest levels. That’s why we’re seeing in B2B wholesale future trends 2024, a desire to use technology to transform the job market too. This means more human capital will be devoted to advanced tasks like customer relationship marketing while computers will handle product dispatch communications, for example. And, with the ability to train AI on owned and public data, the results these systems produce are more accurate than ever before.
9. Mergers and consolidations
In the USA, regular headlines from 2018 onward have talked about the acquisition of one wholesaler by another, month after month. The thinking here is that by acquiring competitors and growing the footprint overnight, the result is a stronger overall wholesale marketplace where each remaining player has a more comprehensive piece of the pie. So, for B2B wholesale future trends 2024, we’re expecting this growing movement to hit our shores. Mergers and buyouts can quickly infuse a company with fresh ideas and better technology, so it’s becoming a popular growth strategy with every European country seeing a multi-year increase from the low point in 2018. Wholesale associations are also increasingly proving their worth in Germany. They allow many medium-sized wholesalers to maintain their independence while benefiting from cooperations.
Want to tap into these trends and harness AI, ML and more to add value to your B2B wholesale business? Talk to our expert team today. We can help you scope a rapid integration of our predictive sales software with the systems you already use for total adoption. Start getting more out of every sale and make smarter business decisions today!
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