At the start of the B2B Next Conference & Exhibition, conference founder Andy Hoar shared a revealing story. Six years ago, a company hired him to host a B2B ecommerce event and a dozen people showed up. Last week, 700 people sat in front of Hoar for the inaugural B2B Next event in Chicago, a clear sign of the tremendous interest in and growth of this field.
In the manufacturing and distribution industries, the most recent – and likely the most profound – disruption is the rise of Amazon Business, Amazon’s B2B marketplace and platform.
In the more than two decades that Aaron Noland has worked for the Lancaster Bingo Company, the basic business of the Ohio-based wholesale distributor of bingo supplies hasn’t changed all that much, he said. Sales reps meet with clients every week or every other week to talk about fundraising goals, and help them decide on which types of games to run to get there. Once they settle on supplies, reps place orders for bingo daubers, cards or pull tab games, and plan for delivery on 18-foot box trucks.
Efficiently and cost-effectively getting a shirt, hat and shoes delivered to a customer in Billings, Mont. when a retailer’s stock spans warehouses from Burlington, Vt. to Bellevue, Wash. and a physical store in Baltimore is no small feat. Yet, for even the smallest retailers, it’s imperative to balance customer expectations with profitability — whether the order is shipped from a warehouse, shipped from a store, drop shipped or picked up in store.