FWD Chairman’s Comment

One of the biggest trends in retail over the past decade undoubtedly has to be the explosion in internet shopping. According to the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG), the 10 years since the start of the noughties has seen UK consumers spend more than pound;250bn online a staggering increase of 3,000%.

Clearly, much of this is down to the fact that this decade has been characterised by a speedy and all-encompassing technological revolution. From home to Features > Business, from laptops to mobiles, we’re increasingly reliant on the web for business and pleasure.

In this landscape, it’s no surprise that retailers, from Tesco to Waitrose, are cashing in handsomely online. It’s even less of a surprise that wholesalers are exploiting the web as a sales route too. Some wholesalers have seen a 35% increase in online sales over the past year alone.

The trend is set to continue, driven by next-generation retailers and caterers to whom this way of purchasing is second nature.

This is understandable. The internet offers huge benefits to the time-strapped retailer. The major advantage is round-the-clock availability. Rather than taking time out from a busy shop floor to call a phone order in, Palmer and Harvey is seeing retailers logging on during their quiet late night or early morning shifts.

Adding in the fact that a well-designed website can retain customer information, list favourites as well as historic purchases and suggest other suitable products, retailers have a quick, well-rounded offer that’s easy to use.

Any wholesaler with ambition needs to be online as much as it embraces technologies such as EPOS, which has become an invaluable tool for retailers.

Properly executed, internet wholesaling is nothing to be afraid of; if it makes it quicker and more efficient to conduct Features > Business, if it makes you more accessible as a wholesaler and can make you money to boot, it’s surely worth embracing.

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