The shift online has been a success for industrial suppliers but has also cannibalized brick-and-mortar purchases. So instead of showing up online, you want to beat the competition. The reward is higher margins and a market demand that knows no geographical bounds. 

According to IBISWorld, the Online Industrial Supply will increase at an accelerated annualized rate of 3.4% to 18.8 billion dollars over the five years to 2025. Here are five trends so you can stay competitive during these changing times. 

1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Marketing

If you are trying to best the 1,352 projected online industrial supply industry players, you want to consider investing in an SEO strategy since most use SEO as a key marketing play. SEO is a way to appear as the first result for relevant keywords to generate substantial traffic. 

Common tactics include frequently updating the website with keyword-rich content and having links from websites and forums pointing back to the industrial supply website, among others. 

2. Vendor-Managed Inventory (VMI)

Most suppliers now have VMI in place, and it is a powerful way to cement relationships. According to the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS), VMI is a supply-chain agreement where the upstream agent is responsible for the inventory of the downstream agent. 

First,  conduct a detailed analysis to determine the replenishment schedule for complex manufacturers; then, they consult to help implement the replenishment program, pick, pack, ship, send notifications, and warehouse to the precise requirements. 

3. Offer a Service-Rich Experience

While customers may not need to inspect a product when they are experienced and familiar with the supply, there are some cases where buyers will want an in-person shopping experience. When customers need a new line item to supply, they may opt for the traditional shopping experience. For those inexperienced in certain spaces or who have a product that needs to be delivered quickly and efficiently--you can focus on service, so you stand out from online-only competitors. 

Current customers will also appreciate that high-touch service, who may have been with you for a generation (or more). Maintaining those strong relationships is essential.

4. Invest in Technology

The technology available today is different from those of years gone by. While technology before lacked user-friendliness, so many in the industry had no choice but to outsource it to internal or external experts, technology today is accessible and helpful to everyone. For example, Intuilize’s supply chain module acts as an advisor to you - it can help ensure you have the right inventory for the right time. So feel free to reach out to us if you want to learn more about how technology powered by AI can help your business. 

Last Word 

The best way to win in the digital world is by playing it smarter than your competitors. If you want to get ahead, take some time to think about how you can augment yourself with marketing strategies such as SEO,  technology, and customer service. Keep an eye on trends like VMI to understand what people are talking about when they are buying products.  Our team has many years of experience building successful companies by leveraging cutting-edge technologies such as AI, machine learning, and data analytics tools. Let us know if we can assist by contacting us.

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