Like most businesses, operators in the wholesale industry face a tough twelve months ahead.
Most of us are scratching our heads, working out how to survive. We all want to keep our staff employed and support our families through this difficult period.
However, while the implications of the global pandemic are creating further pressure on our business, we need to remain pro-active with the decisions we make.
Business is tough, but this is our new playing field and everyone is in the same arena - how we adapt to the changes within our industry matters now more than ever.
At Inzant, we work with hundreds of wholesale businesses and have a front-row seat to the changes they’ve made over the last eight weeks.
All the major changes have stemmed from how they market the business. We’re not talking about the blog posts they’ve shared or the letter from their CEO they emailed out - we’re talking about the drastic changes they’ve made to their service, price-point and place in the market.
You may have already made changes around the following marketing fundamentals out of necessity, but below we’ve broken down these important marketing pillars so any business leader in the wholesale industry can take action.
The Four Ps
A term first coined by marketer Jerome McCarthy in 1960, the Four Ps is a timeless marketing foundation that’s stood the test of time.
You have probably heard about the Four Ps, but let this serve as a timely reminder.
To give you an idea of each stage, we’ve broken down the adjustments well-known brands and institutions have made recently that relate to each P.
P1 - Product
Our product (or service) is the most important part of our business. If it doesn’t solve a customers problem while going above and beyond, then even the best promotional material will be pointless.
Over the last six weeks, how we deliver our products, and overall service has had to change drastically. And while we might have done a good job of digitising our business on the fly, we need to ask ourselves - is what we do still remarkable?
Everyone is online now, so we need to think about how we can differentiate ourselves within this new online market.
A great example is Dominoes. Their business model is inherently immune to the implications of COVID-19, being a takeaway business. However, instead of being complacent, they went the extra mile and implemented a contactless delivery system.
The move has been widely praised by consumers and attracted a whole new market along the way. Once again, the success here came from the marketing initiative of changing their product, or in Dominoes case, their service.
In the wholesale industry, this means implementing an online store that’s not only there to keep you going, but an online store that provides a seamless customer experience. Maybe it even means implementing a contactless delivery system of your own?
P2 - Price
It seems obvious. Lower your price and you’ll make more sales. However, the leavers we can pull with our price involve more than offering a discount.
It’s implementing payment plans for your clients - think Afterpay - and actively looking for ways that you can save your customers money, without leaving yourself short.
Uber Eats demonstrated a great price-related marketing tactic by wiping their delivery fee until the end of June - saving money for consumers while promoting further demand for their clients.
P3 - Place
Place is where our wholesale brand makes itself visible to our customers. It’s obvious, we now need to be online.
If your customer can’t engage with your business online, make purchases and have their order fulfilled, then you’re going to find the next twelve months harder than it needs to be.
As we mentioned earlier, it’s one thing to have your business operational online, it’s another to provide a remarkable service like no other.
Our schools are a great example of adjusting their place - going from teaching at physical locations, to now being fully online.
P4 - Promotion
What do you notice here? Promotion is the last step in this chain. You can’t create messaging that will break through the noise and grow your sales if you haven’t nailed the first three Ps.
There’s no doubt here that promotion is vital to any business, but without a product or service that excels, at a price-point that matches your customers’ expectation, in a place they can easily access it, investment on promotion is money down the drain.
Lastly, when it comes to creating your promotional material, think about your customers’ problems and share the stories that show them how you can help.
So, what’s next?
The beauty of framing our marketing around the four Ps is that anyone within the business can have an impact on each of the Ps.
While marketing knowledge and guidance is helpful, everyone has the power to make what we do better (Product). We can all make judgments about our price point (Price), and we can all see where we need to place the business so our customers can find us to begin with (Place). Without a doubt, once we have nailed the first the Ps, the stories and messages we share are easy to find and will make an impact (Promotion).
It’s up to you as a business leader to evaluate how well you address each of the Four Ps in our current market.
Making the required changes in these areas will go a long way to helping your business maintain its position over the next twelve months, and maybe even grow.
It’s important to remember that the market won’t be this way forever. It’s hard to look long-term while our backside is on fire, but making these important changes to your brand now will only put you in a better position for growth long-term.
Our thoughts are with everyone that’s doing it tough here at Inzant. Let’s all look out for each other!
Based here in Newcastle, we provide a mobile sales app that streamlines the entire sales process for wholesale reps, giving them the tool they need to make more sales. We also build eCommerce stores and custom order portals for your clients. Happy to hear about your wholesale business anytime, we are here to help.