How to ‘retailize’ your wholesale distribution business

December 15, 2022 | 4 minute read
Derek Gittoes
Vice President, Supply Chain Management Product Strategy
Vivek Sudhakar
Managing Director, Advisory, KPMG
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Get started with these three top best practices from Oracle and KPMG

Wholesale distribution is undergoing a long-term transformation as the world of B2B selling is infiltrated by B2C customer preferences, including demand for personalized offers, digital experiences, and sustainable practices. The “retailization” of the industry is clearly here. Where does this leave today’s wholesale distribution companies?

The industry is at a crossroads—wholesale distributors must choose between traditional business models that don't accommodate the modern customer or embracing new technology and best practices to stay competitive. While the latter might seem like the obvious path, getting there can feel daunting. Oracle and KPMG LLP (KPMG) have come together to help wholesale distributors successfully navigate the retailization of the industry and move beyond the traditional distributor value of "pick, pack, and ship." With the right guidance—and a strategic combination of technology and best practices—you can not only provide your wholesale distribution customers with a modern experience, but you can also create new revenue streams to grow your business.

Technology and automation turn challenge into opportunity

Digitizing aspects of your business is an essential component to successfully tackling the retailization of wholesale distribution. Integrating your front-, middle-, and back-office systems allows you to digitally connect data and processes to improve supply chain operations—as well as the customer experience.

Competitive wholesale distributors are leveraging modern, cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) and supply chain management (SCM) platforms such as Oracle's to develop value-added services, omnichannel capabilities, and digital engagement opportunities with customers. With KPMG's wholesale distribution expertise and experience alongside Oracle's technology, wholesale distributors can open up new revenue streams such as subscription models, private-labeled products, kitting and direct-to-consumer (D2C) to increase their revenue.

These integrated front- and back-office solutions not only allow distributors to launch new business models quickly, but they can also improve operational efficiency. The automated business processes help distributors run a leaner, more efficient operation—ultimately leading to increased profit margins.

Top 3 strategies for bringing wholesale distribution into the retailized future

Oracle and KPMG have honed several best practices for wholesale distributors who are invested in evolving with customer demand. Here are our top 3:

  1. Expand your customer experience to encompass new self-service options such as D2C. Consider which of your products and services you’ll sell in new channels such as D2C, buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS), and other self-service options. This will help you determine how your customer experience should be shaped and will help you shift your business model away from a one-size-fits-all approach, expanding your reach and improving your relationship with your customers. A well-designed BOPIS experience, for instance, will drive retail traffic to your distributor branches over time.
  2. Innovate to bring new value to customers. Staying competitive as a wholesale distributor requires identifying and implementing new revenue-generating business models that deliver personalized customer experiences such as ecommerce, omnichannel, subscriptions, white glove delivery, expanded inventories, and drop-ship.
  3. Craft your vision with an experienced transformation team. One of the most important things you can do as a business leader is develop a vision of what you want to achieve and then find the right partner to help you fulfill that vision. You need specialized professionals with experience in wholesale distribution to help you map out your new revenue generation goals and lay the groundwork for how to get there.

Real-life results with Oracle and KPMG

In 2019, a well-known American food processing company with a portfolio of more than 50 brands launched a massive project to modernize its core business systems. As a longtime Oracle customer, this client tapped Oracle and KPMG to help the company move to cloud-based applications for finance, HR and supply chain. 

This client has since successfully introduced automation into its financial operations, moved purchasing processes to the cloud despite major global supply chain disruption, and gained a single source of truth for visibility into every one of its entities.

Using the KPMG Powered Enterprise approach, the client was able to leverage advanced organizational design as well as the industry's top technology, processes, and operating models to accelerate its implementation of Oracle Cloud. The company can now continue its history of innovation and pinpoint growth opportunities across all its brands.

Discover more ways to future-proof your wholesale distribution business

Oracle and KPMG have published an in-depth resource for executives interested in learning more about the retailization of wholesale distribution—and how to competitively adapt to capture the opportunities it presents. Check it out to find more information on the changes afoot in the industry, advice on how to leverage technology, and additional best practices to guide your transformation.

Learn more about how wholesale distributors increase innovation and profit with digital operations.

Some or all of the services described herein may not be permissible for KPMG audit clients and their affiliates or related entities.

The information contained herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act upon such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation.

© 2022 KPMG LLP, a Delaware limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG global organization of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Limited, a private English company limited by guarantee. All rights reserved.

The KPMG name and logo are trademarks used under license by the independent member firms of the KPMG global organization.

Derek Gittoes

Vice President, Supply Chain Management Product Strategy

Vivek Sudhakar

Managing Director, Advisory, KPMG

Vivek Sudhakar is a managing director at KPMG with two decades of experience in IT and consulting industries and more than 14 years of experience in IT leadership. Vivek fosters long-term advisory relationships with C-level executives by providing guidance, coaching, and support.

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