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Wholesale In An Online World

Nobody can be unaware that the internet is changing the commercial environment in the UK. You probably booked your last holiday online, quite likely those books you bought to read on the beach were downloaded not printed, and you chose your holiday outfit on your smartphone.

More than a fifth of non-food B2C retail is currently transacted online. The latest figures from IMRG reveal that e-retail now accounts for 21% of UK retail sales. Despite all this change, there is often a perception of the wholesale sector being relatively unaffected. Face-to-face transactions, negotiated pricing, allegedly “old fashioned customers” (despite the fact that these same customers probably just click-and-collected at Argos or Tesco on their way home from work) can all combine to form an impression of a sector unready or unwilling to embrace the online world. The reality is that nothing could be further from the truth.

This report brings together insight and provides the reader with a clearer picture of wholesale today, explores the options available since the advent of the internet and discusses why multichannel models offer growth potential for B2B wholesalers.

In this report, we take a look at real life examples of what happens to wholesalers who don’t change and embrace the online world, and compare with those who have embraced new multichannel models in B2B. We’ll see the growth potential that going online offers to the B2B wholesaler.

We’ll look at the various opportunities available to the wholesaler willing to change, which basically divide into two strategic approaches. The first approach is to become more “B2C-like”, which typically includes also selling direct to end-consumers. We’ll look at the pros and cons of this strategy, and consider how it might need to be modified for the wholesaler.

The second approach is to retain the B2B model but modernise it for a multichannel world. This latter presents numerous challenges: online B2B can potentially be much more complex than online B2C. We take a look at how various companies have successfully tackled this complexity and succeeded in winning in Wholesale in an Online World.

This report identifies the different strategies that B2B organisations such as The Co-operative Group, Aldridge Security and Nisbets are adopting to protect and increase turnover in the complex B2B landscape.



What You Will Learn:

  • The market size and opportunity for B2B eCommerce

  • The threat and consequences of standing still

  • Real life examples of successful B2B online businesses

  • Key lessons from B2C (retail) eCommerce



About IMRG
IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group) is the UK’s industry association for e-retail. Formed in 1990, IMRG is setting and maintaining pragmatic and robust e-retail standards to enable fast-track industry growth, and facilitates its community of members with practical help, information, tools, guidance and networking. The strength of IMRG is the collective and cooperative power of its members. For more information please visit or email



About Maginus
Maginus builds intelligent software solutions that enable wholesale distributor, retailer or mail order companies to increase sales, improve customer service and build long-lasting customer relationships. With the highest fit of any multi-channel solutions provider, Maginus provides a range of software and technology solutions that will meet all business management needs in a single integrated environment. Core solutions enable companies to maximise revenue, improve efficiency and enhance the customer experience from start to finish. For more information visit, email or call us on 0161 946 0000.



About the Author

Chris Jones is a leading freelance specialist in multichannel and e-commerce, with extensive senior-level experience as both consultant and hands-on interim.  His clients have included: the very big - 3 of the top 10 retailers in the world; the very famous – global fashion brand Dr Martens; and the very small – VC-backed start-up in India and B2B website in Romania. He has client-engagement experience in 15 countries and has worked extensively in both B2B and B2C sectors. He is the author of “The Multichannel Retail Handbook – a guide to planning, implementation, operation and enhancement” (ISBN 978-1-300-65266-3). You can find him at or at