In the era before the Internet took over the universe, a wise man once told me that soon enough we’d be living in a fully digital age, working each day in a paperless office.
I remember thinking, “Ha! This guy is nuts. How can we live without paper?” And then I sauntered over to the printer to get my freshly printed emails for that day.
That was a little more than a decade ago, and lo and behold, we’ve entered the age of digital transformation. So why are you still undecided on using print vs online line sheets when B2B consumers are growing more technologically savvy every single day?
Print line sheets: the ROI killers
Print line sheets don’t grow on trees — well, they kind of do, but they also require a huge outlay of cash before you see one penny of ROI. From design to photography (on-location photo shoots are a budget-buster, for sure) to printing, storage and fulfillment, you’re looking at thousands of dollars spent even for the smallest wholesale manufacturer.
Tip: Brands are saving up to 90% in printing costs using online vs. print line sheets.
Print line sheets: the reputation killer
The costs to remaining staunchly analog in a digital age aren’t just physical. The hit your wholesale brand takes in terms of reputation doesn’t help your bottom line. More and more, your B2B customers are demanding a B2C experience when it’s time to make purchasing decisions. If you aren’t ready with the online assets they demand, you’re going to lose.
A 2014 report from Forrester shows that B2B buyers are driving a sea of change. More and more, these consumers want B2C-like functionality when it’s time to make a purchase.
Adapt or die
Merchants must adapt — 70 percent of those B2B consumers said they expect transparency of product availability across all channels. Using online vs. print line sheets is the first step toward meeting that demand. In addition, 32 percent of B2B buyers report that they begin their pre-purchase research online.
Tip: Use a B2B eCommerce solution that allows you to upload your inventory for live availability and integrate with your ERP/PLM to eliminate double entry.
The Forrester report also shows that B2B buyers are looking for convenience when it comes time to make a purchase. They don’t want to sift through outdated printed materials or request an updated catalog. By the time you send any updated material, they’ve moved on to your more up-to-date competitor. That’s because a whopping 77% of B2B buyers want to see your availability online.
The B2B eCommerce market is expected to be worth no less than $6.7 billion by 2020, according to recent research conducted by Frost & Sullivan. This widely reported statistic is part of the digital revolution that’s overtaking the B2B world.
What's left to debate?
So stop putting your money in a warehouse where it sits and gathers dust.
Focus on leading the way and start investing in the online experiences your customers demand, beginning with a digital line sheet. The print vs. online line sheet debate is over.
To learn more about streamlining your business and increasing sales: