The Future of E Commerce For DistributorsA colleague recently shared an interesting article with me from Dirk Beveridge, entitled Burning Platform. (You can read the article here.) In the article Mr. Beveridge opens with the story of a man trapped on a burning oil platform in the middle of the North Sea. The water is freezing, the fire threatens to burn the man–what should he do?

In the end, he jumps in the water and saves himself. The article then goes on to query whether the world of distribution isn’t on a burning platform of sorts as many organizations try to decide whether to jump to new technology or risk staying the same while the world around them changes on a day-to-day basis.

The reality that Mr. Beveridge presents is this: Many of today’s distributors are using business systems that were created as many as 50 years ago. As the world changes rapidly, these outdated systems put those organizations at risk. I have to say that I agree.

In the technological world that we live in, organizations have two choices:

1. Adapt. Quickly. And be ready to do it again.


2. Face certain demise. Or worse yet, face a slow demise brought on by an unwillingness to change coupled with a slow descent into irrelevance.

A bit dramatic? Yes, maybe.

But it’s true.

It used to be that technology changed once a year. (Remember annual software updates?!?) Then new technology came out a couple of times a year. Now you can clock the shelf life of your brand new, top of the line smartphone with an egg timer. By the time it’s in your hand, there’s something bigger, better, and faster just around the corner.

B2B business isn’t much different. Now, it’s not moving as fast as your smartphone, but it is changing. If you don’t have ecommerce available, it’s likely that you are teetering on the edge of irrelevance for some customers. I guarantee that your customers expect to be able to buy online. If they don’t expect it today, they will soon. The point is that in order to stay on top of your game, remain relevant to your customers and continue to grow, you need to take the next step and move forward.

So, do you jump in the ocean or stay on the burning raft?

To learn more about how to launch a successful B2B ecommerce initiative, download the white paper, B2B Ecommerce Success – Seven Questions to Consider When Beginning and Ecommerce Initiative.