With UK recession concerns front of mind and inflation still tipping ten per cent1, a new study of UK business has found that two thirds of wholesale businesses (66 per cent)1 are now struggling to fund vital digitisation projects for their sales and marketing functions within previously set budgets. The results reflect how spiralling business costs across the board are impacting companies’ abilities to fully adopt digital sales advances, at a time when the shift to online purchasing is increasing exponentially, so stifling their business growth and keeping them behind tech-savvy competitors. 

The research showed that 19 per cent of wholesale firms have not yet been able to adopt digitisation, with budget stated as one the main barriers these firms are facing when looking to adopt new technology, setting them off into 2023 behind their competitors.  

50 per cent of those being left behind cited lack of knowledge and 33 per cent faced a lack of funding to progress any digitisation projects. This highlights the stark recruitment challenges companies are facing currently as the number of vacant jobs in the UK reached a record high in 2022 of 1.3 million2. When combined with the boom of ‘quiet quitting’, firms are struggling to work at full capacity and this is impacting their uptake of new developments, and projects are being restricted.  

Existing sales processes within the wholesale sector can often be outdated, with lots of manual administrative processes and laborious exercises increasing the time taken and risk of human error. Digitisation takes these physical, outdated processes and converts them into efficient and effective digital systems. It is proven to support business growth and positive change, with adopters benefiting from improved productivity and efficiency, as well as increased sales and customer engagement.   

70 per cent of B2B organisations have invested in digital commerce channels this year, with 73 per cent investing in websites, 49 per cent in sales representatives and 37 per cent in mobile apps3.  

The independent research, with a nationally representative sample of 500 business leaders, was conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Software as a Service (SaaS) firm, Adventoris.  

CEO of Adventoris, James Clarkson, said: “As 2023 gets underway, these findings lay bare the impact the current economic climate is having on firms in the wholesale industry and it is disheartening to see the toll inflation and rising energy costs are taking. So many businesses are being held back from reaching their true potential through being unable to progress with plans to adopt digital processes.  

“Wholesale firms are vital to the UK economy and, without them, many other sectors would struggle. Digital processes are having an incredibly positive impact on improving efficiency, productivity and results, but it is obvious from our findings that firms need support to be able to access these benefits.  

“Quarter one is going to be tough for many, but digitising sales and marketing functions can bring great advantages. For example, our clients have experienced basket sales increasing by 15 per cent when using our digital sales app technology with their customers.”  

Gavin Millward, director at Country Fare, a firm which has recently adopted digitisation in the form of a sales app, said: “Investing in digitising our sales process was the best decision we made. It has future proofed our operations and allows our team to focus on value added tasks, such as building customer relationships. Having that efficiency in the current climate is extremely valuable for us.   

“Given the recent challenges with Covid 19 and supply chain disruptions, having these digitised processes in place has meant that we can continue to operate efficiently and smoothly, even when the unexpected happens.”   

Adventoris is the creator of SwiftCloud, a leading B2B mobile app for distributors and wholesalers that provides businesses with a platform that enables their customers to see products, communicate with the company and make orders 24/7. SwiftCloud can save customers over 50 per cent in ordering time.  

The firm has a current turnover of £2m, with an annual cumulative growth rate of 81 per cent over the last five years. To find out more about SwiftCloud visit: www.swiftcloud.co.uk.