More wholesalers are offering services directly to the public following “unprecedented” online demand.

Shruti Senapati, marketing executive of wholesale buying group Sugro, told betterRetailing 15-to-20 of the firm’s wholesale members are now allowing the public to buy from them through direct-to-consumer (D2C) services.

Sugro is encouraging more of its members to open similar offerings this year.

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“The coronavirus pandemic has driven consumers online [at an] unprecedented level,” Senapati said. “For this reason, Sugro now offers its members a web-based app that is easy to use and offers a 24-hour turnaround.

“Members have branched out by launching a microsite dedicated to sell to the public and providing next-day home-delivery service. The chaos of coronavirus and widespread lockdown has simply accelerated the need for wholesalers to diversify their offering and remain relevant in a competitive market.”

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Asked how independent retailers can take advantage of this trend, Senapati said: “Suppliers, wholesalers and retailers have reinvented their business models due to lack of supermarket delivery slot availability and empty shelves.

“With increased consumer shift to online, retailers should collaborate with online delivery service providers to meet constant rising consumer demand [and they could] also sell directly to consumers via social media.”

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