Fastenal's digital lesson for other distributors: It pays to diversify

As a major public distributor of industrial and construction products, Fastenal Co, has a big lesson to teach other wholesale and distribution companies: It pays to diversify.

Distributors see their business buyers of all sizes morph into digital-first customers. Meanwhile, they also are seeing these customers make organizational purchases by multiple digital channels, including ecommerce sites and apps, electronic data interchange, e-procurement, and marketplaces.

Business buyers don’t just make all their digital channels strictly on ecommerce sites. Often buyers may come to a distributor’s website to research and place an online order, but they may pay for that order through EDI. Or buyers may make a transaction on a marketplace or place an ecommerce order through punchout, which enables an organization to purchase supplies directly from a supplier’s ecommerce website or B2B marketplace without leaving their own e-procurement application.

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