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Digital revolution: the transformation of electrical wholesalers

Since we first started to computerise processes almost 30 years ago, the digital revolution has grown to transform almost every aspect of business – and even whole industries.

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The rate of change is continuing to grow exponentially, with the plummeting cost and increased accessibility of advanced technologies making it the norm for businesses to engage with digitalisation at all levels. Technology has the potential to unlock new levels of prosperity for industry and society alike.

Nowhere is this more apparent than within the electrical wholesaling sector, where traditional retail models meet state-of-the-art electronic products, with the ultimate aim of bringing increasingly automated and artificially-intelligent products into the homes of demanding, technologically cognizant consumers. As this technology becomes more accessible to the wider population, it is having a profound impact on expectations for trade across the whole supply chain. In order to compete in a digitalised marketplace, B2C and B2B traders now need to prioritise convenience, speed, information and non-stop access.

At their most basic level, e-catalogues are digital publications that present products with the purpose of helping them sell. For electrical wholesalers, however, digital transformation can provide opportunities that are unparalleled throughout history - from creating new revenue models, to enabling access to the global market and improving sustainability and safety.

The ETIM (Electro-Technical Information Model) initiative aims to standardise the electronic exchange of product data across electrical installation products, home appliances and consumer electronics, in order to better facilitate the electronic trading of these items. As ecommerce and online services become ever more essential, a standardised data model can meet the requirements of the electrical industry’s rapid rate of change.

What’s more, allowing for the uniform, technical description of electrical goods has the potential to mitigate potential risks associated with installation and adherence to changing regulations. Product data is central to creating a safer industry, as well as a more profitable one. Structured and/or shared in a consistent way, product information can provide an invaluable resource across the entire supply chain to help stakeholders respond to the requirements of new safety regulatory systems with accurate, up-to-date data. The Grenfell tragedy was a lesson in the importance of transparency, highlighting the need for standardised, traceable product information, from manufacturer to wholesaler to contractor.

The global population has roughly doubled since 1970, and is set to double again in the next 40 years. Looking forward, in order to continue to meet our social and industrial needs, technology will need to maintain its accelerated rate of change. Ecommerce and digital business management are non-negotiable if traders are to compete in what is rapidly becoming a global marketplace.


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