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Local independent industrial supply distributors are unknowingly sitting on the solution to a growing online problem, shipping.

Last-mile shipping along with local fulfillment are some of the most important superpowers that a local distributor possesses. This is on top of other strengths such as:

• local availability
• relevant local industry knowledge
• after-sale service
• the ability to talk to someone (gasp)

Contrast this to shopping online for industry-specific supplies. The “last mile” can in fact be several thousand kilometers introducing delays and/or expense, and you may not be able to chat with anyone at all. That’s not to say that online shopping is bad. It can be faster if you know exactly what you want. And it’s grown in popularity to the point that it’s strange not to have the option to buy online when shopping.

That’s part of why we’ve built ClearSource. We recognized that almost every other type of business provides the option of doing business online, but many local independent distributors don’t have the time, knowledge, or budget to do this themselves. What frequently happens is that many of them simply stick with what’s worked for decades – the phone, email, fax. But how long will that be relevant?

Have you ever abandoned a cart when you saw how much extra the shipping was going to cost you?

Recently, you might have noticed that shipping is becoming a bit of a headache when shopping online for household and personal items. If you’ve shopped online retailers that aren’t Amazon Prime, you might have noticed that free shipping is disappearing in many instances, and in others, the threshold for free shipping is being raised. That’s causing more than a few people to rethink their buying decisions and abandon their carts. Local distributors who offer online shopping are beginning to see that they offer a leg up on their strictly online competitors.

As mentioned above, last-mile shipping is part of the strength of local distribution. The price of getting it to your driveable geographic area is already baked into the price quoted by an order desk. That’s why an order may seem more expensive when quoted by a local distributor when compared to an online retailer. However, when you factor in shipping the story changes significantly.

We chatted with a local distributor recently who tells customers, that challenge his pricing with an online quote to, “Go ahead and buy that online. See what your shipping works out to and let me know if it’s worth it to you.”

ClearSource is the merging of online procurement and local distribution that allows local independents to keep all the strengths of local distribution and pairs them with the speed and convenience of online shopping. This allows for simple local last-mile delivery and local fulfillment options like:

1. distributor’s truck
2. customer’s local courier account
3. customer click-and-collect

The first two options are well-known in the industry. The third option is relatively new as a service. Many local brick-and-mortar retailers have figured out that offering click-and-collect as an option to shoppers saves time, and provides the preferred experience of shopping online. Click-and-collect is being offered by all kinds of retailers including grocery, hardware supplies, housewares, pet needs, and pretty much anything else. Why not industrial supplies too?

Local distribution is so important that it’s the reason why you see giant Amazon warehouses cropping up on the outskirts of major centers around the world. Without the power of local distribution, Amazon would have been another fad that came and went.

Local independent distributors already possess the local availability that Amazon is investing billions into. The distributors that digitize and digitalize their business are sitting in the perfect position to provide cost-effective last-mile shipping solutions for customers who are disappointed by unexpected online shipping charges.

ClearSource is modernizing the process of sourcing and procurement for local distributors; making the experience much more pleasant for people looking for local online options and making local distributors more efficient. We do this by providing a turnkey e-procurement solution to local distributors that functions as a virtual order desk, allowing the order desk to control pricing, availability, and ultimately margin.