Neil Robertson May 22, 2018 5:19:00 PM 4 min read

How can SMBs benefit from the dwindling retail sector?

Every week brings more news of failing businesses in the retail sector, whether through bankruptcy, or going into administration. It is easy to understand why even if it has taken 17 years from the spectacular overestimation of online purchasing adoption that led to the “dot com” crash in 2001.

The fact of the matter is that buying online is better for (almost) everything. It is more convenient, quicker, cheaper, has infinitely more choice, and you can do it anywhere on the planet. Perhaps best of all, we have learned to trust the suppliers to deliver on time and include an excellent and convenient returns service.

This stampede to online purchasing is only going to increase and the future looks bleak for the retailers.

Their problem is that the retailer is the last step in the supply chain. Their costs are considerable in bricks and mortar and must be reflected in their mark up of their supplier’s costs to deliver a profit. From our perspective, it is just a premium price over an online supplier. How many of us have visited the retailer to make our selection (it is always nice to see some things before you buy), then bought the same thing cheaper online?

For wholesales and manufacturers that are still reliant on their retailers for sales, their online competitors are now an ever-increasing threat, and services like Amazon for Business simply increase that risk.

The House of Commons Briefing Document (27 December 2017) shows that the SMB represents 5.7million businesses, (over 99.9% of all businesses in the UK), accounts for 60% of all employment and 52% of turnover.

Wholesalers and manufacturers are proactively looking for new ways to access this huge SMB market, as whilst these are smaller businesses with low levels of spending, the potential prize is still huge if it can be accessed in a cost-effective manner. As important, online purchasing has already delivered a cost-effective distribution capability for the domestic market – which can easily be leveraged for the commercial sector.

For SMB businesses, we have always been limited in the pricing we can achieve, as it is reflected in the amount we individually spend, our knowledge of best procurement practices, and our ability to get everyone in the business to then use a preferred supplier at the agreed pricing to achieve the savings available.

Technology has changed this dynamic and with it, reduces the prices of an ever-increasing range of products and services.

By delivering online direct access to the wholesalers and manufacturers through the cloud “Punch-Out” purchasing automation software, Compleat, working with our partners Auditel, can now deliver between 10% - 20% savings on an ever-increasing range of existing spend, allowing our customers to save money on items they already buy, irrespective of their size.

For larger organizations, the savings can be as much as 57% - representing over £100k per annum and a 10 x ROI on the cost of purchasing automation.

The SMB can now enjoy the pricing levels of far larger competitors and that is a game-changer.

Visit us at, or speak to us in person at stand 460 at Accountex to find out more.


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Neil Robertson

Neil has a 39-year track record of building successful direct and channel global software businesses predominately in the financial software market place. Neil Robertson is Executive Chairman of Compleat Software. A 39-year veteran of the financial software marketplace, Neil has a long track record of building disruptive start-ups into successful businesses, including his time as CEO EMEA of Great Plains where he built the business outside of the USA from 1995 - 2001. Compleat is no exception and perhaps the most disruptive of them all.
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