Why your company (finally) really needs to get started with digital sales

Why your company (finally) really needs to get started with digital sales
Jürgen Kroder
March 2, 2023
Why your company (finally) really needs to get started with digital sales

High growth potential, more customer intimacy, better competitiveness and greater resilience: digital sales and e-commerce offer many opportunities. That's why you should make use of them.

Digital sales: What does it actually mean?

When you digitize your sales, you use technology and digital channels to sell your company's products. These include, for example, social networks, apps, CRM systems, virtual trade fairs, online shops and online marketplaces. Digital sales therefore is a generic term under which numerous possibilities are summarized to replace once analogue or semi-digital measures. In this article, “digital sales” mainly means e-commerce. Because e-commerce is an extremely important component in the digitization of the sales process.

“Digitize sales? We do not need that!"

Such statements can - unfortunately - be heard again and again. Even sentences like “e-commerce, it costs a lot and is useless” or “our products cannot be sold online.” Shoes, cars, furniture, building materials - it used to be unthinkable to sell things like this online. But Zalando, Tesla, Leiner and Bausep show how it works. And with success! The past few years have clearly shown that there is hardly a product that cannot be sold online.

Why you should digitize your sales

The main argument in favor of digital sales channels is: because your customers expect it from your company. Modern consumers now live extremely digitally: They book trips online, pay for their train tickets via app, stream films and music, meet friends in online games, chat with friends, look for partners via dating sites, confer via video conferences and shop on the internet. 95 percent of the German-speaking population use the internet, most of them on a daily basis - according to the ARD/ZDF online study 2022. There is hardly a B2C or B2B customer who is not enthusiastic about the digital possibilities and uses them gratefully. So why shouldn't your customers want to buy your products easily, quickly and conveniently? So remember an old saying from Aunt Emma: the customer is king! In current technical jargon one speaks of customer centricity. This means nothing other than that your company should focus on what customers want and make them the focus of your actions. Applied to the sale of your products, this means: Offer digital solutions to satisfy your target groups. Otherwise you will lose contact and connection.

Other important pro-arguments for the digitization of your sales

Henry Ford must have said, "Fifty percent of advertising is always wasted." But you don't know which half that is." Today that statement is no longer true. Because thanks to digital channels and tracking tools, it is now very easy to measure the effectiveness of marketing and sales measures. With the right tools, you get very precise insights into the wishes and challenges of your (potential) customers and their customer journeys. Not only that: You now have to use digital channels in order to reach your target groups, because your customers act according to the ROPO principle. The acronym stands for “Research Online, Purchase Offline” and for “Research Offline, Purchase Online”. In other words, the customer journey looks quite “jerky” as consumers jump between different analogue and digital channels before making a purchase. This applies in particular to expensive products and/or products that require explanation. Especially in the B2B area, where a buying center makes a purchase decision.

In addition, the number of channels and possible contact points is growing from year to year. The “Homo Digitalis” gets his inspiration and the information he needs from social networks, video portals, online magazines and blogs, among others. If your company hardly operates digitally, the sales funnel will be very manageable and full of holes. You will probably no longer reach many potential customers.

Think of your competitors too!

Need another argument why your company should take digital sales more seriously? Here's another one: your competition never sleeps. According to an EHI study, the 1,000 largest B2C online shops in Germany had a net turnover of almost 80 billion euros in 2022. This corresponds to an increase of 16 percent compared to the previous year. E-commerce is booming - and has been unstoppable for years. More and more companies are getting involved and many of the long-standing market participants are expanding their sales.

This positive trend does not only exist in the end customer business, online trade in B2B is also growing continuously. The "B2B Market Monitor 2022" by ECC Cologne, Adobe, Creditreform and Intershop shows that the online business of manufacturers and wholesalers in Germany alone had a volume of over 350 billion euros in 2021, and in 2022 it could even have been 470 billion euros. The high growth rates show that there is still a lot of potential, especially in business-to-business.

The attractive figures and the trend towards digitization of sales have a strong pull: companies that have so far neglected online trading are now feverishly getting involved. Understandable, because thanks to digitization and globalization, the borders have become smaller. At the same time, however, the competitive pressure increased. Because from the point of view of your customers, your competitors are just a click away. And these competitors do not only come from Germany, but from France, the USA, China and many other countries.

What else does the digitization of sales bring?

You can reach your customers where they are today: online. Accordingly, you can measure and analyze user behavior in order to gain important insights from it almost in real time. And you remain competitive because, like your competitors, you view the internet as a tremendous opportunity. These are the most important advantages.

Don't forget about efficiency! Digital marketing and sales channels - once they have established themselves in your company - are cheaper than analogue ones. You also have the option of trying out different measures and channels more easily, since access is possible with manageable effort.

And the online figures, which have been growing for years, also show that digital sales enable rapid scaling. If you launch your own online shop or sell your products via online marketplaces, you can address new target groups and expand abroad much more easily than before. Modern e-commerce systems such as Magento 2 or Adobe Commerce make it easy to run a multi-language shop.

If your "offline business" is still running fantastically, e-commerce serves as an extension to be fit for the future. This makes your company more resilient.

Apropos: Companies that digitize their sales are also better equipped to deal with crises. This is shown, for example, by the “Hybrid Selling” study by the Ruhr University Bochum. According to the study, companies that use the various possibilities of digitization were able to meet 97 percent of their sales targets despite lockdowns and other measures in the corona pandemic.


As it turns out, digital distribution is not a “nice to have” today, but a “must have”. Customer wishes and customer behavior have changed significantly in recent years - in both private and business customer areas. The “B2B Market Monitor 2022” says quite appropriately: “In B2B trade, too, buyers want online shops to have usability that is comparable to that in the B2C sector. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that B2B e-commerce has continued to grow for years and will continue to become more relevant in the future.”

Conclusion: The pressure on companies that refuse digital sales or are hesitant to enter e-commerce is growing. From day to day, from year to year. In the end, this wisdom could come true for such companies: “Whoever digitizes, shines. If you don't digitize, you lose".