Expert Voices: Efficiency and AI in the Wholesale & Distribution Industry

We interviewed 15 digital commerce experts to explore the rising significance of efficiency as a KPI and its expanding correlation with AI with a special focus on the Wholesale & Distribution Industry.


In the dynamic realm of Wholesale and Distribution, efficiency plays a pivotal role in attaining success. Whether you're a wholesaler managing inventory or a seasoned executive overseeing distribution channels, continuous refinement of processes, cost reduction, and operational optimization are ongoing objectives crucial for sustainable growth. 

To help gain valuable insights into enhancing efficiency within this sector, we engaged with a panel of digital experts, each bringing a unique perspective and a wealth of experience to shed light on the specific challenges and opportunities within wholesale and distribution operations.

As efficiency is increasingly discussed with an AI focus, we also asked how AI can help businesses remain efficient, keen to understand how new technologies will influence future operations.


What is the number one opportunity for implementing efficiency in the wholesale & distribution industry?

Digital Transformation

Digital transformation was suggested by Terrie Ademi, Principal Partner and Sales Executive at Telekom, as the top contributor to improving efficiency. “I think that many retailers have already adopted digital transformation and are now trying to work on their efficiencies.” she commented. From Terrie’s perspective, digital transformation offered retailers and suppliers insights into how to streamline their purchasing processes based on customer needs and behaviors, concluding that addressing these customer needs is greatly benefitted by technological interventions.

Harmonising Product Data using AI

In the intricate landscape of the wholesale industry, collaboration stands as a linchpin for success “Wholesale is a very interesting business. There's a lot of collaboration that happens in the industry.” commented Anurag Mehta, Chief Executive Officer at SkillNet Solutions

Facilitating a symbiotic relationship between wholesalers, retailers, and manufacturers is integral to the industry's dynamics. Challenges arise, however, in maintaining consistent product data across diverse stakeholders.  “If the manufacturing is calling it product ‘x’, and the retailer is calling it product ‘y’, [it can be difficult] trying to make sure that the data is harmonized across all parties in the supply chain. AI can play a huge role in helping identify those gaps in data and making it more homogeneous.


How can AI increase efficiency in e-commerce?

Increasingly, and with good reason, efficiency is often seen from the perspective of incorporating AI. There’s no doubt these new tools are transforming commerce by enhancing efficiency, so we asked our experts their thoughts.

Customer Interactions

Many of our experts highlighted the benefits AI can bring to customer interactions, a variety of which increase business operations and the customer lifecycle.

Anthony Soohoo, Fortune One Executive, Entrepreneur & AI Optimist, believes AI will “reimagine the proactive and personalized service that customers want, sometimes even before they know they want it, by anticipating and fulfilling their needs. The impact of these improved interactions will result in higher customer engagement, improved cross-sell and upsell conversions, as well as a reduction in the cost-to-serve.”

Anurag Mehta, Chief Executive Officer at SkillNet Solutions also discussed how personalization through AI could help improve issues such as returns management. Noting that returns can make up to 30% of e-commerce transactions, he detailed how AI could help reduce this by “identifying your customer, segmenting your customer, personalization and price and promotions”.

Tobias Mathar, Director Operations at valantic suggested how AI could be used not just for personalization but also in the use of “customer support chatbots”, offering a wider scope of personalization outside of product purchasing.

Terrie Ademi, Principal Partner and Sales Manager at Telekom spoke of how AI could attract customers to remain loyal to a certain brand. She cited the ability to “personalize more information and have excellent customer experiences. For your customers and this is what it's all about, right?” She went on to describe how this can be used throughout the customer lifecycle, effectively making it more likely to “lock in” customers.


Automating Tasks

No discussion of AI would be complete without considering automation, with Björn Simon Lange, Partner Commerce at TOWA describing how businesses should “leverage AI to automate everything which is automatable and increase e-commerce efficiency drastically.”

Marcos Raiser do Ó, Head of DACH and CEE at Stripe spoke of how intelligent virtual agents can take over “more and more mundane tasks and therefore freeing more capabilities and capacity when it comes to really valuable efforts and workflows for employees.”

Sebastian Storch, Sales Manager B2B / Software Startups EMEA North at AWS shared a crucial question he had pondered: “Where can AI automate or help us automate things which have to have a human touch?” He went on to explain that manual interactions can be scaled through AI, concluding that with AI, “we can become more lean and faster.”

Improved Data Insights

Alexandru Arapan, Delivery Manager at Nagarro highlighted how client and customer needs are becoming more and more sophisticated in terms of expectations and that these new expectations lead to new technologies, which in turn generate a lot of data. All of this new data would be too much for any person to manually analyze, which is where AI would come in. “That's the perfect job for an AI!” he declared.

Björn Simon Lange, Partner Commerce at TOWA suggested how AI will be useful for “summarizing valuable data like customer reviews”, overall enabling companies to offer a better service.





How does composable commerce help increase e-commerce efficiency?

Composable commerce can sometimes just seem like a buzzword. But our experts explain how it can actually be your key to efficient operations.

Flexibility and Adaptability

Flexibility and adaptability were frequently cited as efficiency benefits of composable commerce.

Marcos Raiser do Ó, Head of DACH and CEE at Stripe, emphasized how composability offers “the opportunity to not be stuck in a fixed environment”, highlighting that companies can choose the solutions appropriate to specific scenarios.

This was echoed by Anthony Soohoo, Fortune One Executive, Entrepreneur & AI Optimist who stated that composable commerce “provides the most flexibility to adapt to any organization”.

Derrick Lynagh, Head of Sales and Partners at Mangopay agreed. Composability “clearly” benefits efficiency through, “flexibility [and the] the ability to make choice”.

Sirko Schneppe, Founder & CCO at diva-e also emphasized the flexible benefits, stating, “Composable commerce gives you more flexibility, which means that you can put in and put out different modules to become more efficient.”

Best of Breed Approach

The best-of-breed approach offered by composable commerce was also highlighted by several of our experts.

Steve Leichsenring, Digital Transformation Marketplace and Partner at KPS AG spoke of how a composable approach allows a best-of-breed approach, emphasizing how this was advantageous to meeting the business goals of clients.

Björn Simon Lange, Partner Commerce at TOWA posited that adopting a best-of-breed strategy is easier now than it has ever been before. “This is, I think the one big benefit of composable commerce,” he stated.

Tobias Mathar, Director Operations at valantic echoed his approval of this strategy, emphasizing that best-of-breed approaches are, “a huge advantage compared to the old monolithic frameworks that we used to work with over the last decades.”

Focus on What Matters

Boris Lokschin, Co-founder and CEO at Spryker highlighted how composable commerce helps clients “focus on what really matters” without getting bogged down in monolithic replatforming. It allows them to select the best components for their needs.

Alex Graf, Founder and co-CEO, also of Spryker, emphasized that composable commerce simplifies the process of fixing specific issues, such as catalog systems, which would be complex in a monolithic environment.

Anurag Mehta, Chief Executive Officer at SkillNet Solutions, highlighted how composability meant that “Every team doesn't have to learn everything”, with the possibility of separate teams only having to focus on the parts that really matter to their roles. “They can become experts in their area of expertise”.

Steve Leichsenring, Digital Transformation Marketplace and Partner at KPS AG described how breaking down platforms by separating the front- and back-end for instance, offers optimal performance for clients.

Incremental Growth

Anurag Mehta, Chief Executive Officer at SkillNet Solutions, was also keen to share how composable commerce promotes incremental growth. “You can start with something small, build some success, learn from it, and then iterate… incrementally you can build complexity in your overall project.”

Alexandru Arapan, Delivery Manager at Nagarro also emphasized how this can benefit legacy systems that bring business value. “By applying a composable approach, the first win is re-usage of those existing systems and coupling with whatever is there, and they can build as they go.” He went on to highlight how the efficiency of their initial investment is not lost but simply built upon to gain further returns.


What is your number one personal hack for efficiency?

We all have our personal hacks we just can't do without. But what do our experts recommend for remaining efficient?


Bringing structure to tasks was a common suggestion among our experts, with many reminding us of the importance of the humble to-do list.

Sirko Schneppe, Founder & CCO at diva-e emphasized maintaining a to-do list, a simple but effective method of structuring tasks.

This was echoed by Devank Gupta, Partnership Development Manager at Infobip, who highlighted his need to have a plan; “I can see the list that I’ve prepared for myself and then just bang out tasks through the day. So that's how I keep myself efficient.”

Timing it Right for You

The time of the day (or even the week!) at which we could be most efficient was frequently mentioned. Anurag Mehta, Chief Executive Officer at SkillNet Solutions suggested dedicating Mondays and Fridays to important, long-term tasks and limiting meetings on these days. He emphasized the importance of keeping Mondays and Fridays clear for larger projects, positing, “The rest of the days are all about operational tasks and getting them done, fast.”

Marcos Raiser do Ó, Head of DACH and CEE at Stripe also shared insights into his most efficient times. “I love to get up early in the morning and find an hour for myself where I can focus and decide on what I'm going to do throughout the day, the week, and even the months," he noted, underscoring the value of utilizing this golden hour for increased efficiency.

Björn Simon Lange, Partner Commerce at TOWA, echoed these sentiments, emphasizing the need to find your unique efficiency time. As he put it, “It’s all about finding your focus and flow time", which could be any time that works for you.

And Alexandru Arapan, Delivery Manager at Nagarro reminded us that timing is also crucial beyond work hours. “Don't stay up too late!” was the sage advice we all need to hear to ensure a productive next day.


Adequately setting priorities was a recurring theme. Elena Leonova, Senior Vice President of Product at Spryker impressed, “My number one hack for efficiency is, most importantly, setting the right priorities”, and emphasized transparency and clarity in communication.

Terrie Ademi, Principal Partner and Sales Manager at Telekom echoed this, saying, “I always set myself goals and prioritize everything that I think needs to be done first.”

Sebastian Storch, Sales Manager B2B / Software Startups EMEA North at AWS also advocated for adequate prioritization, advising that “you see what has most impact, and then you prioritize on a daily, on a weekly basis.”

Our experts also offered advice to ensure you prioritize the right tasks. Derrick Lynagh, Head of Sales and Partners at Mangopay advised “Just avoid multitasking, focus on the task in hand. [You] tend to find you get the best and the quickest results.”

Boris Lokschin, Co-founder and CEO at Spryker agreed with prioritization, emphasizing that this can be achieved by removing items that aren't a priority; “My number one personal hack for efficiency is to get rid of completely unnecessary and unneeded meetings, and meetings which are very badly prepared.”

Tobias Mathar, Director Operations at valantic also weighed in on prioritizing tasks. “Clearly differentiate between what's important on the one hand and what's urgent on the other hand and really focus on what's both important and urgent.” Those things that are not so important, but still urgent, can likely be expedited using AI.

So there you have it! Pro tips on efficiency and AI from leaders in the digital commerce industry!

We’re sure you’re brimming with new ideas and initiatives to increase efficiency in your own business practices and beyond! Spryker would like to thank all of our experts who contributed by sharing their valuable knowledge and insights!

About Spryker

Spryker is the leading composable commerce platform for enterprises with sophisticated business models to enable growth, innovation, and differentiation. Designed specifically for sophisticated transactional business, Spryker’s easy-to-use, headless, API-first model offers a best-of-breed approach that provides businesses the flexibility to adapt, scale, and quickly go to market while facilitating faster time-to-value throughout their digital transformation journey. As a global platform leader for B2B and B2C Enterprise Marketplaces, Thing Commerce, and Unified Commerce, Spryker has empowered 150+ global enterprise customers worldwide and is trusted by brands such as ALDI, Siemens, Hilti, and Ricoh. Spryker was recognized by Gartner® as a Visionary in the 2023 Magic Quadrant™ for Digital Commerce and was also ranked as a Strong Performer in The Forrester Wave™: B2B Commerce Solutions, Q2 2022. Spryker is a privately held technology company headquartered in Berlin and New York. Find out more at

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