Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC), a beverage alcohol distributor, reported that its online sales through the eRNDC e-commerce platform reached $800 million in annual sales and $1.7 billion in lifetime sales in 2023, surpassing the cumulative e-commerce revenue of the previous two years. This includes a 32% year-over-year growth in the number of monthly active customers on the platform, the company states.
“A large and growing number of our customers are now embracing B2B e-commerce as a complementary vehicle to engage with us,” said Nick Mehall, President and CEO, RNDC in a news release. “eRNDC has demonstrated significant market adoption over the past twelve months.”
A Collaborative E-Commerce Platform
Featuring more than 6,700 brands, eRNDC is an AI-powered platform where customers can easily connect with suppliers and place orders. With AI features such as intelligent search, product recommendations and local market curations, the platform has been quickly gaining momentum since its inception.
“RNDC has invested in this proprietary platform in the last few years to meet the demands and the complexity of our industry, and our results indicate our strategy is firmly taking hold,” Mehall continued in the release. “By directly providing 24/7 access and making product information easily accessible to customers and our sales reps, we are bringing brands closer to customers. By offering order dashboards, invoices, and online payments, we also free up our sales team from some of the administrative tasks and give them more time to spend with customers.”
eRNDC Data Reflects Industry Trends
In the last year as eRNDC sales accelerated, certain trends emerged from analyzing customer shopping behaviors on the platform.
In on-premise accounts, customers tend to search products by category. Twelve of the top 20 search terms were category-specific with tequila, bourbon and champagne being the most searched, the company states.
Off-premise customers, on the other hand, tended to find products by searching for brands first, rather than by category. Bourbon and tequila were the top two category search terms for off-premise customers, according to the company.
In general, the online sales paralleled overall beverage industry trends:
- Searches for luxury, super-premium and ultra-premium spirits products continuously trended up.
- Champagne, Cabernet, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Sakes are the top categories for wines.
“Looking ahead to 2024, we are anticipating more customers will leverage the platform to discover products and brands. We are also seeing more suppliers incorporate B2B platforms like eRNDC as building blocks of their commercial strategy,” said Emily Xu, RNDC SVP of e-commerce, in the release.
“With the fast development in AI and machine learning, we are very excited to partner with our sales team, our suppliers, and our customers to continue evolving our platform to be the best collaborative eCommerce platform that seamlessly connects three tiers of the beverage alcohol industry,” added Xu.