Online wholesale management is the systematic and strategic approach to operating a wholesale business through cloud-based software—also known as wholesale eCommerce.
On the buyer-facing side, today’s fastest-growing small-to-medium wholesalers digitize a host of complex processes that have traditionally been run offline:
- Marketing initiatives
- Transactional processes
- Sales campaigns and deal structuring
- Purchasing, invoicing, financing, and reordering
- Overall customer experience and relationship management
- Internally, wholesale management solutions simplify inventory management, order fulfillment, and supply-chain optimization.
In this guide, we will explore how both B2B companies can move into Wholesale eCommerce to sell more, grow faster, and run smarter.
Why is online wholesale the new normal in B2B sales?
Investing in the right wholesale eCommerce platform will also allow your business to run more efficiently and effectively—and will provide numerous opportunities for your company to grow.
Data shows that among wholesale buyers …
- 74% use web-based technology to conduct research before making a purchase
- 73% use digital channels to make work-related purchases
- 82% want their online business purchase experience to be similar to “when they’re buying for themselves.”
- 74% research more than half their business purchases online—with 53% making those purchases online as well
- In other words, the modern B2B consumer does their homework before making a purchase. And they do it on their own. No longer do wholesale buyers sit back and wait for suppliers to spoon-feed them information; they go out and find it themselves.
Among the many pieces of info they look for, B2B buyers take it upon themselves to:
- Dig into potential solutions to their current problem or issue
- Compare products, prices, and purchasing terms of brands
- Begin the initial stages of the purchasing process altogether
- By providing everything through an online wholesale solution, you place the power potential customers want in the palm of their hands.
You can also empower your current customers even further by allowing them to complete nearly all of the purchasing process with little assistance on your end. Creating a Wholesale eCommerce portal for your customers allows them to:
- Make repeat purchases
- Schedule and monitor deliveries
- Browse product catalogs for new goods
- Change fulfillment as needed—without having to wait for your team to call them back
- In giving your customers more control over their experience with your brand, they’ll trust you—and will continue doing business with your company moving forward.
What do businesses need in a Wholesale eCommerce platform?
To start, let’s examine why bringing your wholesale business online—or, extending your B2C business into wholesale—will benefit existing customers as well as attract new customers.
It’s no secret that technology makes things easier—and this applies to the world of retail. To start, being online adds a direct wholesale channel that makes it easier for both parties to get in touch with each other throughout the buyer’s journey. The faster your prospects can move through the sales funnel toward conversion, the more likely they will become customers.
Operating online can also make your transactional processes streamlined. While your sales teams probably won’t want to be hands-off as their customers go through with a purchase, automation takes much of the legwork out of the process. In turn, your salespeople can focus more energy on providing top-notch value to their customers.
Overall, diving into the world of B2B online retail will allow your business to get things done without having to deal with excess downtime or hang-ups.
Efficiency, however, is just one side of the coin. The right solution can also make your team more effective.
Case in point, McKinsey found that wholesale companies that fully adopt an online approach to marketing and sales can see five times the revenue growth of a non-digital competitor.
Additionally, Econsultancy found that business owners who have moved their ordering process online report an increased average order value (AOV) of 44%.
In meeting your customers’ needs throughout their journey—and doing so on their terms—you develop a sense of trust within them. If they can trust that you’re 100% dedicated to providing top-notch value, they have no reason not to do business with your company.
As your online presence allows your wholesale company to become more efficient and effective, you’ll soon find yourself in a position where you have a major opportunity to grow. This stems from the fact that (1) you’re getting more done and (2) you’re using fewer resources to do it all.
Whether this means streamlining internal processes or providing more value to prospective customers leading up to conversion, your team will finally be able to spend their time and energy on initiatives that actually matter to your company’s growth.
As you complete these improvements and initiatives, and your now-online wholesale company begins running like an even more finely-tuned machine, you can also start thinking about scaling and expanding.
Whether this means branching out into new territories or audience bases, or expanding the services you provide your current customers, you’ll likely now have the bandwidth to tackle your new venture head on—and with relative ease.
Bringing your business online will also enable you to develop and implement inbound marketing strategies.
B2B audiences are actively searching for information from providers; if you’re able to give them what they need from the start, it will be much easier to bring them onboard as paying customers in the future. While the list of potential approaches is virtually endless, some examples include:
Developing a series of blog posts to generate awareness of a specific topic or issue (as well as understanding of your brand)
Creating a white paper to give consideration-stage prospects a more complete idea of what your services can do for them
Highlighting case studies and success stories from your current customer base to your prospective clients
But it’s not just that being online allows you to deliver highly-relevant content to your customers quickly. What’s important to understand is that bringing your wholesale business online enables you to give your customers exactly what they’re looking for, exactly when they need it—no matter what that “it” might be..
A robust online presence will allow you to tailor your prospects’ experience with your brand to their needs anytime. Again, the possible ways of doing so are endless:
- Creating and delivering sales quotes or terms to your customers via their preferred channels and platforms
- Providing individualized options for payment, delivery, and other transactional processes
- Sending dynamically-generated newsletters full of content curated with a single recipient’s interests in mind
Within your wholesale customer-facing online portal, you can also manage segment- or account-specific settings and processes, as well. This may involve:
- Allowing payments in multiple currencies
- Separating wholesale and retail prices
- Setting price breaks for bulk orders
- Personalizing prices based deal terms
- Personalized and individualized service has been a staple of B2B relationships since well before the advent of eCommerce. It only makes sense, then, that such personalization has become even more in demand as our world becomes increasingly connected.
By taking full advantage of the various tools and technology the online world offers, you’ll ultimately be able to give your customers the experience they’ve come to expect from a company like yours.
Ready for a modern wholesale management solution?
Stock&Buy provides an end-to-end wholesale management solution that allows you to automate your entire supply chain ecosystem. Our wholesale software allows for seamless and real-time:
- Sales processing: Whether online through a B2B eCommerce portal or in-person through the B2B mobile app.
- Inventory management: Keep track of your products as you sell, manufacture, and restock across multiple warehouse locations and channels.
- Order and fulfillment management: Sync orders from multiple sales channels with inventory and accounting to boost business efficiency.
- Relationship management: Keep all your customer and supplier data in one place, complete with purchase histories and customer-specific insights.