Ever wondered why the wholesale business has not yet caught up vis-a-vis online presence as their retail counterparts? Despite knowing the obvious benefits of taking their business online why is it that successful wholesale business owners are shying from B2B ecommerce? Is it merely inertia or the complexities run deeper?
If you have ever had the chance to discuss this with B2B business owners and experts, the reasons turn out to be many. To begin with, wholesale business is more complex than retail or simple ecommerce. The sales cycles are not only longer but also more complex and there are multiple decision makers involved in various steps of the sales funnel. Handling multiple product lines and dealing with large volume orders, each requiring a customized pricing adds to the challenge.
Facing these challenges along with finding constant channels to increase their sales makes it difficult for the wholesale business owners to rely on the limited and often complicated solutions offered by the B2B ecommerce platforms.
So, let us try to investigate these
Single Brand, Multiple Product Lines
Oftentimes a parent wholesale brand is dealing in multiple product lines. They have multiple shops and showrooms for their various product lines. There is a structured flow to manage the marketing, sales, customer relations and profit/loss for each of these stores.
How to handle so many stores in the online sphere is the first concern of wholesalers who are considering B2B ecommerce for their brand. The first thing that can be tried is launching multiple websites, each for a given product line. Sounds simple, doesn't it?
Now consider a scenario where each product line has a unique store with its unique offers and range of products for a target customer segment. This can become pretty complex and unmanageable if they take the approach of launching one site after the another. Add to this the complexity of handling inventory, orders, customers and delivery process of each website separately. Very soon the business will need additional resources just to manage and coordinate the multiple stores.
The wholesale business needs a much simpler and easy to manage solution. This can be made possible by one of the B2B ecommerce platforms that offer comprehensive multi-store functionality. The multi-store feature that allows the creation of multiple storefronts and still offers a common dashboard to manage products, inventory, deal, discounts, customer lists, order history etc. can make life easy for whole businesses with multiple product lines.
Customer Specific Pricing
B2B ecommerce is all about treating each customer differently. Not all the clients may have same preferences and order volume. Wholesale businesses have to maintain a special equation with each client by catering to their specific order frequency and ticket size.
Wholesale businesses usually have different contracts with different clients and according to the sales volume, they offer their customers differential pricing. This not only helps in retaining customers but also helps them in making their overall business more profitable.
While taking their business online, wholesale business owners are not sure how they can offer customer specific pricing through the online portal. Although, this can be achieved by offering discounts and special deals on B2B ecommerce platforms the process can become very complex and difficult to manage if you have to offer unique pricing to thousands of customers.
Hence, wholesale business owners need a simpler and straightforward approach to this issue. To handle this core requirement, there should be a functionality that offers customer-specific pricing for every order. Individual customers can be offered customized pricing based on their login. Also, offering payment in multiple currencies depending on geolocation can help global businesses. An ecommerce platform with the functionality of pricing overrides, IP or login based pricing, multi-currency payments and wholesale as well as retail pricing option can easily handle this complex requirement of wholesale businesses.
Retaining B2B eCommerce Customers
Customer retention is the key to every successful business. It is a known fact that acquiring new customers is 5x costlier than keeping your old ones. Loyal and happy customers not only keep coming to you for further purchases but they also bring additional business by reference and word of mouth.
B2B relationships are more difficult to maintain as it involves multiple decision makers. In a real-world environment personal interactions with concerned parties help to gain access to additional information and thus develop a long-term bond with wholesale clients. Hence, it is natural for wholesale business owners to be apprehensive about losing the personal touch when they opt for B2B ecommerce solutions.
This concern can be addressed easily if your ecommerce platform is equipped with features like unified notifications, inquiry generation forms and integrations with third-party mailing and customer engagement solutions. Unified notifications like emails, SMS, mobile and web push keep customers engaged in various steps of their sales process. Inquiry forms allow you to gather special inputs from customers so that you know their exact requirements and can offer deals based on them. Integration with mailing and customer engagement software helps you to maintain a regular touch with your clients.
Hence, if wholesale business owners choose one of the B2B ecommerce platforms with B2B and B2C capabilities they can easily maintain cordial customer relations and thus retain their customers.
Enterprise ecommerce platforms like StoreHippo are equipped to handle all the above issues faced by wholesalers. Along with these features, the platform also offers a host of other features that enable business owners to give a competitive edge to their B2B ecommerce.
If you are also facing some challenges that are unique or have queries regarding taking your wholesale business online, book a demo with StoreHippo and let us find a solution for you.