Ever wondered why the wholesale businesses are still heavily dependent on offline selling? Although B2B ecommerce has registered 2X GMV growth in just six years from 2013 to 2019 large businesses are still hesitant to go online. Despite being aware of the benefits of online selling, why are the wholesale businesses still shying from launching their online portal? Is it mere inertia or the complexities run deeper?
Well, it seems going online and running a complex wholesale set up is not easy!
What makes it even more complex is the dearth of good B2B ecommerce solutions. If you plan to build a legacy software, it takes up an awful lot of time, resources and expertise. On top of it the customers are demanding more personalizations and ease of use just like B2C ecommerce. Apart from these one needs a flexible and scalable solution that can adapt to the unique requirements of their business.
But even if you find a solution to all of these, the real struggle begins when wholesalers want to retain their B2B ecommerce customers while selling multiple product lines with differential pricing.
Top 3 Challenges Of B2B Ecommerce And Their Simple Solutions
We know that wholesale business is more complex than retail ecommerce. Also, the sales cycle is unique for every client and there is no one size fits all solution like B2C businesses.
Facing these challenges along with the need to build an omnichannel presence becomes quite challenging. Also, finding an easy to use B2B ecommerce platform that can handle all these challenges is quite a task.
So, let us investigate these challenges in detail and try to make it easier for wholesalers to begin their online journey. In this blog we present the unique problems of large businesses and their possible solutions;
1. 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 other. 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.
And not to forget that in the B2B environment, you also have to deal with vendors, suppliers and distributors at various levels. With such a huge and complex environment the wholesale business needs a much simpler and easy to manage solution.
This can be made possible by advanced B2B ecommerce platform StoreHippo that offers comprehensive multi-store functionality. The multi-store feature helps in creating multiple storefronts and still offers a common dashboard to manage products, inventory, deals, discounts, customer lists, order history etc. This setup makes it easy and automated to handle enterprise businesses with multiple product lines.
Along with multi-store ecommerce solutions StoreHippo also offers inbuilt multi vendor marketplace functionality. Using this feature large enterprise businesses can easily manage their suppliers, distributors, vendors etc. StoreHippo also helps in automating and optimizing deliveries with inbuilt delivery solutions like discounted shipping with best logistics partners, delivery boy management module and hyperlocal ecommerce solution for creating better brand presence in the local market.
2. Customer Specific Pricing
B2B ecommerce is all about treating each customer differently. Not all the clients may have the 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 build B2B ecommerce solutions to offer customer specific pricing through their online portal. Although this can be achieved by offering discounts and special deals to the clients, the process can become very complex and difficult to manage. Just imagine a scenario where you have to offer unique pricing through discounts to thousands of customers. Creating the discount codes would be a mammoth task in itself and managing it further will be like scaling the Everest ;)
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, the option to make payment for B2B ecommerce orders in multiple currencies depending on geolocation can help global businesses. StoreHippo platform comes with inbuilt features to handle all these requirements. With features like pricing overrides, IP or login based pricing, multi-currency payments and wholesale as well as retail pricing option enterprise businesses can easily handle this complex requirement.
Along with these, StoreHippo offers the headless commerce architecture which helps wholesale businesses with extreme customizations and personalizations to create unique experiences for each client. Brands can take their B2B ecommerce business to the next level by adding multiple customer touchpoints and creating a truly omnichannel presence .
3. 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 at 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.
StoreHippo B2B ecommerce platform takes care of all these requirements of a wholesale business. It comes equipped with B2B and B2C capabilities that help in maintaining cordial customer relations through various channels. To begin with you get an inbuilt CMS and blog engine to create content for different audience segments. Also you can easily create custom forms to gather your customers’ requirements which speeds up the order process and reduces chances of customers moving to your competitors.
StoreHippo B2B ecommerce platform allows you to integrate with the best in class ERP, mailing software, live chat software, CRM and other tools needed to automate your processes as well as improve your customer engagement. Along with these, StoreHippo also offers an inbuilt discount engine and the functionality to create dynamic marketing pages in no time. This helps you create personalised deals and offers for your clients.
When implemented with smart marketing all these features and tools not only help you engage and convert your customers but also retain them for reorders.
B2B ecommerce has quite a few difficult to handle challenges. However with the right enterprise ecommerce platform like StoreHippo, wholesale businesses can find easy solutions to all their problems.
Built grounds up on the mobile-first principle, StoreHippo offers 300+ inbuilt features to handle the unique requirements of enterprise businesses. Along with these features, StoreHippo B2B ecommerce platform also offers a host of other features that enable business owners to give a competitive edge to their B2B ecommerce. You can reach new markets by using our go global features designed for big brands with global presence.
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