In today’s digital business world, online B2B sales can be seen exploding almost everywhere. Brands and wholesale distributors from all across the world are becoming more and more aware of this fact and have started investing a considerable amount of time and resources to go online.
But isn’t this a good thing?
Of course, it is. Because of this reason alone, we have seen a considerable rise in online orders being made in large quantities. This has further lead to the need for improved customer satisfaction that wasn’t part of the Business to Business sales process till now.
But as is the case, every rose has its share of thorns. For business entrepreneurs, it comes in the form of certain myths associated with it.
Yes, the culprits here are the myths surrounding the Business to Business ecommerce that has made these wholesale distributors a bit paranoid about their chances to succeed.
Storehippo presents to you 8 such wholesale myths and how you can get past them to get to the real truth.
1. Build a website and customers will come flocking in
Forrester claims, Business to the Business industry will become a staggering $1.8 trillion dollar industry by 2023 and will account for 17% of all sales in the US alone. Isn’t this something to look forward to? No wonder, brands and B2B want so badly to set up an online wholesale shop.
Under ideal circumstances, you would have seen a plethora of businesses going online. But this isn’t the case. Businesses today are hesitant despite having some of the best solutions available at hand. There must be something keeping them from taking their business to the virtual world.
There is. And the problem is, there are wholesalers who need help getting started. They simply don’t know where to begin. Then, there are others who prefer a face-to-face interaction to one over a screen. Plus, you will find plenty of people who don’t know where to look for solutions. There must be something more to be done in this regard..
Of course, there is.
- Promote your ecommerce website through all the available means, be it through social media, email, support centre, your sales representatives or any other channels. Also do it regularly, as this is not a one-time task.
- Provide your field representatives hands-on training sessions with your support team (or through online tutorials) to simplify the onboarding process.
- For your wholesale business to yield faster results, it is important that you make the benefits clear to your buyers, such as- they can now order freely anytime, anywhere, how it will help them perform their jobs better, etc.
- If possible, offer a support channel where your B2B buyers can contact you in real-time in case they have any queries. Your best option would be live chat followed by your contact number.
- Another thing you can offer are incentives in the form of promotions and discounts that can only be availed online.
- Lastly, you need to follow up on cart abandonments. Act proactively and let your support team monitor carts and help buyers complete the purchase.
2. In Business to Business sales representatives are no longer needed
Online selling, since its advent, has brought many major changes in the ecommerce industry, especially for sales representatives. And although the majority of buyers these days prefer self-service for reordering, you will still find many who want to speak to a sales representative while researching and before purchasing a new product.
So, it doesn’t matter how effectively you are running your sales channels, if it does not include both online self-service and face-to-face selling, your buyer’s journey will always be incomplete.
Even with more and more customers shifting to online buying, you can always find extra work for your B2B sales representatives. They can be moved on to play a far more consultative and business advisory role.
The thing is, you can never undermine the role of sales representatives on the onboarding process. Because when it comes to promoting your online store, we bet you won’t find any promotional tool better than your field representatives.
Not to mention they can hand-hold your customers through the buying phase besides offering help and support whenever required.
Moreover, your sales reps also act as brand ambassadors for your B2B company, focussing on new product sales, offering business advice, up-sell and cross-sell, handling large scale or complex orders and much more.
Business sales representatives will always be needed in your organization, just in a different role.
3. Online Wholesale business isn’t my cup of tea
This is something you will often hear from wholesale companies that tend to see online stores as a retail thing. Equally overwhelming is the fact that the concept of online stores originated and went on to become a global standard for retail, not wholesale.
Ecommerce empowered customers from all over the world by bringing speed, convenience, and accessibility to retail purchases. Now, they can shop round-the-clock without the help of any sales representative.
But if you compare Business to Customers with Business to Business, the myth that generally prevails is that the latter companies have longer sales cycles and their purchasing decisions usually involve numerous managers and departments. Moreover, their business model involves highly customized product offerings and pricing structures.
The one-size-fits-all purchase model that works wonders with B2C just won’t work here. And that is why is it so difficult to build customer relationships in B2B.
But the reality is a bit different. Online stores have evolved a lot over the years with industry giants such as eBay and Amazon setting the new standard for customer experience. And it won’t be wrong to say here that this has influenced every area of electronic commerce development, including Business to Business.
Which is why online platforms are incorporating the best features you find in B2C including price and product transparency, 24-hour accessibility, etc. But it gets even better as in B2B you can configure things like prices and products as per customer basis. Moreover, you can create individual promotions, price by quote and such things.
4. Business customers hate dealing with digital technology
No, this is also not true. The whole idea behind using technology is to automate simple and repetitive tasks such as order management etc. So, when you use a best-in-class online platform that uses intelligent software to make its processes quicker and easier, it really pays off.
Your business buyers also expect this since they too have used sites like Amazon and eBay as consumers in their personal lives. This is something they prefer in their professional lives too. Also, it frees up your team to help you assist with other core competencies of your business.
Automation helps with a streamlined customer journey and a faultless customer experience which, in turn, makes ecommerce an easy affair.
For example, with electronic commerce, you can offer live chat support and customer service portals for better management of your customer experience. These should seamlessly be integrated into your site design to make the entire process natural and unobtrusive.
5. Cool web design is only for B2C
Web design trends change all the time. A website that looked amazing a few years back might look hopelessly out of date today. Just because you are in B2B niche and not B2C, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take note of the latest web design trends.
Here’s what you need to do
- First of all, build and design your website for longevity rather than focussing on newfangled designs that don’t improve the customer experience.
- Research your competitors’ websites and learn from them. Pick the tools that not only look cool but can also make your buyers’ journey comfortable.
- Make sure to build a mobile responsive website so as you allow your customers to browse your site on their preferred devices.
- Shifting some of your content into video format is another good idea. Videos are not only engaging for ecommerce users but are also getting more and more cheaper to produce.
- Lastly, plan design tweaks on regular intervals throughout the year. This will help get your site up to date according to current industry norms.
6. Building a website for common masses is a good move
No, it isn’t.
Build a website exclusively for your customers and not for the general masses.
The thing is, if your website lacks a real point of interaction between your brand and what your customers are looking for, you will fail to interact with them on a personal level.
The journey to being relevant to your B2B customers starts with getting to know them in the first place. Consider building out detailed buyer personas to offer more personalized deals to your customers. Thorough market research should help you with that.
Because, once you have successfully identified the buyer personas, you can target your customers better. You can use compelling messages to answer your audience’s questions even without them asking for it. Likewise, you can easily create quotes that inspires them to buy from you.
7. You don’t need social proof to woo your business clients
We know where this myth came from.
Social proof has always been associated with B2C sales cycle but that doesn’t mean your B2B business cannot benefit from it.
Because customers, whether wholesale or retail, hate making wrong choices. They want to feel that they are investing in a popular product or service, one that has been validated by other satisfied customers.
Start focusing on your online efforts even from the very beginning and create a social hub for your brand. Your wholesale customers also want to see reviews, testimonials, and success stories before investing.
What you can do here is to encourage as many customers as possible to leave reviews on your ecommerce site. One way of doing this is by sending out personalized post-purchase emails, asking them to share their opinions.
But instead of asking them for reviews, ask them to help others by sharing their knowledge with the wider business community.
8. Digital wholesale is going to be an expensive affair
Well, if we had this conversation about a decade ago, we would have totally agreed with you. The web development and customization costs back then were something to be afraid of.
But not today.
Nowadays, you can create a business website without burning a hole in the pocket.
StoreHippo is one such budget-friendly B2B online platform provider that offers a powerful solution to its users at affordable prices. Plus, you can find many amazing in-built features for a robust wholesale experience, without spending any extra. Let’s look at some such.
- All the themes available at StoreHippo are free of cost.
- Plus, you can create custom pricing and catalogue.
- You can also get a fully functioned mobile app for your business.
- Moreover, you get free SSL certificates to help secure your business website.
- You can keep your users engaged and informed with the help of PUSH notifications.
- You can create customized forms for better conversions.
- Here, you can sell on terms and with credit limits.
- It can help you streamline quote management and price negotiation.
- Lastly, you can avail free initial store setup under selected plans.
StoreHippo can help you create the ecommerce website of your dreams at affordable prices which mostly depends on the product configuration, the complexity of your website, and any other unique functionality.
Busting the myths
Myths can pop up for any reason, be it a misinterpreted study or word of mouth. Facts or figures are oftentimes consciously or unconsciously distorted to mean something else.
However, by busting these myths, you can rest assured that you know the truth, that will enable you to act accordingly resulting in making great strides for your B2B business. Today, it’s way easier than ever to get started and build a powerful, flexible and easy-to-use online platform so as to help you with better conversions.
StoreHippo is the modern-day ecommerce platform that has worked hard since the beginning to debunk any and all of the prevailing myths, thereby implementing the features based on facts and facts alone.
Book your StoreHippo free demo or start your 14 days trial period today!