Is your wholesale business joining the electronic commerce revolution?
If not, you could very well be missing out on the 12.2 trillion US dollars industry. If you ask us, that’s a lot of money to tap on to.
Don’t you agree?
Of course, you do. That‘s why you are reading this article.
But the truth is, Business to Business industry, just like every other industry, has its own set of challenges. For example, the proliferation of digital channels is making it difficult for businesses to keep up with the needs of contemporary B2B buyers. And even by leveraging new technologies, they are unsure whether they are seamlessly integrated with existing enterprise systems or not.
Worried? Let’s bring you reason to cheer!
The good news is, with the right strategy and a thorough mindset, you can easily overcome these and other such challenges that have plagued the industry in 2019.
So, let’s take a look at some such strategies that will help you pave the way of your wholesale business into 2020 and beyond.
1) M-commerce; The Way To Growth
What is Business to Business mobile commerce?
Are you too wondering the same question? Well, it’s exactly what the name suggests, people using their phones or tablets more and more for buying and selling things online.
And it gets even better in the future. Google claims that by 2020, the business mobile search will increase by 2-3 hours per day per marketer.
Isn’t this a good way to start a new year? It is. Here are a few considerations for the upcoming year.
- Mobile-ready sites. These B2B sites load quickly in mobile devices since they are well structured and their layout is super-friendly.
- Mobile apps. These are great for offering personalized content with Push notifications and instant updates. It even lets your users easy access even when offline.
- Progressive Web Apps (PWA). Though designed like mobile apps, PWA offers the full functionality of websites with dynamic data and database access.
Using next-generation ecommerce platforms such as StoreHippo offers tons of advantages in this regard. These include SPA or Single Page Application which allows the ecommerce site or app to load only once (other relevant resources are added to the page as necessary), MEAN (an open-source web stack that comes with its own web server for better scalability), CDN (for reduced content load and response time) etc.
These advantages not only improve user experience but also help improve rankings on mobile-friendly search engines (such as Google and Yahoo). Not to mention, they offer competitive advantages as well.
Mobile commerce is something that will make the lives of both wholesale suppliers and their buyers that much easier. Think about it, won’t it be wonderful if you can give your buyers the ability to place orders quickly from anywhere, at any time and on any device?
Believe us, your customers will love it.
2) Buyer expectation- How to live up to it
Are you afraid you won’t be able to meet customer expectations?
Worry not. Business buyers expect interactions with companies to be effortless and we will help you offer them just that.
Unique customer experience
An outstanding customer experience, which was earlier considered to be the exclusive domain of B2C businesses, has now found its way into the B2B industry. Studies also prove that as many as 90% of business marketers are willing to spend more on providing a unique customer experience whereas 86% of business consumers will pay more for having that unique customer experience.
So, what are you waiting for?
Your business customers are expecting something from you. And 2020 seems a ripe year to give them that. You know why? Because the majority of companies currently serving the business industry rarely take a comprehensive, cross-functional approach to customer service.
But you can change that. Start by being enthusiastic about satisfying wholesale customers and making them feel special. In other words, try to understand their needs before delivering them. And while delivering, aim for responsiveness i.e. a timely response. It’s even better if you react proactively by resolving issues before the customer feels the pain.
Remember, offering unique customer experience is a never-ending process and with passing time, you keep getting better at it.
You have probably heard of ecommerce website personalization in the business community. How well are you practising it? And by practising, we don’t mean simply using someone’s name, although it’s a good place to start.
The thing is, personalization humanizes the interaction between a business and its customers like nothing else. It literally transforms a cold, mechanical transaction into an intimate exchange between two individuals.
To achieve this, you must develop on your personalization strategies to ensure that the content remains relevant and contextual. Here are some tips you can use-
- Personalize the B2B emails. Besides using the first name of the recipient, ensure that you thoroughly understand the business and write your email accordingly. It should be as if you are talking to a close friend.
- Personalize the content of your business website including CTAs, white papers, case studies etc. The idea here is to take the existing content and repurpose it to suit the demographics visiting your site.
- You can also use social media to start conversations. The best place would be LinkedIn. You know why? Because this place is tailor-made for linking businesses with other businesses.
Personalization and customer experience always go hand in hand and they both get better with passing time.
3) Seamless Ordering
Business to Business ecommerce market has a lot of potential to tap into.
Unfortunately, this type of business opportunity will come with its own set of expectations to deal with in the upcoming year. One such will be offering a streamlined order management process. Luckily, you can live up to your customers’ expectations by offering-
Easier and faster checkout
Give your prospects and customers the ideal experience at checkout in 2020 by removing as many obstacles on the path to purchase. Design a one-page checkout if possible. If not, at least reduce the number of forms required to progress through the checkout. It will help minimize the burden of personal information required to buy.
Multiple payment options
With the continuous growth of wholesale businesses, it will soon be difficult for companies to pay in checks or cash (or single payment option for that matter) to multiple suppliers or vendors. And 2020 seems as good a year as any to offer your buyers multiple ways to pay using trustworthy payment gateways (such as PayTM, PayPal etc.) that eliminates the hassles and security risks generally associated with business transactions.
Easier repeat ordering
In Business to Business commerce, repeat orders are common and often the differentiating component between successful and unsuccessful businesses. You must make it absolutely convenient for your B2B customers to repeat previously placed order, with or without the option to modify the ordered items.
Improved online order tracking
Think of it as a new year gift to your clients, an improved order tracking system that allows your customers to gain insight into where their order is at any given point in time. It is a crucial component of improving customer satisfaction related to order fulfilment. A Forrester survey also claims that 78% of business buyers consider an online tracking system on the ecommerce website to be extremely important to the overall satisfaction with their suppliers.
Lastly, your view of offering a seamless ordering procedure to your customers is incomplete without involving a strong business parcel delivery service. And if you are unable to offer it yourself, it’s better to consider a new-age shipping solution (such as ShipKaro) that is fully capable of handling all your delivery-related needs.
For those of you who are wondering what automation is, it is simply a way for you to take tasks that otherwise would have to be handled by hand and automate them with the help of digital tools and software.
Let’s take a look at some of the different wholesale automation strategies that you can use to bolster your business.
Integrated Order Management
Automation will give you centralized control over your business order management cycle along with a consolidated view of all sales orders captured across the ecommerce platform.
Automating inventory management can unify administration framework for your stock. It will help you anticipate the stock necessities by holding your stock dimensions under check with online synchronization over every part of your B2B business.
Automation in product management allows your product teams to build and share visual and interactive product roadmaps which, in turn, helps align your team around your product vision.
By automating user management, you can easily manage user access to various resources of your business. In other words, it helps define the different roles and capabilities of different users.
Integrating a sophisticated segmentation program will help you create dynamic segments based on profile and behavioural attributes along with the pages your wholesalers visit, forms they compete, and the links they click.
Interactive product visualization
Interactive product visualization is in itself a unique automation strategy that allows your customers to interact i.e. a chance to see, understand and experience a product before making the purchase.
Another must-have to complete your automation strategy. By using a seamless shipping solution such as ShipKaro, you can easily automate all the manual tasks associated with the product deliveries.
5) High and Rapid Customizations For the New Age buyers
When you customize your ecommerce website, you offer your business customers a more effective experience rather than giving them a flat, generic one. This is common knowledge. What’s strange however is despite this, Business to Business customization is still not a widely accepted strategy.
But things are about to change in 2020, right?
The thing is, business buyers have learned certain habits they’ve picked up from years of being conditioned by Amazon. As a result, they too want their buying journey personalized and streamlined, with relevant offers every now and then.
Let’s see how you can customize the whole B2B experience for your customers in the upcoming year.
- Begin by creating buying personas and segmenting your email lists based on them. If you wish, you can also offer promotional coupons or complementary products (to sweeten the deal). These types of rewards are great for personalizing the customer experience.
- Next, you can customize your business site by offering easy navigation options, an effective search engine, landing pages specifically designed for promotions etc. You can also create landing pages for repeat customers when they log in.
- Creating a customized catalogue based on their wholesale contract, terms and conditions is another great strategy. And so is providing a quick order/bulk order form for quick ordering.
Customization at its core is all about leveraging what you know about your customers based on past and current interactions and using the customer profile in your electronic commerce platform to store key customer attributes.
These attributes can then be combined to create customer personas which in turn, enable you to drive relevant interactions.
The takeaway is simple, take a close look at your customers and figure out how you can deliver a personalized experience that is relevant to your industry.
6) New-age Marketing
Till now, the majority of B2B firms have primarily been thinking about direct techniques when it comes to applying a business marketing strategy. These direct techniques are usually focussed on the message that they are sending to their potential clients and their goal is to convey the message that is convincing enough so as to attract and engage the site visitors.
This strategy worked well in the past years but since then, we have witnessed a lot of expansion in the Business to Business industry. Which is why the ecommerce marketing strategies which worked wonders till now won’t help us much in 2020 and beyond.
Witnessing the current trends, here are some marketing strategies that are a must-do for present-day companies who are looking to swell in the future.
The best data-driven marketers are already aware of the current situation and have begun to adapt. How? By embracing data and the idea of account-based tracking (identifying which accounts to target and pursuing them). In order to nail it like a pro, you need to-
- Gather your data in order and while doing so, avoid asking the wholesalers for tons of info.
- Next, you need to sync your acquired data to the right tools (your CRM, marketing automation tool, product database etc.)
- And lastly, to use the information you have to create personalized interactions with them.
Omni-channel marketing strategy
Omnichannel marketing is a customer-centric approach that works irrespective of the channel rather than merely being applied to a specified number and type of channels. In simple words, it is primarily about being relevant to all the places a customer may expect to find you.
Now, you might confuse omnichannel with cross-channel or multi-channel B2B marketing but it is much more than that. In omnichannel, your priority is to be ‘omnipresent’ in the consumers’ experience even if you are only using three or four channels.
A must-have approach for 2020. Don’t you agree?
Business to Business commerce, as we can see, is only as good as the strategies behind it. And 2020 will only inspire ourselves to get more and more familiar with the data, tools and platforms that make the business industry a huge success in the future.
Follow the strategies mentioned above and use modern-day ecommerce platforms such as StoreHippo which comes pre-integrated with everything you need to tap this trillion-dollar industry in 2020 and beyond.