In the past, running a wholesale business might be limited to print catalogs, cold-calling or door-to-door sales, and data entry into spreadsheets. Now there are alternatives to managing your business and getting your products out there, such as starting a B2B eCommerce store.
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As the world becomes more reliant on the convenience of the internet, more companies are expanding their business online. The same goes for the B2B industry; an article by Forbes mentioned that B2B eCommerce is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 15% and estimated to be worth $6.7 trillion by 2020.
Regardless of whether you’re new to B2B or an experienced wholesaler looking to lower your administrative costs by moving online, we have some tips to help you run your B2B business online.
When you’re selling online, potential buyers are relying on the images and descriptions on your site to help them make an informed purchase.
For a start, make sure your products look good in the photos on your site. That means good lighting and a uniform background (ideally white) to ensure your products are in the spotlight without any distractions for the viewer. Also, including multiple shots of your product from different angles (front, side and back) can help you clinch a sale, as potential customers appreciate having a clear idea of the product they’re buying, especially when they’re about to buy in bulk!
You also want to provide accurate descriptions of your products that cover all the necessary specifications, such as materials, measurements and the country of origin. In addition, you can outline any shipping restrictions, your minimum order quantity and other important points of note in the description.
You have a few options when you’re setting up your online wholesale store. You can choose a marketplace platform like Amazon Business, Etsy Wholesale or Alibaba, or you can choose to set up a private B2B eCommerce site.
Depending on your business model, you might opt for a specific marketplace. For example, Amazon Business is great if you’re a distributor or manufacturer selling to businesses in the United States. On the other hand, Alibaba is best suited for large scale manufacturers that are unconcerned about strong brand identity and looking for economies of scale. Finally, Etsy Wholesale is best suited for artists and designers who produce their own products and sell to retailers.
If B2B marketplaces aren’t right for you, you can look into setting up a private B2B portal on your site. The benefit of marketplaces is that they have an existing audience, yet you’re competing with many other products. If you use your own site, you’ll need to promote it using channels like Google ads or your offline sales channels.
However, running your own wholesale store means that you’ll have full control over how your products are seen by prospective buyers.
Running your B2B business online comes with another perk: integrations. You’ll be able to sync up all aspects of your business, from your B2B eCommerce store to accounting to inventory, order and warehouse management.
Integrations can save you administrative time and effort. Instead of deducting daily sales from your inventory levels and entering sales order details on a spreadsheet, you can sync your B2B eCommerce store with compatible inventory management software to ensure you enjoy real time inventory updates.
By linking up different business applications like accounting and fulfillment, you’ll also be able to deliver better customer experiences with automatic notifications. That way, you’ll save time fielding calls and inquiries from customers about their order status.
If you’re setting up a wholesale business online, you can start by optimizing image and descriptions, choosing the right platform, and selecting the right integrations so your business can run smoothly. Once you’ve done the groundwork, it’s time to focus on selling more by automating your business processes.
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