B2B eCommerce: Overcoming the challenges of wholesale buyer adoption

The B2B eCommerce market is poised for exponential growth. In fact, a 2016 Deloitte report says that B2B eCommerce is projected to see year-over-year growth 19% faster than its B2C counterpart. Positioning yourself as a wholesale leader of the future means adopting a smart digital strategy that aligns with B2B buyers’ increasing demands.

But as with any undertaking, building a successful B2B online business isn’t without its challenges. Here’s how to overcome them.

Building B2B buyer relationships

Unlike the typically superficial buyer-seller relationships of the B2C market, successful long-term B2B relationships are the lifeblood of any wholesale eCommerce business. While 86% of B2B buyers prefer self-service for reorders, 76% of B2B buyers nonetheless still find it helpful to speak with a salesperson when researching and considering a new product.

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What does this mean for you? Building a solid foundation for B2B relationships means providing a convenient and personalized customer experience. Be a trusted advisor by offering one-on-one interactions at every buyer touchpoint, but enable customers to take care of their needs when they want to.

Managing smaller margins & cash flow

Because bulk discounts are part-and-parcel with the wholesale business, per-product margins on B2B sales are often lower, leading to ongoing cash flow and profitability issues.

Thankfully, eCommerce has plenty of wholesale advantages in terms of time and money-saving potential. Automating as many processes, workflows, and tools as possible reduces the need for manual labor and minimizes costly errors.

A recent report by Aberdeen found that the top-performing B2B eCommerce businesses were 70% likelier to use automation for invoicing, payments, customer service (chatbots), and contract management than less-profitable wholesale businesses.

Championing customer adoption

Success hinges on your customers being able to use your B2B eCommerce platform, which means user-friendliness should be front of mind with everything you do. This is especially the case when dealing with traditional buyers who may be hesitant to adopt new technologies.

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Think about ways to incentivize customers to purchase online – such as discounts or deals – and provide an online storefront that is intuitive and easy to use.

Finally, it’s up to you to spread the word about your awesome new B2B eCommerce platform, so set out a plan of action for an email campaign to drive adoption – and introduce a support system (online, via phone, chat or otherwise) to help customers get set up.

Implementing sophisticated workflows

B2B and B2C eCommerce are two different beasts. With B2B eCommerce, customer relationships are more complex and long-term, and so are your workflows. With that in mind, it’s critical to plan and execute processes that are streamlined and tailored to your wholesale business requirements.

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Analyzing your stock movements for B2B and B2C (if you have a retail function) and using intelligent reporting functionality will help you identify kinks in the supply chain, which you can iron out by implementing systematized online processes for everything from customer service to shipping and order fulfillment. It’s likely there won’t be a “one-size-fits-all” solution to meet your specific needs, which is why it’s important to choose an eCommerce system that offers the flexibility of integrating with your preferred inventory management system, accounting system, shipping provider, and so on.

Achieving scale

Laying the foundation for growth is all about choosing the right tools to automate and streamline processes, and making sure those tools have the wherewithal to keep up with increased demand. Managing these demands is challenging in and of itself, but can be made easier through automation.

Do you want to start selling wholesale online with your own B2B eCommerce Platform?

Invite your wholesale customers to an online store tailored to them with TradeGecko today!

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