You’re a wholesaler. (hi, wholesaler!) As a successful one, you probably spend a lot of time thinking about growing your business, increasing your sales, and fulfilling your customer’s needs. We bet you also spend a lot of time looking into ways to make your operations smoother and make it easier for your customers to buy from you.
Everyone is talking about getting on the cloud and doing everything online. It’s definitely a turning point in the way business is being done and they’re talking about it for good reason.
eCommerce retail sales just in the United States was estimated to have reached US$304.91 billion, which is huge. However, Forrester predicts that by the end of this year, eCommerce wholesale sales in the USA will reach US$780 billion, an even more staggering amount. eCommerce is clearly doin' its thang.
So what does taking wholesale online really mean? We’re all getting really good at online shopping. Some of us are pros at it. But why should that be limited to retailers only? Taking wholesale online means you now have your own B2B eCommerce store where your buyers - regulars or new, can login to your store, select the products they want, place bulk orders and snap - they’re done. No more looking through catalogues, endless phone calls with your sales folks on stock availability, or sending in order sheets via fax or email.
Keeping all this in mind, let’s say that right now, you have 2 options.
Option 1: Keep wholesaling as you always have, even if that means you’ll have to explain what a fax machine is to your next generation of customers or
Option 2: Take your current wholesale business a step further: take it online and watch how it changes your business for the better.
What’s that? You’ll take option 2? Great! Here are 8 reasons why you’re making the right choice by giving your wholesale business an online presence.
Econsultancy recently found that business owners that have moved their ordering process online report an increased average order value (AVO) of 44%. In addition, 38% of the surveyed company executives have said customers spend more online than in-person or other transaction methods. An easier, faster way not only allows for, but encourages more sales. If all customers have to do is log in to your online eCommerce portal to make a purchase, there’s not much stopping them!
Never underestimate the importance of self-service. Letting your customers get online when it’s convenient for them empowers them. And when it comes down to it, customers are busy people too. Eliminate a lot of time spent doing the paperwork of ordering, which frees up your customers to improve their own businesses.
If they have a question, they can get online and find out the answer themselves. Maybe they don’t remember a detail and can look it up. And what if they could make orders through their mobile or tablet? In the middle of the night, or while on vacation? Without having to wait for your salespeople? This is the power of self-service. And you can improve communication with your customers with faster response times and a better connection.
Instead of your sales folks carrying around heavy product catalogues, all your products will be online.This means more access to pictures, descriptions, all your products. Most platforms, like our B2B eCommerce platform allow you to set customized price lists. It also means product updates are easy. All this online access changes the way people research,view, and buy your product.
With a new channel to market your business and your products, you may pick up some new customers as well. Being online lets you reach areas where you don’t have salesrooms or a sales team. As long as you have killer product photos and an extensive place for customers to get information, you’ll remove a lot of previous barriers to getting people to choose you as their supplier.
Bold statement, we know, but compared to traditional methods of taking sales orders, fulfilling orders, tracking inventory, communicating back and forth with the customer and making the final sale, your processes will be so much faster. Online operations streamline lots of data and automate a lot of processes. This means your whole sales process will be faster, leaving you more time for other activities, things like developing your business or improving existing relationships. Your customers will save big time too.
Rather than sales teams having to spend lots of down time waiting for an order to come through, or filling out paperwork, they’ll be free to do other things: especially those that will generate more business. Wholesaling online is faster and more efficient, freeing up your sales team to do what they do best: close sales.
Especially with B2B sales, you’re probably dealing with the movement of high volumes of stock. When you make a sales order on your B2B eCommerce store, a good inventory management system will change your stock levels in real time. This means you don’t have to worry that you’ve just sold stock that has already been committed to another order, or will know exactly when an item goes out of stock.
Ok, everyone in your company won’t suddenly agree with everything, but at least people will be making decisions based on the same data. Your supply chain manager, your sales manager, your accountant, and anyone else who accesses your online system will have the same, up-to-date information regardless of location or accessibility. Having the same information will make a world of difference, especially when it comes to communication, which brings us to the communication advantage.
Updated information online about inventory, sales orders and customers that is easily accessible by anyone will improve communication and increase transparency between departments. From the customer side, they will also feel this transparency - accessing a company online adds an extra level of trust to the relationship.
All in all, there are so many advantages to taking your wholesale business online. If you’ve decided to do so, stick with me. In the weeks that follow, I’ll be giving you plenty of tips and tricks on how to take your wholesale business and turn it into a successful B2B eCommerce business.
First, do a little research on your best solution to getting online - and check out TradeGecko’s B2B eCommerce platform while you’re at it. It’s time to step out of the dark ages and into the light!
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