You are most likely a B2B Wholesale company that is interested in expanding your business into the eCommerce market. eCommerce is growing in popularity year after year, so you’re on the right path. B2B merchants will face specific challenges when running an eCommerce store. You need to address these issues before they become major problems. Let’s first define B2B wholesalers by delineating what they aren’t.
What is B2B Wholesale?
Wholesaling is not Business to Business (B2B), or Direct to Consumer. Here are the differences:
- B2C companies often buy products from wholesalers and then sell the products at a markup for consumers on their eCommerce site.
- D2C companies sell products directly to consumers. They retain any revenue that would otherwise have been lost by including wholesalers and drop shippers.
What does a B2B wholesaler look like?
B2B wholesalers sell products that aren’t ready for sale to other retailers who prepare them to be sold. A supplier of industrial hydraulic hose components is one example. The B2B wholesaler sells hose connectors and clamps to businesses who need them, such as hydraulic hose manufacturers or heavy-equipment repair shops.
Special B2B Wholesale Challenges
B2B wholesalers operate their business through in-person purchases or phone operators for decades. Many have yet to implement industry standards and practices for optimizing their eCommerce websites, despite eCommerce being relatively new in comparison with the time these businesses have been running.
Phone Order Customers
Long-term customers love calling to order parts from wholesalers B2B. The operator will guide them through the purchasing process and ensure that they receive the items they have requested. These customers are often older and don’t feel comfortable ordering high-value parts online without having to speak with someone.
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It is not easy to keep track of hundreds upon hundreds of SKUs within a warehouse, even for B2C retailers. B2B wholesalers face unique challenges when it comes to inventory. Imagine a construction company ordering 1,000 concrete bags from a wholesaler every month. The wholesaler will need to have 1,000 bags of concrete ready for pick-up on the first day each month. They also need to make sure that no one else can purchase concrete bags once the stock reaches 1,000.
Multiply this problem across the entire inventory of a wholesaler and you can see how messy inventory management can be!
Quantity and Account Discounts
Wholesalers often offer price discounts for customers who purchase more than X quantity of a product. These discounts can be offered over the phone by simply changing the price per unit on a purchase order form. These discounts should be clearly defined and managed centrally when building an eCommerce store.
Get Discounts on Accounts
Many wholesalers B2B offer discounts to customers who meet certain criteria. This criteria is usually based on the average customer type or purchase amount. Wholesalers may find it difficult to track this information.
Shipping and Pickup
Due to the heavy weight and large size of their shipment, most B2B wholesalers do not use consumer-grade shipping services like UPS. Businesses often buy large quantities of an item wholesale. The wholesaler must ship the items in a pallet and to a specialized logistics firm.
If the buyer is near the wholesaler, they might be able to pick up the items in person. This will reduce logistics costs that are normally transferred to the buying party.
What eCommerce Tools can B2B Wholesalers Use?
Live Chat Available for Phone Orders
It is difficult to convert phone orders into customers who are long-term customers. Although live chat is an excellent solution, it will not suffice to satisfy these customers. To resolve any problems that customers might have with their phone orders, make sure you have someone available during business hours. Gorgias can help you implement live chat on your site.
Inventory Management Integrations
There are many inventory management options today, and many of them work with a wide range of eCommerce platforms. You may need an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), or Product Inventory Management (PIM), depending on your business’s operations. ERP and PIM software enable businesses to track inventory across multiple channels. B2B wholesalers can now see when new products will arrive, what is in stock across all platforms, and what has been shipped from one dashboard.
Since years, eCommerce has been using individual customer accounts. Many B2B wholesalers don’t take advantage of these accounts. Customers can reorder products from their past orders and save money and shipping information. This reduces friction which many customers feel. Users who meet certain criteria can get pre-defined discounts. Customers who receive regular discounts on a number of items, such as an industry partner or repair center, can leverage these discounts.
Many eCommerce platforms allow site administrators to specify the logic that will apply a discount to a customer’s purchase. If a customer purchases more than $1,000, the logic will automatically apply a 10% discount. A 15% discount would be applied to customers who purchase more than 10,000 of the same product. Customers are encouraged to buy more in order to reduce their per-item costs, ultimately increasing the average order value.
Intelligent customers can shop for products at a lower price by combining customer accounts discounts with quantity discounts. This will cause you to lose money every time your customers make a purchase. This can be overcome by creating a matrix of pricing discounts. You should not offer discounts that exceed your minimum profit margin.
B2B wholesale can be a completely different world than D2C and B2C. Once you have an understanding of some of the challenges in B2B wholesale, it is time to make buying easy. Our team of eCommerce experts can assist you in implementing ERP or PIM.