As more and more wholesalers recognize the potential of e-commerce to boost revenue, they are moving their sales online. Faster transactions, a larger selection of products at lower prices, plus comprehensive after-sales service are some of the main reasons that buyers now prefer the online channel over personal ordering methods.
However, B2B e-commerce in the wholesale industry is also becoming increasingly complex and multi-layered. In particular, it is important that wholesalers tailor their quote management and order entry systems to the preferences of business customers and procurement experts—across all available channels.
B2B E-Commerce: Benefits for wholesalers
This, essentially, is the whole purpose of B2B e-commerce:
- To give buyers convenient access to an online catalog,
- to provide comprehensive information on the required products and services,
- to create a personalized quote for the required quantity, and
- to enable the buyer to place their order without the need for a sales guy to come by.
The entire process is controlled by the buyer—at the time and location of their choosing. For the seller, the solution greatly reduces the burden on sales staff, who can use the reclaimed time for more productive tasks, e.g., one-on-one advice or handling complex, high-value inquiries.
E-Commerce for Wholesalers: Automated order approvals save time and reduce errors
Having an e-commerce solution in place also results in time savings for companies and their buyers through customized control of approval workflows. While most companies have multiple buyers with the authorization to place orders, certain products or order values require an extra layer of approval from a manager.
Using a digital commerce platform, it is possible to assign a unique order value limit or personal budget to each individual buyer. If an order value is higher than the assigned limit, an approval request is automatically sent to the responsible manager or the head of the respective cost center.
This ensures full transparency for both buyer and seller and reduces the number of additional manual processes. The benefits are not only a faster and smoother purchase process, but also fewer processing errors—which in turn adds to customer satisfaction.
These are the e-commerce features wholesalers can't do without
An integrated B2B commerce management provides a range of important features and information that streamline business processes and make order entry more efficient and more productive. These features include
- special customer price lists
- custom product offerings
- master agreements
- block pricing
- tailored services
- integrated quote processes
- full customer histories
- special logistics options
- an overview of available items at all locations or warehouses
Using these features, it is possible to not only model and replicate sales and order management processes as part of a purely digital platform but also to coordinate and synchronize all customer interaction across all available channels.
The latter aspect is particularly beneficial to sales staff, who have immediate access to a comprehensive range of customer details when advising a customer, including special terms and conditions and the full order history.
Can E-Commerce attract new customers for wholesalers?
B2B commerce solutions provide wholesalers with an additional digital sales channel which can be marketed easily via social media, display ads or SEA, for example. This way, the website is a valuable opportunity to reach new customers. Also, B2B e-commerce can open up new customer segments close to your most loyal ones: Since the average cost per order is reduced, lesser order values become profitable, and therewith smaller customers or other product assortments.
Deeply integrated with other systems, and equipped with an extensive database and customizable functionality, B2B e-commerce solutions for wholesale not only support personalized quotes, they also accelerate transactions. Ultimately, this streamlining of everyday business processes is an important driver of digital transformation.