The B2B eCommerce world has been experiencing massive growth in the past few years. In fact, the industry is growing so rapidly that some believe that it will outpace and beat the development of B2C eCommerce over the following months and years. With the advent of digital marketing and eCommerce, more organizations are looking for B2B eCommerce solutions since it increases the ease and transparency of transacting with big enterprises.
Business-to-business organizations have their own category. This is because they serve a market of ‘for-profit’ (and non-profit) organizations, rather than individual customers.
What is a Wholesale Ecommerce Platform?
B2B ecommerce, or business-to-business electronic commerce, defines online order transactions between wholesale businesses. Because orders are processed digitally, purchasing efficiency is enhanced for not only wholesalers but also manufacturers, distributors and other categories of B2B sellers.
Why is a Wholesale Ecommerce Platform important?
Wholesalers are usually physically situated in markets that are not easy to locate and reach. For example, if you run a small business and the suppliers you need are located in another country, how are you going to access those wholesalers? The answer, of course, is online B2B wholesale platforms. These platforms can help you reach thousands of distributors across the globe. They will assist you in finding the suppliers you need, negotiate prices you can work with, and get the items delivered to you that you require for your business – all this with a few clicks of the mouse. Hence it is important to develop the best ecommerce platform for your wholesale business.
5 Benefits of an ecommerce platform for a B2B Wholesale business –
- You can contact your potential Customers at Anytime, from Anywhere
- Offers Fast-track Order Fulfillment along with Cloud-Based eCommerce Systems
- Enhances Analytics and gives you Better Insights into your business
- Offers Customer-Centric Support
- Helps you Retain your existing Customers
8 Features to develop the best ecommerce platform for wholesale
1. Password protected and restricted access:
Unlike B2C ecommerce websites, which are able to prominently market about low prices and finding the best deals, B2B ecommerce sites tend to be a bit more on the reserved side. In many situations, you’ll want to restrict access to your website, allowing only pre-registered clients to access your products and services.
This is especially essential if your business caters to a network of dealers or resellers. It is also important if you’re particularly competitive about your pricing and want to keep your cards close to you.
It is advisable to look for built-in functionality in your eCommerce platform to set up an entire password-protected website, requiring your customers to register before they can access it. On a more microscopic level, wholesalers can control their main site’s visibility with features that assist you to hide products and prices or block purchases for visitors who are unregistered.
2. Order tracking and fulfillment:
Selling online offers B2B wholesalers an opportunity to speed up their order fulfillment processes. How? It offers a modern cloud-based eCommerce platform for order fulfillment and inventory tracking processes. Today, cloud-based eCommerce platforms have an in-built order management system. Modern Order Management Systems (OMS) treat the entire supply chain as an interrelated ecosystem that allows suppliers to automate their internal processes from order till satisfaction.
OMS can easily be integrated with other digital catalog softwares that reduce errors in order fulfilment and improves inventory tracking. This, ultimately, improves customer satisfaction by offering timely service and order delivery. B2B wholesalers can now promise a timely, updated, and transparent delivery to the B2B customers.
For example Order circle, one of the best ecommerce platform for wholesale, assists B2B eCommerce organisations and wholesalers to manage inventory, orders, customers, and an extensive supply chain ecosystem, all from a single integrated platform.
3. Customer centric catalog and pricing:
B2B organizations have the ability to sell at different prices based on the customer type or the consumer group. And while you only segment the consumers to personalize the shopping experience, you’ll very often find the need to offer “special” product pricing to your more demanding customers. This shouldn’t be mistaken as competitive pricing which is a completely different strategy.
The ability to set multiple base prices for any product and at the same time assign the same to specific consumer groups forms the core of a B2B eCommerce website. It will make the difference between your customers completing their orders online or continuing to reach out via phone or email to get their orders delivered.
With the ability to offer customer-centric pricing, is the need to have a customer-centric product catalog. For B2B clients requiring a completely unique setup of products, or a pricing structure, you’ll want your eCommerce platform to assist creating products that are only accessible to specific customers. This also permits your business to explore listing a customized product catalog for larger customers, for example, corporate uniforms or apparel may require listing products with the logo of your customer instead of the generic version of the product.
4. Detailed product information and images:
For most B2B wholesale businesses, it’s mostly never enough to simply list a product name and image on a product page and expect the orders to come in. Compiling a compelling array of product data, whether that’s dimensions, MPNs or spec sheets can all help to convert and retain customers better.
Purchasing an item without being able to physically touch or see a product is always a disadvantage of placing an order online. For B2B wholesale websites which might deal with delicate components, providing a high level of detail in your product imagery is very essential rather than relying on CG or stock imagery.
5. Bulk discounts and volume purchase:
Unlike B2C customers, B2B customers tend to place orders for large, bulk purchases rather than individual items. B2B shoppers usually purchase products in quantity, and while your products can be listed as cases, packs or pallets, you might want to consider offering additional discounts that are tiers based on the total quantity of the order.
You will not only expect the quantity discounts to work along the customer centric price levels, but also to be able to specify different tiers for the discounts, based on the consumer groups assigned to your client base. Ensure that your pricing structure and sales channel permit you to apply discounts based on the quantity ordered to make it worth your while.
6. MOQ – Minimum Order Quantity:
A Minimum Order Quantity or an MOQ is a feature that highlights the lowest quantity of a certain product that the store is offering to sell. If the customer cannot touch the MOQ requirement, then they won’t be permitted to place the order.
This is a common feature on wholesale websites, where typically it’s required to reach a minimum quantity per product to be able to place an order. A well equipped eCommerce platform should allow B2B merchants to set minimum order quantities for all products.
Your business might also demand similar features like,
- Minimum Order Amount to complete an order or free shipping.
- Maximum Order Quantity per order.
- Specific quantity multiples for products sold in packs, bundles, cases etc.
7. Ability to reorder:
Placing large orders with multiple SKUs can become taxing if not managed correctly. Providing a bulk order form is a smart choice so that customers can add products by part number. It also gives them the ability to quickly change the order quantity for each line and streamline this process and expedite the entire checkout experience.
For extra brownie points, permit your customers to reorder previous transactions from within their account area and make repeated purchases smooth.
8. Customer Support and Request a Quote:
If you wonder how stressful a simple task of buying new trainers online can be, imagine the pressure that comes along with purchasing hundreds of spare parts for machinery in a factory. Having an FAQ or contact page to help deal with doubts is a must, but implementing a live-chat facility means you can identify inquisitive customers quickly and engage with them to capture sales with ease.
Following on from live-chat, it’s also a smart choice to implement a ‘request a quote’ facility if you have complex ordering processes or deal with large quantities. A quick form or enquiry button located on your quick order functionality can assist you in making enquiry a breeze and make lead generation for your sales team extremely simple.
Launching a B2B eCommerce website will require your company to undergo a lot of changes. You’ll need to think distinctively about consumer relationships. You’ll have to invest your time and money, and you’ll have to choose the right B2B eCommerce platform that suits your business. We hope this article provides a basic understanding of the essential B2B eCommerce features that you’ll want for your site.