Maximizing B2B sales through Wholesale E-commerce Platform

Shiv Agarwal
May 8, 2024
Maximizing B2B sales through Wholesale E-commerce Platform

E-commerce has largely pivoted from a offline only to a multi-channel experience. B2B wholesale selling is no exception. In fact today, selling in bulk has become one of the most popular e-commerce model with B2C sellers also expanding their services to monetize by selling to retailers.

With minimal interaction, facilitated by a self-serve model, wholesale sellers have begun setting their online stores through a e-commerce platform.  In 2023, nearly 14% of all the B2B sales occurred online, up from 12.2% in 2020. A Forrester report also notes that the U.S B2B e-commerce will reach $1.8 trillion in sales and projects a steady growth rate over the next five years.

Today macroeconomic conditions like high interest rates, increasing labor costs and inflation directly impact the discretionary budgets of retailers.  Wholesalers must be cognizant about these changing times while they look at selling. Investing in a platform that not only helps them simplify sales, but adapt to these market condition becomes instrumental.

What is a wholesale e-commerce platform?

A wholesale e-commerce platform is an online storefront that facilitates B2B sales. To simplify, it's an online store where wholesalers can set up their product catalog for retailers and distributors to see and buy.

Here's how the e-commerce platform works for B2B selling:

  • Wholesalers use the platform to showcase their product catalog. They then set conditions that potential prospects must meet to buy from them. This includes setting minimum order quantities, and tiered pricing based on volume (the more you buy, the cheaper it gets).
  • Retailers and distributors who land on the store can then access the product catalog. They find products they need, and place a request for quote from the wholesaler. Sometimes they can directly proceed to placing an order at wholesale prices.

Why Choose a Wholesale E-commerce Platform for B2B Selling

Wholesale selling differs from the traditional B2C method of selling. Retailers, who are the customers here, buy from wholesale sellers. The buying process may involve one or many product, each of which is purchased in bulk. Like D2C shoppers, retailers also factor in a few things before they hit the checkout page:

  • Great discounts
  • High product quality
  • Flexible payment options
  • Shipping options
  • Fulfillment timeline

But beyond this, key drivers that lead to successful conversion differentiate remarkably. And that’s where an e-commerce platform for wholesale selling comes into the picture.

But beyond this, key drivers that lead to successful conversion differentiate remarkably. And that’s where an e-commerce platform for wholesale selling comes into the picture.

A study by Gartner reveals that by 2025, 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels. Unlike traditional B2B sales, wholesale selling has evolved significantly over the last few years. Retailers these days have access to global sellers and they no longer wait to interact, get a sample and then choose to place an order. Here are ways how B2B platforms modernize wholesale selling:

Round the clock availability: Retailers from different regions, local and international can visit your store and browse your product catalog. By deploying chat bots and lead capture forms, wholesalers can get a prospect's contact information through inquiries. Retailers now have channels to communicate and clarify their doubts and reservations. Wholesalers also circumvent time-zone and geographical distance and cater to a global pool of customers.

Wholesale pricing and payment flexibility: For a D2C order, an overall discount based on the order value can entice customers to move carts to checkout. With wholesale buying, discounts apply based on the order quantity. Wholesalers need a platform that enables them to create tired based pricing that helps them offer customized pricing. Retailers, who have to pay significantly higher for each shipment, will also look for flexibility in payment terms. While B2C-focused platforms facilitate B2B selling, they may not offer wholesale-featured functionality.

[Image: Product Screenshot]

Support multi-channel selling: Like B2C shoppers, retailers engage on multiple platforms for better decision making. Wholesalers can widen their reach and engage with more retailers online through multi-channel wholesale selling. But with many e-commerce platforms come multiple interfaces and orders. The wholesale e-commerce platform you choose should be able to unify your product catalogue across all the platforms to give you a consolidated view of every wholesale activity.

Real time insights to power strategic decisions: With sales across multiple channels, wholesale sellers require valuable data on customer behavior, buying patterns, and inventory trends to fine-tune strategy and optimize sales. With access to sales volume, channel-specific insights and buyer profile, wholesalers can invest in targeted promotions, set competitive pricing and prioritize the right sales channels.

[Image: Product Screenshot]

Factors to consider while choosing an e-commerce platform for wholesale selling

As a wholesaler, choosing an online e-commerce platform helps you digitize selling and streamline sales. But in a world where there are multiple platforms, having the right features in place gives your business a competitive edge.

Affordable and intuitive:

The e-commerce platform for wholesale selling should be easy to set up and affordable to sustain long term selling. Platforms that are commission based eat heavily into a wholesaler's profit margins. Transparent pricing and personalized selling in an e-commerce platform helps wholesalers sell more without having to worry about prospects landing with competition.

Flexible integrations and payment options:

The platform should cater to match how you accept payments from customers. With global retailers, payment gateway and payment options influence sales. Choose a platform with evolved B2B payment options like ACH payments, bank or wire transfers, card payments and options for secured financing from leading banking institutions.

[Image: Product Screenshot]

B2B-friendly catalog management:

Simplified approach in helping wholesale sellers upload, manage, and categorize product information with clear descriptions, high-quality media, and skimmable specifications/directions for use. The platform should also have wholesale-specific features like setting minimum order quantities, creating tired-based pricing structure and processing bulk order.

[Image: Product Screenshot]

Getting Started with your wholesale e-commerce platform

Once you've narrowed down on the e-commerce platform for your wholesale businesses, you need to begin configuring it for a better sales experience for retailers.

  • Setting up your store and opting for a customized domain name that can improve brand recall
  • Map your SKUs based on color, variant and other distinguishable factors for simplified product categorization
  • Create compelling product descriptions and images to improve the buying experience
  • Set minimum sales threshold criteria, tired pricing and eligible payment terms for retailers
  • Activate payment integration to offer multiple payment gateways and options to accept orders from international retailers
  • Finally, when all is set, set your store's visibility to live for retailers to visit your site and buy from you

The B2B e-commerce landscape is experiencing exponential growth and for wholesalers, having the right e-commerce platform to support wholesale selling is instrumental in boosting sales and maximizing efficiency. As a wholesale seller, it is important not to choose a platform that's an extension of B2C selling. Choosing the right platform boils down to the features that facilitate wholesale selling, has a transparent pricing structure and offers personalization for a transformative buying and selling experience.

Remember, an ideal platform should be user-friendly, secure, and help you establish a secured relationship with retailers. With Foundation, wholesalers can streamline their orders with a powerful catalogue, intuitive retailer-facing interface, automated dynamic pricing to facilitate a personalized buying experience.

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Shiv Agarwal
May 8, 2024

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