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Why Wholesale Businesses Need a B2B eCommerce Strategy

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In our increasingly digitalised world, B2B digital sales have increased dramatically over recent years. In fact, B2B digital sales are expected to top $1.1 trillion by 2020, outpacing B2C growth twice over. That’s a huge 41% increase in the next four years. Wholesalers and manufacturers are expected to outspend online retailers in eCommerce technology procurement by 2019.

This dramatic increase in B2B sales is important information for wholesale businesses – while not without its challenges, wholesale businesses will benefit from adopting a B2B eCommerce strategy to stay relevant and competitive in today’s digital economy.

Buyers’ Behaviour

B2B buyers are increasingly behaving more and more like consumers in their desire to view products, place orders, and make payments. This is common in B2C models, but recently there has been a trend where B2B buyers are asking for the same things as consumers. For instance, B2B buyers are increasingly looking for wholesalers that offer the option of purchasing products online, and not necessarily in person or over the phone. B2B buyers increasingly begin their product search online, and they are getting younger. These “digital natives” expect accessibility online and so many wholesalers are taking note and adopting a B2B eCommerce strategy to keep up.

Multichannel Demands

But B2B Buyers aren’t only asking for access to wholesalers’ products on their website, they are also increasingly demanding access through additional channels. This means that forums like social media, online marketplaces and more are beginning to be used to access wholesalers’ products as well.

According to a recent study, 60% of B2B companies report that customers who shift from offline only to multiple channels purchase more. Top B2B mobile eCommerce solutions will streamline and differentiate multichannel B2B sales processes for brands and wholesalers. These B2B customers are more likely to stay loyal, buy more product, and buy more frequently than single-channel offline buyers.

While not without its challenges, using multiple channels to advertise and sell your wholesale products to other businesses is a great way to increase customer traffic and increase sales. Wholesale businesses need to be cognisant of these trends in B2B buying and capitalise on it effectively.

Additional Benefits for Wholesalers

Especially for wholesalers in the business of providing seasonal products, a B2B eCommerce strategy will allow wholesale businesses to access markets otherwise inaccessible. For example, while your products may be out of demand in a particular season where your company is based, a B2B eCommerce strategy can give you access to international markets where demand for your products is contrastingly high during a different season.

Additionally, a B2B eCommerce strategy will remove geographical boundaries with multi-lingual, multi-currency, native tax and privacy in-app support. All of these features encourage spending as they make the process of B2B buying easier and faster.

eCommerce is also increasingly mobile. With 80% of adult online users also smartphone owners and 47% tablet owners, it’s no surprise that B2B eCommerce is making the move towards mobile devices. A good B2B eCommerce strategy will enable your wholesale business to take advantage of the use of mobiles and tablets, so that B2B buyers have quick, easy access to your products at all times and places.

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Melanie - Unleashed Software

Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.

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