Today, e-commerce is no longer the sole domain of business-to-consumer (B2C) companies. Due to online shopping’s convenience and wide adoption in the general public, all kinds of purchasing transactions now take place online, including the business-to-business (B2B) interactions that make up the distribution and wholesale industries. Multiple reports indicate B2B e-commerce sales will exceed $1 trillion in the next few years. As a result, distributors that hope to keep up must increasingly adopt e-commerce mindsets.
If you’re beginning to understand the value of e-commerce for wholesale distributors, you aren’t alone. Many companies have launched their own B2B e-commerce websites. It’s important to remember, however, that success as an online distributor requires more than throwing up a website and hoping for the best. Successful e-commerce sites use digital strategies to capture and retain customers and ensure continual growth. Here are three tips you can use to shift to an e-commerce mindset as a distributor successfully:
1. Prioritize User Experience
When a business prospect visits your website, they want to find what they’re looking for quickly and easily. The e-commerce site you present to customers should reflect the same level of professionalism you convey when talking over the phone or email. Ensure your website is well-designed and easy to navigate.
You should also tailor the product viewing experience to the user’s needs. Many businesses prefer or even expect to see product information tailored to their industry or specific needs when visiting a distributor’s website. Digital upselling and customer service access can improve the user experience and allow you to seize opportunities for growth offered by e-commerce.
2. Make Product Information Instantly Available
Web users are used to having the information they desire in an instant. Your customers no longer want to wait for their online distributor to get back to them with detailed product specifications or pricing information. When you start delving into B2B e-commerce, it pays to make as much product information as possible accessible instantly. Back up your product listings with useful copy, state your company ordering and return policies clearly and remove barriers to placing an order.
3. Collect and Use Data Effectively
When you conduct business online, you gain access to large volumes of data. When you adopt an e-commerce mindset, you not only collect this data but also use it effectively to drive sales and foster customer loyalty, whether that means using targeted advertising, recommending specific products based on viewing activity or rewarding customers for repeated purchases.
You need powerful Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software that helps your e-commerce operations, rather than hinder them, to utilize data effectively. The right ERP system can help you fill orders efficiently, reach new customers and understand what your business data means for your bottom line when integrated with your e-commerce platform.
Get Started With B2B E-Commerce Today
Wholesale distributors looking to grow in today’s B2B landscape need to embrace the e-commerce mindset. They also need tools to help them thrive. If you’re looking for ERP software for your business, contact Clients First Business Solutions today. Our knowledgeable consultants can help you find the tools you need to solve unique business challenges and streamline operations.