In traditional business-to-consumer environments, the demand for eCommerce is obvious, being almost impossible to be competitive without it. In wholesale & distribution and other B2B environments, its use case has historically not been as clear.
With growing end-user expectations; ease of experience, competitive pricing, and perceived value are crucial to unlocking success in today’s rapidly evolving landscape. Digital transformation is now a driving force behind many wholesale and distribution companies’ decision-making – and it should be fueling your short and long-term growth strategies, too.
Digital transformation in the wholesale and distribution space involves retiring outdated, labour-intensive, and time-consuming processes and embracing technology via an eCommerce sales channel. Even manufacturers producing and selling in large volumes or holding complex inventories can benefit from a simplified B2B supply chain.
This article will investigate the short-fallings of traditional order-taking and demonstrate how eCommerce for wholesale and distribution companies can revolutionise how you do business.
Four signs your wholesale or distribution company is ready for eCommerce
Without eCommerce, wholesale and distribution companies may find themselves weighed down by intensive manual processes and convoluted systems vulnerable to human error.
Here are four tell-tale signs your operation has outgrown the old and is ready to embrace a leading-edge eCommerce platform.
- Your ordering process is laborious for your staff and customers
If you take orders manually by phone, email, or via a sales representative, your team must enter order details in your ERP or alternative business system by hand. This takes time and often demands back and forth between staff and customers to confirm stock and pricing (including customer-specific discounts).
Even after the order details are confirmed, your staff must deliver invoices and statement requests and manage credit control to ensure invoices are paid on time.
- You can’t meet growing demand because you don’t have enough staff
Your business is booming – that’s fantastic. But what happens when you don’t have the human-power to keep up with skyrocketing sales? Your customers lose out – and they don’t come back again.
If you rely on staff numbers to grow, scaling your business on-demand is just about impossible.
- Your data is subject to manual error
Where humans are involved, errors are sure to follow. Errors in your data can cause chaos for staff and customers. That’s not all – poor quality data can cost your organisation thousands of dollars every year.
- Your customers are asking for more information
Shopping has become more convenient than ever, and your customers expect to access critical information when and where they want it. If your staff is constantly chasing up real-time stock updates, live pricing information, invoices, and order histories, you are losing valuable time.
Three immediate benefits of B2B eCommerce for wholesale and distribution companies
Your eCommerce platform is an investment that repays dividends from day one. Here are three benefits of B2B eCommerce.
- Make more sales
The first and likely most attractive benefit of B2B eCommerce is more sales, more revenue, and more business growth. B2B eCommerce drives sales in several ways:
- Your eCommerce platform operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. That means you can receive orders outside of business hours.
- Your eCommerce platform acts as a secondary sales channel, opening your company to new and broader audiences.
- Many customers find eCommerce to be more convenient, giving your company an instant advantage over your competitors.
- Encourage repeat business
According to Nasdaq, 95 per cent of all purchases worldwide will be executed via eCommerce by 2040. Why? Because eCommerce makes shopping easier for customers.
If you can successfully reduce or eliminate back and forth communications during the ordering process and give your customers real-time access to live and historical data (stock levels and fluctuating prices, for example) you will drive repeat business and boost customer retention.
- Free up valuable resources
Automation is not just a buzzword; it’s a vital aspect of digital transformation that will future-proof your company. A sophisticated eCommerce platform streamlines the order capture process, automating resource-intensive activities and minimising human error.
Your staff can spend more time on growth-driving activities, customer experience, and customer service.
Implement a fully-integrated eCommerce platform
Creating and launching a high-performance webshop for your wholesale and distribution customers is not difficult. Through a partnership with Aphix Software, HARMONiQ can deliver a streamlined, tailored B2B eCommerce solution that integrates seamlessly with your ERP system.
Stock levels, pricing, and account information are pulled directly from your ERP in real-time, meaning your customers get access to the data they need without involving your staff. They can make purchases any time of day, and your inventory management is automated off the back of it – from updated stock levels to new inventory order requests.
If you would like to discuss how you can start leveraging B2B eCommerce technology to achieve sales outcomes and business growth, please call me on 02 9542 2000 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Robert Butler is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology. If you want to discuss B2B eCommerce and improving business processes, you can reach out via email here.