5 Ways Wholesalers Can Benefit from an Ecommerce Business

Let’s get straight to the point… the reality is that being online is a must for businesses of all sizes and all kinds. As a retailer, for example, it’s critical for merchants to gain online visibility to help drive ecommerce sales, consumer attention and brand awareness. Yet retailers alone do not benefit from these advantages. Wholesalers, as well, have tremendous potential when positioning themselves online and in particular, when doing so with ecommerce goals.

In fact, Forrester research reports:

“In 2018, digital business transformation will be played out at scale — in organization structure, in operating models, and in talk of platforms. It is no longer possible to ignore the shackles of legacy; firms must digitize the heart of their business, driving agility and flexibility to the core, and 2018 is the year when that process starts wholesale.”

In other words, for wholesalers to remain competitive, they need to be prepared to offer their clients the same level of customer service that we’ve come to expect from retailers. To do this, you need to create an ecommerce presence to complement the other channels you use to promote your business, such as participating in tradeshows and using social media.

To help, explore five ways below on how adding ecommerce can help accelerate your wholesale business.

#1: Consistent Buyer Interaction

The reality is that many wholesalers drop the ball on buyer relations between tradeshows – hence, missing out on opportunities to connect with their retailers. While many incorporate email marketing into their sales strategies to help stay in touch, this is not a consistent or effective enough way to enhance buyer interaction. Ecommerce, however, allows wholesalers to offer a 24|7 online catalog that can keep buyers engaged and interested in products between shows while helping to build hype for new products, as well. An added perk? This can also help increase orders – something any wholesaler can appreciate.

#2: Create Room for Mobile Browsing

Retailers are beginning to expect wholesalers to provide them with the convenience and consistency of an ecommerce operation. Interestingly, 3 in 5 consumers purchase on their smartphones and these same habits are often enjoyed by retailers in their own inventory purchasing, as well. Buyers are often constantly on the move, which means they need remote access to wholesale product catalogs between shows to facilitate browsing and re-orders. By giving buyers mobile access to your online catalog, you can easily accommodate the preferences of retailers while giving your wholesale business a competitive edge.

#3: Direct-to-Consumer Potential

Many wholesalers are deciding to skip the middleman and go direct-to-consumer with online sales. In doing this, wholesalers create an online component that gives them the option to easily add a direct-to-consumer option to their wholesale operations. And yet, even if you do not want to sell to consumers directly, you help strengthen your brand visibility. Thus, creating an ecommerce element will give a wider pool of potential buyers the opportunity to see your products. To further support this notion, The Balance reports that “it's obvious that customers no longer buy just what's available; they are willing to seek out very specific items to meet their needs and interests.” Keeping this in mind, make sure your products are among those that are seen.

#4: Eliminate Unnecessary Costs

Want to save some overhead in you company expenses? Consider how a physical showroom or warehouse can be reduced in size or eliminated completely by incorporating a strong ecommerce business. With the right website design, you can provide interactive experiences for buyers to explore your inventory and identify what makes sense for their stores. Also, consider how creating marketing videos for your products and enabling reviews to help future online clients feel comfortable writing an order for your ecommerce merchandise can add value to your online business.

#5: Increase Promotional Opportunities

Do you share images of your products with buyers on social media? If not, is the reason because you don’t have the right product images to share, or that you don’t have the images uploaded to your computer? This problem is easily remedied with an ecommerce wholesale operation. With ecommerce, you can simply download and stream any image you want to social media from your online catalog, making it easier to manage social media and to create email blasts. This provides ease and efficiency in your business operations – thus, reinforcing why creating an ecommerce business simplifies product promotion. The best part? It also frees up your time to focus on more important things… such as building relationships with buyers and tending to your customer care.

Final Thoughts

It is a digital world and buyers are coming to expect the same considerations from wholesalers that they would give to their retail customers. By creating an ecommerce presence, you can attract buyers and give your business a leg up on the competition between tradeshows — leveraging the opportunity to maximize profitability and keep your wholesale business thriving all year long.

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About the Author

Nicole Leinbach Reyhle is the Founder and Publisher of Retail Minded, a publication committed to supporting independent retailers through news, education and support, as well as the Co-Founder of the Independent Retailer Conference. Recognized for her expertise in independent retail, Reyhle has published thousands of articles about small business and is the Author of the book “Retail 101: The Guide to Managing and Marketing Your Retail Business” from McGraw-Hill. Additionally, Reyhle has contributed to Forbes, Fiverr, IBM and more, and has been the Spokesperson for Small Business Saturday from American Express since 2014. Learn more about Retail Minded at www.retailminded.com, at @RetailMinded on Twitter or at Facebook.com/RetailMinded.