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The Guide to Wholesale eCommerce
By Nick Spooner
CEO at Salesorder.com | Software and expertise for wholesaler optimization
Global eCommerce is booming, with the market total expected to hit $6.4 trillion in 2023. For wholesale businesses, entering the eCommerce space is a viable way to expand client reach, increase revenue, and gain a competitive edge.
Wholesale eCommerce refers to the sale of goods in bulk to retailers or other businesses through an online platform. By adopting eCommerce for wholesale distribution, wholesalers can tap into a global client base, enhance operational efficiency, and deliver an improved shopping experience for their retail clients.
If you are interested in starting a wholesale eCommerce business, this comprehensive guide is for you. We cover everything you need to know, including:
- Understanding Wholesale eCommerce
- Managing Inventory and Order Fulfillment for Wholesale ECommerce
- Building Your Wholesale ECommerce Website
- Marketing and Promoting Your Wholesale ECommerce Business
- Common Challenges in Wholesale ECommerce
- Future Trends in Wholesale ECommerce
Understanding Wholesale eCommerce
We outline the basics of eCommerce for wholesale distribution:
What is Wholesale eCommerce?
Wholesale B2B eCommerce differs from B2C eCommerce, which refers to the direct sale of products to individual consumers. While both utilize online platforms for transactions, their target audiences, sales volumes, and pricing structures differ significantly.
Advantages of Wholesale eCommerce
The numerous benefits of B2B eCommerce make it highly advantageous for wholesalers to start selling their products online.
We highlight a few of the advantages of eCommerce for wholesalers:
- Expanded Market Reach: Embracing eCommerce allows wholesalers to broaden their client base and reach global markets. By offering products to retailers worldwide, wholesalers can access new business opportunities, increase revenue, and create global connections.
- Improved Efficiency: Wholesale eCommerce platforms assist with automating many wholesale processes, such as order processing. By streamlining operations, wholesale eCommerce can improve the overall efficiency of the wholesale business.
- Enhanced Client Experience: With a wholesale eCommerce platform, wholesalers can provide a convenient and seamless shopping experience for their retail clients. This enhanced experience can encourage repeat business and build retailer loyalty.
- Increased Sales: Wholesale eCommerce platforms enable wholesalers to showcase their entire range of products. Retailers around the world can then easily access the available products, which can lead to higher sales volumes and overall revenue growth.
- Better Data Collection and Analysis: Wholesale eCommerce platforms offer valuable insights into retailer behavior, preferences, and purchasing patterns. Wholesalers can then utilize this data to make informed decisions about marketing tactics, product offerings, and inventory management.
Managing Inventory and Order Fulfillment for Wholesale eCommerce
Effective wholesale inventory management and order fulfillment are critical components of a successful wholesale eCommerce business. By efficiently managing stock levels and ensuring timely and accurate order processing, wholesalers can maintain a strong reputation and foster lasting relationships with their clients.
We explore the strategies and tools that can help wholesalers optimize their inventory management and order fulfillment processes:
Inventory Management Systems
By integrating an effective inventory management system into their business processes, wholesalers can make informed decisions regarding stock replenishment, warehousing, and order fulfillment. This leads to improved efficiency and client satisfaction.
Order Fulfillment Strategies
There are three strategies to consider when managing order fulfillment:
- In-house Fulfillment: This approach involves managing all aspects of order fulfillment internally, from inventory management to picking, packing, and shipping. While this gives wholesalers full control over their operations, it requires significant investment in warehouse space, staff, and infrastructure.
- Third-Party Logistics (3PL): With this strategy, wholesalers outsource their order fulfillment to a third-party logistics provider. The provider will handle all aspects of warehousing, picking, packing, and shipping on behalf of the wholesaler. Partnering with a 3PL can reduce operational costs and allow wholesalers to focus on other aspects of their business.
- Dropshipping: The dropshipping model involves partnering with a manufacturer or supplier who ships products directly to retailers on the wholesaler’s behalf. The dropshipping model reduces the need for warehouse space and other resources.
Shipping and Delivery Options
Choosing the right shipping carrier is essential for ensuring the timely delivery of orders. To ensure smooth and efficient shipping and delivery, wholesalers need to consider the available shipping options and compare shipping rates, delivery speed, and quality of the packaging. This will ensure you find the best option for your wholesale business and client needs.
Wholesalers should also consider providing a variety of shipping options. Offering flexible shipping options that suit diverse preferences can ensure that retailers receive their orders promptly. This can assist in improving client satisfaction and encourage repeat business.
Building Your Wholesale eCommerce Website
A wholesale eCommerce website is a dedicated online platform where wholesalers sell their products or services to retail clients. With a wholesale eCommerce website, you can streamline order processing and management, reach a global audience, and enhance client experiences.
To start building your wholesale website, you will first need to choose an eCommerce platform that is tailored to wholesale businesses, such as Salesorder Trade Acceleration Portal (TAP) or Shopify. These platforms offer features specifically designed for wholesalers, such as inventory management and customizable design templates.
Once you have selected a platform, you can begin customizing the design and functionality to provide a seamless and engaging experience for your clients. Create a user-friendly website by categorizing your products systematically to make it easy for clients to find and browse your available products. Help your clients make informed purchasing decisions by including enough information about your available products.
You will next need to integrate a payment platform into your eCommerce website to ensure smooth online transactions. When selecting a payment gateway provider, choose one that supports multiple payment methods and currencies to cater to diverse preferences. You will also need to ensure that the payment process is user-friendly, secure, and compliant with relevant regulations.
Shipping options should be displayed on your website to inform clients about available delivery methods and costs. Offer a variety of shipping options, such as standard, expedited, and international shipping, to meet the diverse needs of your clients. Providing transparent shipping information can help build trust and encourage repeat business.
Securing your website is crucial in protecting both your business and your client’s sensitive information. Implement security measures, such as SSL certificates and regular software updates, to safeguard your website against cyber threats. A secure website can foster trust and confidence among your clients.
Before you launch your wholesale eCommerce website, it is important to conduct thorough testing for technical issues, broken links, or design flaws. Testing before you launch will ensure that your website is fully functional and will provide an enhanced user experience.
Choosing a Platform
Choosing a B2B eCommerce platform is a crucial part of building a wholesale eCommerce platform. The right platform can greatly impact the functionality, scalability, and overall success of your online business.
We have included a few tips to help you choose the best eCommerce platform for your wholesale business:
- Research Available Features: Look for a platform that offers features tailored to the needs of wholesale businesses, such as bulk pricing, minimum order quantities, and client-specific pricing. These features can help streamline your operations and enhance the overall experience for your retail clients.
- Consider Scalability: Future-proof your B2B eCommerce business by choosing a platform that can grow with your business. Ensure that the platform can handle an increasing number of products, clients, and transactions without compromising performance or requiring costly upgrades.
- Examine Integration Capabilities: The integration features are an important aspect of wholesale eCommerce platforms. Ensure that the platform you choose can integrate seamlessly with your existing systems, such as your accounting software or marketing tools. This will help you maintain a cohesive and efficient workflow across your entire wholesale business.
- Prioritize Ease of Use: A user-friendly platform is essential for both you and your clients. Make sure to choose a platform with an intuitive interface that allows for easy navigation, product browsing, and order placement.
- Assess Customization Options: Customization features are an important element of a wholesale eCommerce platform. Choose a platform that allows you to customize the design and functionality of your website. This will ensure that your website reflects your brand and meets your client and business needs.
- Review Support and Resources: Select a platform that offers reliable customer support and resources, such as tutorials, documentation, and community forums. This level of support is essential as it can help you troubleshoot issues and stay up to date with platform updates.
Marketing and Promoting Your Wholesale eCommerce Business
Here are some key marketing tactics to consider when promoting your wholesale eCommerce business:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Some key aspects of SEO for wholesale eCommerce include:
- Keyword Research: Perform keyword research to identify relevant search terms retailers use when looking for products like yours. By researching relevant keywords, you can then target those terms in your website’s content and metadata to increase your visibility and reach.
- On-page Optimization: Optimize your website’s content, meta tags, and header tags with target keywords from your keyword research to improve its relevance and visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). You will also need to ensure that your site structure is optimized, mobile-responsive, and has a fast-loading speed. This will provide a positive user experience and can also improve your visibility.
- Link Building: Acquire high-quality backlinks from authoritative websites to boost your website’s credibility and search engine rankings. To do this, you can engage in guest blogging, collaborate with industry influencers, and create shareable content to generate valuable inbound links.
Pay-per-click Advertising (PPC)
Social Media Marketing
Common Challenges in Wholesale eCommerce
Here are some of the most common challenges that eCommerce wholesalers encounter and how to solve them:
Managing Cash Flow
Wholesale eCommerce businesses often face challenges in managing their cash flow. This often results from the need to maintain inventory levels, which can tie up working capital and lead to cash flow problems.
One effective way to prevent this challenge is to utilize inventory forecasting. By forecasting demand, wholesalers can ensure that they have the inventory levels to meet customer demand without overstocking. This helps to minimize working capital being tied up in inventory and improve cash flow management.
Wholesalers can also prevent cash flow problems by utilizing accounting software for wholesale businesses. This will allow for the maintenance of accurate and up-to-date financial records that can prevent cash flow issues. Wholesalers can also use forecasting tools to project future cash flows and identify potential cash flow issues before they become problematic.
Dealing with Shipping and Logistics
To overcome these challenges, wholesalers can partner with experienced 3PL providers who have expertise in managing international shipping and customs clearance. Working with a 3PL can help wholesalers streamline their shipping processes and ensure timely delivery to clients, improving the overall client experience and driving business growth.
Maintaining Consistent Product Quality
To prevent issues with product quality, wholesalers must implement strict quality control measures. This can involve conducting regular quality control checks on all products received to ensure that suppliers adhere to established quality standards.
Managing Customer Relationships
Future Trends in Wholesale eCommerce
One growing trend is the use of advanced technologies like AI and machine learning. By utilizing these technologies, wholesalers can optimize pricing strategies, inventory management, and marketing efforts. This will require wholesalers to invest in the necessary technologies and adapt their operations to take full advantage of these tools.
Another trend is the growing importance of omnichannel experiences. B2B customers are expecting a unified experience across all touchpoints, from the website to the social media platform to the sales representative. Wholesalers must integrate their online and offline sales channels to provide a seamless customer experience.
With the continued rise of online shopping on mobile devices, eCommerce wholesalers need to ensure that they are mobile-friendly. This includes making sure websites are mobile-responsive and offering features such as mobile-friendly payment options.
Taking Your Wholesale eCommerce Business to the Next Level with Salesorder
Salesorder B2B eCommerce platform is designed to be the total solution for eCommerce wholesalers.
We offer Trade Acceleration Portal (TAP) to wholesalers to equip them to take their B2B business online. As a customizable, multi-storefront platform, wholesalers can create a tailored website to provide an enhanced client experience and build lasting relationships with retailers around the world. This comprehensive platform includes every feature, such as order management and mobile responsiveness, you need to operate a successful B2B eCommerce business.
TAP is included in the Salesorder ERP software, a cloud-based and unified software for wholesaler optimization. Our ERP software is affordable and easy to implement, allowing your wholesale business to immediately start benefiting from increased efficiency and productivity.
Chat with an expert to find out how Salesorder can take your wholesale eCommerce business to the next level.