The science behind commerce has evolved to become more customer-centric over time. As a result, the tools of the trade have also undergone heavy transformation. From its humble beginnings in barter to the more complex processes of the stock market, the exchange of goods and services continue to be redefined. Business owners too, have tweaked how they run their companies based on what’s currently most profitable, and eCommerce is proving to be this era’s preferred way of doing business.
It makes sense to invest in technology that helps you keep ahead of the curve. In the wholesale trade industry, where most customers are also businesses participating in B2B, a more detailed and accurate tracking process is required for dealing with bulk orders. Small errors build up and often result in losses—primarily on your end.
If you’re thinking of venturing into wholesale eCommerce, you wouldn’t want to dive in head-first. It’s important to carefully weigh your options before making that decision. One of the hurdles you need to overcome is choosing the right platform to introduce your products. One way to do this is to sell where customers can go through your offers and make a sale on the spot.
An eCommerce website focused on wholesale allows you to manage the supply of your products and services—tracking orders, collecting payments, and shipping—all on a single online platform. But the question still stands: what things should you look out for when making this decision? We’ve compiled 10 things to consider when looking for your wholesale eCommerce site.
Wholesale pricing functionality
The beauty in wholesale is the amount of savings you can offer to your customers when they buy in bulk. This can result in an immediate boost to your sales and overall happier customers—who doesn’t love a 50% discount?
However on the back end of things, it’s not as simple. Applying discounts and managing prices can be meticulous and time-consuming—well, at least it used to be. These days, wholesale-focused eCommerce sites typically offer easy discounting and support to manage the pricing of your products.
Do you sell to different segments of customers, like food service and grocery? Or do you offer exclusive offerings to your biggest customers? If so, you may know, first-hand, of the need to create customer-specific catalogs or categories for your wholesale customers.
When looking for an eCommerce website for your wholesale business, it’s best to choose one that includes the functionality to create these customer-specific catalogs. This lets you be more flexible and organized when it comes to your catalog management.
Branding and customization abilities
Your brand is unique and should be easily identifiable against your competitors. A feature that allows you to customize the look of your online shop is a huge plus.
Having the capacity to customize translates to a more unique look and feel. Moreover, checking if the platform is flexible in terms of editing email templates adds a more personal touch.
Accounts receivables functionality and payment convenience
There is nothing more frustrating than wanting to make a purchase at a store that only accepts cash, when all you have on hand is your credit card.
To a customer, paying the way they want is a huge factor in proceeding to checkout. As a seller, take into account that customer experience is often directly proportional to sales. Make it easier for your customers to add items to their cart and provide them with convenient payment methods.
Some eCommerce sites even offer options like cash-on-delivery (COD), adding a layer of convenience to their services. This is a great alternative for customers who hesitate to give out their credit card information. In fact, for some Southeast Asian countries, COD reigns supreme.
Look for a platform that makes it easy for you to automate managing and tracking upfront customer payments and collect account receivables.
Customer Service and product reviews
You want your chosen eCommerce site to accurately showcase customer feedback on products and/or services. Peopleclaim.com shares data from multiple studies that shows that as early as 2013, a whopping 70% of customers consult reviews or ratings before making a final purchase. This data also shows that 63% of consumers are more likely to buy from a site if it features product ratings and reviews.
Reviews provide you with the ability to keep an eye on which items are in demand, allowing you to manage supplies based on data-driven insights. This data can help you determine if perks like free shipping are worth it, and when stocks should be replenished. This adds more value to your brand.
Easy reordering / order editing capabilities
As someone who strives to receive high customer satisfaction, changing order details is one of the most stressful aspects of your business. This ultimately can affect your entire order process and impact your bottom line if it’s not handled properly.
This shouldn’t be the case. A good eCommerce site should allow you to manage changes in order details without causing a fuss. The same goes for repeat orders, particularly for wholesale. Automating bulk orders saves you (and them) time and cuts out repetitions in the same order process.
Security and verification
Cybersecurity is one of the most important features of an eCommerce website. Not prioritizing this leaves you and your customers vulnerable to cyber attacks. According to the Verizon 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report, 58% of cyber attack victims fall under the small business category. To avoid becoming part of that statistic, verify that your chosen eCommerce site is legitimate. Check their reviews and see which sites deliver on their promise consistently.
While most websites out there already have robust security standards, as their client, it doesn’t hurt to check if their platform supports cryptographic protocols to ensure a safe and secure checkout for your customers.
Scalability & ROI
If you’re just starting your business, you don’t want to pay for advanced features that you won’t use. Remember that your goal is to gain as much profit with the least amount of resources spent in order to get a reasonable return on investment (ROI). Also, while you may focus your efforts on wholesale today, there may be plans to branch out to retail some time in the future. Your chosen website should accommodate changes like these, so when that time comes, you no longer have to look for another website for retail.
Mobile optimization, SEO, and Social Media
Consider this: an estimated 10 billion mobile devices are currently in use and 79% of smartphone users have made a purchase online using their mobile device. An eCommerce website that doesn’t incorporate mobile-friendly features simply doesn’t cut it in this day and age.
Getting your items at the top of search engine rankings and using social media ads to market your products are keys to success. Make sure that your chosen eCommerce website supports all these features.
When choosing an eCommerce website, it's important to consider the cost. Some sites will charge more than the others because of the number of features available on their platform. Remember that your business has specific needs which need to be addressed first. Additional features that do not necessarily refine your processes should be deemed as nice-to-haves, but not must-haves.
Venturing into taking on an eCommerce website for wholesale trade is all about a customer-centric mindset. Technology has given consumers the power to choose where they’d like to spend their hard-earned cash. Focusing on their needs, pain points, and concerns means that you’ll be able to address these and provide innovative solutions to improve their experience as they do business with you.
Sweet helps small-to-medium wholesale businesses streamline the way they handle orders and inventory. We do that by offering two solutions: (1) a B2B eCommerce portal to provide a self-service portal for a business’s customers to submit orders and (2) an inventory management platform to handle advanced inventory needs.
Learn more about how we can help you grow by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.