Are you a wholesale distributor looking for an ecommerce solution? If you don’t already have an ecommerce solution, you’re missing out on an opportunity to outpace the competition. If your company has been using an older B2C ecommerce platform for a while, the new, B2B-focused products of today may solve all the problems you’ve been having. SWK Tech has recently released a white paper that explains how the newest generation of cloud-based ecommerce solutions are making it easier for wholesale distributors to increase their revenues without increasing the sales team.
Learn more about the newest advancements in ecommerce for B2B sales in today’s article, or download the white paper to get the in-depth information at your convenience.
Why did people start using B2C systems for B2B?
20 years ago when the Internet was just starting to enter the public consciousness, ecommerce pioneers saw the value in creating an online sales engine. At the time, computer-based sales platforms built for B2C transactions could be modified to (mostly) meet the needs of B2B sellers—but the systems were unwieldy and difficult to manage. As computers became more mainstream in worldwide offices, determined B2B companies attempted to connect their back-offices with their ecommerce stores and their CRM systems. However, connecting these systems required costly, customized integrations that were hard to maintain.
Without integration it was even worse: All ecommerce data had to be rekeyed by hand into each individual system, meaning that inventorying, shipping, and accounts receivable delays translated into frustratingly slow service in an industry where slow businesses quickly become bankrupt businesses.
Why smart businesses are now switching to B2B-focused ecommerce
Luckily, times have changed and effective B2B ecommerce systems are now available at competitive prices. Companies who have been holding out for the right solution, or who are just plain fed up with B2C solutions that don’t fit their needs finally have new options. Here’s how B2B-focused ecommerce systems help your business leap ahead of the competition.
Legitimate Ordering: In the B2C world, it’s okay for absolutely anyone to wander over to a website and buy something with their credit card—but that’s not the case in your business. B2B-focused ecommerce solutions ensure that only authorized individuals at approved companies order from your system.
Contractual Validation: Your trade agreements likely specify where you can and cannot distribute your products, and B2C systems just don’t have the ability to match your purchaser’s location to a list of approved trading areas.
Custom Pricing: You don’t want to offer a “one-price-fits-all” or “one-discount-fits-all” pricing method, that’s a sure way to scare off your customers. Instead, you want to tailor your pricing to take many variables into account: company size, ordering history, SKU sales rank, inventory levels, and more. With a B2B system, those options are built in.
Expanded Shipping: B2C shipping is so simple it makes B2Bs jealous. In B2C, the customer orders an item, it gets shipped to one location, and the transaction has ended. You know that B2B is never that straightforward. A good B2B ecommerce system will allow for shipping to multiple locations from a single order (some items go to headquarters, some to a factory on the West Coast, some to a storage facility in the South). A B2B system will also provide easy-to-use drop-shipping capabilities, and will even provide for customer pick up, if that’s what your customer wants.
B2B ecommerce isn’t just for your business either
Not only does a B2B-focused ecommerce system make your business run more smoothly, it also makes your trading partners’ businesses run more smoothly. In an industry where long-term business partnerships are the norm, and where a mislaid order or a difficult customer experience can jeopardize millions of dollars in lost revenues, keeping your customers happy is the highest priority in the B2B world. Luckily, today’s B2B ecommerce software helps you make your customers ecstatic.
Easy Returns: Mistakes happen, but when you make it easy for your customer to make returns, you can turn a bad sale into a good one. B2B ecommerce systems simplify reverse-flow operations so that previously headache-inducing transactions (think: PO-based partial returns for multi-location kitted items) become a snap.
Accessible Credit: In an industry that thrives on credit, having a well-organized, always-available customer account system in place is the #1 way to ensure timely payments. B2C systems don’t allow for many purchases on credit. B2B systems do.
If you’re interested in how a B2B ecommerce solution can help your business maintain and enrich your business relationships while making your job easier, please check out the rest of the white paper about the new generation of B2B ecommerce systems. You can also contact SWK Technologies to learn about NetSuite’s Suite Commerce cloud-based ecommerce solution.