E-commerce has lots of potential for small and mid-sized wholesalers. It provides a low-cost way of selling to your repeat and in-bulk customers. Wholesale and retail e-commerce are different and they require separate infrastructure. Are you making any of these costly wholesale e-commerce mistakes?
Mistake 1: Looking Only Like a Retailer
Wholesale prospects should be able to identify that you sell wholesale when they first visit your website. If they are unable to know that you sell wholesale then they will leave your site and your chance to sell to them may be gone forever. Your website should clearly state that your company sells B2B, even if you also sell B2C.
Here are some ways to show that your company sells wholesale to other businesses:
Include the word “wholesale” or a similar industry-specific term prominently
Offer a dealer and/or credit application online
Offer a “dealer button” to show that you have a wholesale-only password-protected e-commerce portal
Although the majority of your visitors will initially come to your home page, some will first land on other pages, such as product pages. By including some of these features on every page, wholesale prospects will immediately see that your company sells wholesale, no matter which page they see first.
Mistake 2: Ignoring Product Pages
When designing a website, many business owners spend most of their time working on the home page. Product pages deserve just as much attention as your home page, however. Customers and prospects will not necessarily land on your home page first; they may find a product page on your site first. Product pages need to convert, too. If you have high bounce rates, high drop-off rates, and low conversion rates on your product pages, perhaps they have not received the attention they deserve.
When designing product pages, two elements are key. First, each page should have at least one high-quality image. Ideally, customers would be able to see more than one picture, but the most important aspect of product-page images is their quality.
Second, each page should have a well-written product description. A study conducted by the Nielsen Norman Group found that people spent 82 percent of their time reading the text on ecommerce pages and only 18 percent looking at the pictures. This finding does not discount the importance of images, but it shows that product descriptions matter to customers.
Mistake 3: Not Gathering Reviews
Customer reviews are a vital aspect of e-commerce. Many retail establishments, most notably Amazon, have made customer reviews a central pillar of their online stores. Business-to-business (B2B) companies, in contrast, have been slower to adopt and utilize this strategy. Two reasons often contribute to the lack of customer reviews on B2B sites. First, small and mid-sized B2B companies have a smaller customer base than retailers, so there are fewer customers to provide reviews. Second, some B2B companies think reviews are less important, since they sell to other businesses instead of individuals.
Customer reviews can have just as significant an impact in B2B e-commerce as they do in B2C e-commerce. Ask your current customers to provide a testimonial about your company and your products.
Mistake 4: Not Investing in E-commerce Software
An e-commerce portal is an investment in your company’s future success. It may be tempting, especially for smaller companies working on a tight budget, to try to use shopping cart software for B2B. Shopping carts are not suited for your wholesale customers.
Invest in an online sales portal that can handle your wholesale needs. The program you select should integrate with QuickBooks or other accounting program.
Wholesale and retail e-commerce can exist side-by-side on your website, but remember that they are different and must be promoted and executed on different platforms.