Long ago, retail stores and manufacturers would typically buy a huge amount of items at once and then store those things in warehouses until they were almost out. Then, they'd restock with enough items to keep them in stock for months or even longer. This practice made it so that their wholesale suppliers didn't have to be too speedy when filling orders, and in some industries, it was typical for it to take several weeks for delivery.
Now, wholesale customers still buy plenty of items at once in order to get bulk pricing, but many of them wouldn't dream of getting enough to last for several months or a year. Instead, they only buy enough to get through a relatively short sales cycle. When that cycle is over, they may restock more of the same item or they might decide to order an entirely different model. This benefits them in several key ways. It allows them to greatly shrink the amount of warehouse space that they need to pay for, it allows them to respond to the fast-changing tastes of their retail customers, and it allows them to handle perishable items without as much worry about spoilage.
While these things are great for wholesale buyers, it has put a strain on wholesale sellers who are used to doing things the old way. Even though most wholesalers have learned how to eliminate the long lead times that once plagued bulk ordering, they still have trouble getting fully up to speed. Customers end up leaving because they can't order at crucial times, are locked behind cumbersome requirements for direct interaction with salespeople, and can't easily check up on orders that they've already placed. Here are some ways that wholesalers can eliminate these problems:
Offer Online Ordering
E-commerce isn't just for B2C anymore. Wholesale e-commerce allows wholesale customers to go to the supplier's site and order as easily as a retail customer would buy from a B2C seller. Access to these sites is typically restricted to those who have already established wholesale accounts. This prevents retail customers from seeing the wholesale prices of items. It also keeps wholesalers from having single-item orders come in. Finally, it helps to deter fraud.
For wholesale customers who engage in "just in time" practices, it's essential to be able to order online. Calling "first thing in the morning" doesn't work because so many people do it. This causes the phones to be backed up right when customers need to order the most. For companies that run shifts all night, calling in is even less of an option. Customers need to be able to order at any time of the night and have those orders enter processing immediately.
Unify All Order Channels
Customers need to be able to track the progress of their orders no matter which channel they used to place them originally. Because of this, a wholesale b2b e-commerce site needs to do more than allow for online ordering. It must give all customers the ability to log on and see what's happening with their orders.
How Wholesalers Can Provide These Benefits
It's easy to add an e-commerce channel to your wholesale business by using our software. Now Commerce integrates with QuickBooks so that orders coming from the site will be automatically added to your existing system. This ensures that no orders are lost. It also allows customers to check on the status of their orders no matter which channel they used to place them.
Now Commerce also provides your company with many benefits. You'll find that the error rate is reduced since orders will go directly into your system. All of your departments will be able to read the orders from the master record rather than relying on transcribed versions that may or may not be correct. The elimination of the need for manual copying will also allow your entire company to be more efficient, and this will please your accountants as well as your customers.