Switching to B2B ecommerce: Easier than it sounds

Jane McArthur
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August 25, 2017
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Operations
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With almost 67% of wholesale businesses accepting orders online, you may ask yourself if you also should get your own B2B portal. Let's find out.

Spending on B2B ecommerce software is accelerating at twice the speed of B2C, with wholesale businesses leading the way in using online order management systems to reach out to new and existing customers. Technology has indeed a facilitating effect in our everyday lives; this doesn’t necessarily mean that it could turn B2B wholesale into an easier task to tackle.

Now if you manage a B2B wholesale business, you probably know what we mean by the above analogy. Switching to B2B ecommerce may seem a daunting and complicated and quite frankly it is. And here are some reasons why:

1. Doing business online is an uncharted territory

You may think that setting up your own B2B portal presupposes that you actually have the skills to do business online. Correct! In fact, switching to an online platform requires from you to spend some time learning how to use it and designing a new business strategy.

At the same time, changing the way you run your business also means that you will be facing some new and unfamiliar challenges. For example, how can you be sure that your online B2B platform is a secure space for your customers to place their orders in? Or even harder: what happens if your B2B portal goes down for a few minutes or hours?

2. Your customers will need a lot of time to adapt

You may be ready to enter the digital world, but are your customers ready to follow you down that road? It is entirely normal to fear that your customers may stave off online ordering. After all, placing yours orders through email or phone calls is quite easy and more person-centered than doing so on a seemingly cold and distant online platform.

And what about losing contact with your clients? An online system may jeopardize the sense of security your already established ordering system gives your clients. So you may think that you might end up losing part of your client base because of your digital leap.

Stats about wholesale ecommerce

‍Why should you go online then?

Yes, there may be many reasons to be reluctant about taking your wholesale business deep into the digital age. But here’s the deal: some really big companies, like Alibaba, are not only participating in wholesale, they have also started investing in the online B2B industry. This means that the industry is already in the midst of shifting business paradigms.

1. B2B ecommerce helps you grow your business

In fact, while 62% of wholesale business owners state that they had a hard time finding the right technology, the majority of B2B companies worldwide have already invested in their own online ordering management system. Why? Using online software to start taking orders significantly reduces their costs. At the same time, their profits almost double up!

Ultimately, switching to B2B ecommerce is the smartest, most profitable and cost-effective decision a modern day wholesaler can make these days.

2. Your buyers are much more tech-savvy than what you think

According to a report of B2B eCommerce trends, the average B2B buyer is much more digitally literate than what you may think. In fact, 89% of B2B customers research products on the internet before they make a purchase decision.

Also, a 2016 survey showed that, many wholesalers decide to move forward with digital solutions mainly because their customers expect them to do so. Was it a smart decision? When we asked Patrick Bedard, Manager at From the Field, if his decision to implement a B2B ecommerce solution paid off, he said: “Our customers keep raving about our B2B Portal!"

Even if none of your customers has asked you to take your business online, it is always important to remember that most of the times customers don't always say what they want; usually they imply it. Just think about it: no one told Steve Jobs that the world needed a just screen phone with multiple apps, yet he created the iPhone and it became one of the world's most successful product.

Stats about B2B wholesale ecommerce

How to easily switch to B2B ecommerce

Yes, we get it: switching to B2B ecommerce is not a decision to be taken lightly by any wholesaler.

On the one hand, you may have some valid concerns in terms of finding the right tool for your business; you may also question your and your customers ability to operate under these new and “modern” conditions.

Yet, on the other hand, it turns out that most B2B businesses take a turn towards digital as ecommerce software facilitates their workflow, cuts down on their operational costs and significantly boosts their sales. What’s more, B2B customers seem far from reluctant to use technology to research and purchase goods.

What is there to do then? Whether you’re sold or not on the digital trend, the best way to actually make an informed decision about it is through sampling.

Do your research first and then create a trial account the B2B ecommerce solutions that may fit your business and your needs best. When cloudy about key functions, contact their support and sales team so as to get a solid understanding of a platform’s features and what it can offer you in terms of facilitating your everyday operations and cost savings.

For example, if your customers are not that tech-savvy, you should look for platforms known for their user-friendly interface, where all features and functions are clear and easy to grasp. If you’re a small business reluctant to pay for a B2B portal, then you should browse through solutions that are affordable in respect to their functions and their provided services.

Eventually, ecommerce will soon be dominating the B2B wholesale world.  And in spite of any valid reluctance, making the switch to online can be far easier than what you think.

Still not convinced? 

Click here to sign up for a free trial account on B2B Wave and see what the digital experience has to offer you and your wholesale business!

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B2B Wave is a user-friendly software that allows B2B wholesale distributors and manufacturers to easily set up their ecommerce platform, accept orders online, communicate with their customers and boost their sales.
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