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For years, B2B companies have been printing hard copies of product catalogs and then mailing or distributing them to retailers across the globe. This process is not only complex and costly, but also lengthy — from compiling the catalog, to printing it, to shipping or delivering it to retailers. To make matters worse, when minor amendments need to be made to any of the products in the catalog, B2B companies then have to either go through the entire process of preparing a revised product catalog all over again, or are left with a non-updated version of the current one.
Enter the “Digital Revolution”! The digital age led to a major shift in the marketplace as it paved the way for the evolution of eCommerce in general. It also spawned the development of B2B eCommerce, which is especially important for wholesalers and distributors everywhere. As a result, businesses today are shopping online in the same way most consumers do.
In fact, according to Forrester Research, the online B2B market is forecasted to grow from $899 billion at the end of 2017 to $1.2 trillion by 2021. Moreover, by 2020, the B2B eCommerce market is expected to be double the size of the B2C market.
There are many excellent reasons to consider switching to a B2B eCommerce platform. In this article, we’re going to focus on a key few.
Spilling the Beans: How A B2B Online Ordering Solution Can Help Food Distributors Increase Profits
If you’re a food wholesaler who is still taking B2B eCommerce with a grain of salt, you might be surprised to learn that online B2B ordering platforms can actually improve the profitability of both your sales process and your overall business. How so? Well, a good portion of food is highly perishable, and even when it isn’t, it’s always of utmost importance that all food get delivered to your customer in the freshest state possible.
In the food distribution industry, the delivery window can impact the entire buying-selling cycle in many integral ways. For example, with offline ordering, the amount of time that passes once a retailer places an order with you to the time the chosen goods are delivered might be very lengthy, but with an online B2B ordering platform, that delivery window is typically quite short.
Additionally, the food distribution industry is one of the most competitive, with businesses constantly trying to ensure and improve customer satisfaction. One of the ways they do this is by keeping retailers shelves fully stocked at all times, often with multiple deliveries each week. Having a B2B eCommerce platform is a highly effective way of accomplishing these customer satisfaction goals because it allows retailers to place orders quickly and easily, 24/7. When orders are able to be placed quicker and easier, it also means those orders can then be processed more efficiently.
Bringing Home the Bacon: How A B2B Online Ordering Solution Can Help Food Wholesalers Boost Sales
1. Ordering is a piece of cake.
The right B2B eCommerce solution can go a long way to simplifying the ordering process, making it both easier and faster for your customers. How is it easier and faster? B2B ordering platforms allow for a reduction in the number of channels an order is traditionally processed through. This results in higher accuracy rates per order. In addition, when the ordering process is faster and easier, the preparation and delivery window of each order also becomes considerably shorter.
2. Communicating with customers is more open and effective.
Effective, transparent communication is the bread and butter of all business relationships — especially when it comes to B2B sales. With an online B2B ordering portal, your customers have access to real-time information about your product availability, their order status and even their payments that are coming due. This makes communicating with customers much more efficient and effective because it eliminates the traditional going back and forth by phone, email or letter of offline ordering systems.
3. You can personalise the experience to your customers’ needs.
Most online B2B ordering platforms offer you the ability to produce reports to help you monitor sales and order activity, and the data provided by these reports lets you easily craft discounts and offers that are tailored to your customers’ needs. In doing so, you can effectively ramp up your sales strategy, leading to higher levels of customer satisfaction and increased loyalty toward your business. For example, when you understand your customers’ buying habits, you can promote their preferred products in your online storefront to help them place their orders faster.
Souping Things Up: How A B2B Online Ordering Solution Can Benefit Your Entire Food Wholesale Business
Taking your business online doesn’t just increase profits and boost sales. It also benefits your business’s overall effectiveness, and here’s how:
1. Monitor, adjust, grow!
A B2B eCommerce solution lets you effectively monitor your customers’ activity, project forecasts, and quickly adjust to shifts in demand. For example, if certain customers like to order specific products from you (i.e. cookie dough), you can develop a promotional campaign targeted to this select clientele. These data-driven insights can eventually help increase sales volume and overall business growth.
2. Personalising customer interactions
The right online B2B ordering solution can help you establish a standardised communication infrastructure between you and your customers. You can instantly personalise your product catalog for each of your customers, make selected product categories available to select customers, and offer special deals to your most valued customers.
3. Reducing operational costs
An online B2B ordering platform can make your business more profitable on an operations level. First, telecommunication and data-entry costs can almost be eliminated when using an eCommerce platform, and second, your daily workflow can be managed in a centralised location, making it easier and more seamless for you to meet both current and future demand.