By Steven Kramer, EVP Sales Americas, hybris
Omni-channel commerce is having a trickle down effect on wholesaling, as savvy retailers expect their suppliers to provide functionality and features that are similar to those found in the B2C marketplace. Even though retailers are expressing preferences for B2C type buying experiences, many wholesalers are not prepared to do business in the e-commerce space, and it is an oversight that may have impact their ability to attract and retain retail customers.
The state of wholesale eCommerce
The 2012 State of B2B E-Commerce study found that more than four out of five (88 percent) of B2B buyers prefer to work with vendors that provide e-commerce procurement opportunities. Yet the vast majority of buyers (71 percent) reported that their wholesalers and vendors lack eCommerce capabilities.
For wholesalers, the writing is on the wall. Leading wholesale companies are moving forward with plans to offer omni-channel commerce experiences that are comparable to those offered by their B2C counterparts. Wholesalers that continue to ignore the eCommerce imperative, on the other hand, will fall further behind and may become irrelevant to B2B buyers.
eCommerce tips for wholesalers
There are several eCommerce features and functions that wholesalers can implement to stand out from the competition and deliver more robust customer experiences. These include:
- Search. Advanced search features add value by allowing customers to quickly and efficiently locate the products that are important to them. The result is a more enjoyable buying experience, supported by an online catalog that is always up-to-date.
- Enhanced Product Details. High-resolution product images, downloadable specs and customer-generated reviews improve conversions by helping buyers make more informed purchase decisions.
- Checkout and Fulfillment. Buyers want wholesalers to provide fast, easy and secure checkout options that enable a variety of payment methods. Likewise, they expect a range of shipping options, including opportunities for next day and weekend deliveries.
Going forward, the gap between leading wholesalers and the rest of the industry will become more apparent. By implementing eCommerce platforms that align with buyer preferences, wholesalers can stay ahead of the game and capture additional market share in the omni-channel space. To learn more, visit www.hybris.com.