Wholesalers: how to get more customers to order online

Posted in B2B sales & distribution.

As a B2B wholesaler, how much of your sales is being submitted electronically by your customers themselves? Probably not much. Why are retailers and business customers not more open to using B2B wholesalers’ online sales channels? Traditionally, B2B wholesale was firmly rooted in person-to-person relationships, with sales reps being out in the field for the majority of their working day. In the future, we can reasonably expect most operations to become digital. However, at the moment, we’re in a sort of limbo between the two, and it’s this uncertainty that’s causing low adoption of the B2B self-service sales channel.

The Current State of B2B Wholesale Online Ordering

In general, we’re seeing one of two things happening in the world of B2B wholesale online ordering. We’re either seeing retailer buyers and business customers searching for online sales channels but failing to find any, or we’re seeing B2B wholesalers embracing new technologies, but struggling to bring their retail partners and business customers along for the ride.

Here are some reasons why your retail channel or business customers may not be using your online sales websites or sales mobile apps:

  • Your retailers and business customers are unaware that your brand is offering digital buying solutions
  • Your retailers and business customers are unsure how to make use of your eCommerce website or mobile app
  • Your online solutions do not facilitate the B2B buying journey
  • Your retailers and business customers have no reason to make the shift to digital

How to Convert B2B Buyers to Online Solutions

By identifying the main reasons why B2B buyers may not be open to moving the brand-retailer relationship online, it becomes easier to see what you as a B2B wholesaler can do to drive conversions.

Boost Awareness

If your retailers don’t know that your online website or sales app exists, then they won’t be using them. If you’re planning to invest in digital operations, then it’s worth creating a new marketing strategy to ensure that you’re going to see a good return on this particular investment. A quick email will do the trick, but you should also advise sales reps to mention your platform during meetings and conversations.

Train & Educate

While digital transformation is happening, there are still many buyers who simply aren’t confident using online platforms. Take any opportunity you can to train and educate your buyers, whether that’s providing demonstrations at trade shows or during meetings, or supplementing your website with educational tools, such as help guides, online videos, or content that shows how buyers can benefit.

Focus on Design

Buyers are unlikely to use your website or your mobile app if they don’t offer a simple, user-friendly design. Put yourself in your buyer’s shoes, and think about what they’re going to be looking for in terms of layout, navigation, and overall usability. Ultimately, you should be able to offer your buyers an ‘experience’, not just a purchasing solution. What can you do to facilitate the online buying journey? Here at Onsight, we focus a lot of energy and attention on making our mobile sales app as user-friendly as possible.

Offer an Incentive

If retailers are happy using more traditional buying methods, then they really have no reason to make the shift to digital… so give them one! While deals and discounts are the obvious incentives, try to think outside the box and offer more. How about early access to new products? Insight into product development? Or perhaps even a range of online exclusives? Be as persuasive as possible.