Updated: Sep 5
The current peak in online ordering across the globe is well known. eCommerce has witnessed a never-before jump over the last three years.
Amidst this growth, one model failing to get enough credit despite its higher growth prospects is the B2B2B eCommerce business model.
So what is B2B2B eCommerce exactly? It is the process in which a manufacturer sells a product to a wholesaler or a distributor through online transactions, who then sell it to retailers.
The business model consists of two legs - brand to distributor, which is handled using a distributor management system (DMS), and distributor to retailer where brands often lose control in the offline world.
When brands embrace the B2B2B eCommerce model, they are able to tackle this challenge more effectively - distributors join as sellers and retailers join as buyers. This helps reap the following benefits through the relationship:
Easy flow of feedback between brands, distributors and retailers
Brands gather actionable market intelligence through the direct connect with retailers
Distributors can expand customer base and set up a new revenue channel
Retailers get 24/7 ordering mechanism with proactive updates on new products
In this article, we’ve gathered the best practices and methods for brands looking to implement the model and increase the number of retailers and distributors embracing it.
10 best practices for brands to drive B2B2B eCommerce adoption
Let's go over each strategy and learn how you can attract more wholesalers, distributors, and retailers using the powerful B2B eCommerce model:
1. Provide detailed product information
Does your site include rich and detailed product information? Including product specifics in detail simplifies the buying process for your distributors or retailers.
To start off, add a digital product catalog with advanced filtering options and high-quality images. Describe your products in detail, such as their specifications and primary use cases, and answer potential questions buyers may have.
Also, attract the buyers more by showing off your products’ popularity. You can do this by adding profit margins based on past data, the rise in product demand over time, etc.
2. Build an easy-to-access portal
Stick to offering a simple user experience to accommodate buyers of all backgrounds. Understand your buyers and then build a user-friendly, secure, and easy-to-navigate site and establish commonly used channels of communication and commerce, like WhatsApp, to ensure buyers keep coming back for more using solutions like B2B2B Graas eCommerce platform.
The platform can be customized to ensure that it meets the needs of your brand and is aligned to the processes followed by the retailers and distributors while making purchases, including the following aspects:
Ability to place orders on WhatsApp
Bulk ordering with volume-based discounting
Direct payment routing to distributors
Credit-based payment options and
Differential pricing strategies
3. Offer flexible B2B payment options
Dealers / Retailers are more likely to purchase from brands offering flexible payment options over the ones that don’t.
A flexible payment plan or options can also attract new buyers, giving them a ‘risk-free’ purchasing option. Therefore, you could improve buyer loyalty and maximize conversions.
Here are some popular B2B payment options you can consider adding:
Credit limits — Offer your trustworthy customers or preferred retailers, business credit limits, for example, based on their net worth. Most businesses set 10% of a customer’s or retailer’s net worth as their business credit limit.
Credit periods — Set the maximum number of days a buyer - customer or retailer, is allowed to wait before paying the invoice. For example, ‘net 30’ indicates a 30-day payment period from the purchase date.
E-financing — Add payment flexibility through loaning, insurance services, funds, e-cheques, and other online banking options for painless, on-the-spot payments.
4. Introduce proactive customer support
Did you know a weak customer support system is one of the fastest ways to cause a negative brand impression?
A sudden shift from offline to online ordering may overwhelm some B2B buyers. Therefore, offering 24/7 customer support in major languages is a must-have to reduce customer turnover.
For example, suppose your distributor needs additional help applying an active discount. If you keep them waiting too long for an answer, you as well as the distributor would risk losing a high-intent customer.
So ensure you offer prompt, all-time support by troubleshooting errors, answering queries instantly, and offering quick resolutions.
5. Educating and training buyers and distributors
Start offering training programs to educate every stakeholder, such as the distributors, buyers, salespeople, and support personnel.
Doing so instills confidence in making smart purchase decisions and helps them understand the new B2B2B model’s functionalities and processes in detail.
Create free resources and self-help tools like help guides, process videos, webinars, etc., for stakeholders to get a firm grip on your B2B eCommerce platform.
Graas Pro tip: Your sales reps can also be the best mediums to impart stakeholder training due to their exceptional people skills. They could schedule calls or arrange in-person meetings with businesses to discuss digital transformation’s benefits.
6. Incentivize your buyers
Incentivize your online buyers by offering more creative and valuable incentives than offline buyers, such as special discounts, purchase credits, first-time buyer coupons, and additional support.
You could also set up a loyalty program exclusively for your online buyers. Doing so could push offline buyers to adopt the new model.
Offering incentives has the highest ROI as it’s one of the smartest ways to promote your brand through word-of-mouth and referrals.
7. Publish customer reviews
People trust people. Reviews and testimonials from current online buyers can provide solid social proof that your platform is legitimate. They can turn confused prospects into buyers quickly.
You could add testimonials/product reviews to your product catalog page, checkout page, home page, and other key website pages that receive the most traffic.
While embedding reviews into your website, ensure to add the customer’s image and credentials (position at the company) for extra credibility.
8. Encourage repeat buyers
The 80/20 rule works for the B2B2B eCommerce model, too. Meaning 80% of your business usually comes from 20% of buyers.
Repeat buyers are also great for upselling and cross-selling products. So ensure your sales and customer support team routinely checks in with them to avoid satisfaction issues and maximize their engagement with your brand.
9. Leverage analytics
Real-time data-led analytics is your best bet for an optimized online platform.
From understanding user buying behaviors to purchase patterns and the rate of adoption, analytics open doors to many data-driven decisions that increase new retailer and distributor customers.
Companies like Graas help you build the B2B2B eCommerce platform, which helps increase the adoption rate and analyze hot trends through in-depth analytics to grow your business.
B2B2B eCommerce opens up a whole new arena for brands to reach wider audiences across the globe.
Having a platform for distributors and retailers offers many benefits, including brand control, and actionable market intelligence. At the same time, it also helps distributors find new revenue channels and lets retailers enjoy 24/7 ordering with proactive updates that foster collaboration, efficiency and mutual growth.
But most of your retailers and distributors may hesitate to plunge into the B2B eCommerce space suddenly. And that’s when the above ten best practices and strategies let you encourage adoption efficiently and onboard them in less time.