2021 is shaping up to be an unprecedented year of digital innovation for brands and retailers. In our new report on the future of wholesale, “Fortune Favors the Digital”, nearly all 688 survey respondents say they use B2B software solutions and believe the right platform creates a better experience for retailers. Read on to learn how a B2B wholesale platform can help you build a solid foundation for your business, host productive sales appointments, and strengthen relationships with buyers.
Look to Omni-Channel Distribution
One of the greatest lessons of the COVID-19 crisis is diversify, diversify, diversify as it pertains to distribution. In fact, one in four brands are committed to investing more in wholesale above every other channel. It’s important to build a solid foundation for your business with an omni-channel strategy encompassing wholesale and D2C for both brick-and-mortar and e-commerce stores. Even dropshipping is taking off; in-fact “drop ship” was the top brand attribute search by retailers (22.5% of searches) at our recent digital trade show with Informa Markets Fashion (COTERIE, PROJECT, MAGIC, MICAM Americas, Children’s Club). When it comes to distribution, the best avenues align with consumers’ and retailers’ preferences. Retail buyers expect a shopping experience that mirrors D2C shopping, and the right B2B platform will not only be visually appealing, but also functional and easy-to-use. Equipped with real-time inventory, 365/24/7 ordering, and in-depth product information, retail partners can place orders with confidence and meet consumer demand in an agile manner.
Master the Virtual Appointment
You may have used B2B e-commerce regularly at trade shows and other in-person meetings, 2021 is the year to master appointments online. Develop a strategy for scheduling meetings, preparing presentations and talking about your collections. Start by choosing a video conferencing platform such as Zoom or Skype and get familiar with sharing your screen. Next, prep your linesheets, lookbooks, virtual showroom homepage and other key material. Personalize the linesheets if you intend to show special assortments to a specific buyer(s). When it’s time to walk a buyer through your collection, speak as you would offline but prep ahead of time to avoid over-lengthy calls; buyers are still as busy as ever. Speak to key categories, silhouettes, fabrics, colors, inspiration and more in a way that incorporates storytelling to immerse the buyer into your brand.
Finally, follow up after every appointment. Get confirmation on the styles they chose; send them along with marketing materials, images, sell sheets and an order form. Everything is straightforward with your B2B e-commerce platform- buyers can save order drafts and place orders with ease.
Take a look at our eBook: Conducting Effective Virtual Meetings With Retail Buyers for further information on mastering your virtual appointments, from organization and prep, to strategies on leveraging a B2B platform.
Focus on Relationships
Relationships have always been vital to B2B success. What’s more, the need for strong, mutually-beneficial relationships becomes even more apparent when it comes to digital sales. There are many routes to achieve the same goal; best practices will vary from retailer to retailer. Still, there are some rules of thumb that can be applied to any wholesale relationship…
- Stay in touch and establish clear communication. Showing an interest in the performance or reception of your products in their stores is a great way to build trust and encourage the longevity of your partnership.
- The best relationships benefit everyone involved. For example, offering enhanced order flexibility during uncertain times suggests you value the relationship and care about their needs.
- Use your B2B e-commerce platform to send a monthly newsletter to wholesale clients. You’ll stay top of mind while sharing company news, events information, new campaign imagery, exciting press and more.
- Share high-value brand assets with your clients. For example, Darn Tough uses Image Relay to create high quality, branded images to be shared on Instagram and Facebook. Whenever their wholesale clients are ready for more images, they simply download them from NuORDER. This promotes your brand, saves retailers time and enhances the professionalism of your business.
Whatever your goals are for 2021, be sure to include a focused strategy for digital wholesale sales. Digital selling is here to stay and with it comes several opportunities to improve and streamline your business. B2B e-commerce solutions optimize the wholesale process with live inventory access, standardized orders, sell-through insights, reduced human error and a multitude of solutions for growing sales.
Request a demo below to see how NuORDER can help you reimagine your wholesale business in a digital era.