When it comes to the apparel and footwear buying process, it’s easy to see that some brands are stuck in the past. Even in 2020, many brands still rely on print for their catalogs and ordering. It’s common to see buyers toting them around, or paper order forms scattered over exhibitors’ tables at industry trade shows.
Unfortunately, print comes with a slew of drawbacks that hold brands back in today’s modern wholesale landscape.
Fortunately, there is a simpler, better solution! Transition your brand into a digital-first B2B platform. You’ll save time and money, provide an ideal experience for all your retailers, and modernize your brand’s wholesale strategy.
Let’s take a look at the ways in which printing doesn’t hold up anymore, and how a digital-first experience is what your buyers are looking for now.
This one is two-fold.
First, printing and shipping catalogs - sometimes multiple times - can easily eat up a large chunk of a marketing budget. Print, ship, re-print, re-ship, repeat. It’s all too expensive.
Secondly, it’s also not without its environmental costs. Printing thousands (or tens of thousands) of pages for catalogs, look-books, and brochures is becoming more and more conspicuous as many brands publicly make a large push toward environmental sustainability.
Even if a catalog is laid out and sent to a printer with absolutely no errors, there’s a good chance that they’re outdated by the time they are finally in the hands of the reps that will be using them. Changed product details, dropped products, sold out products, or price changes that occur after printing(and these things will change, they always do) means the catalog is outdated almost before it even ships.
To counter this, brands often send out catalog updates for the reps to use. Besides suffering from the same problems as the original catalogs, these updates can be misplaced, misapplied, or result in reps using an incorrect version of the catalog.
Print catalogs are just not a reliable way to effectively communicate your product info and brand story anymore.
Trying to share a print catalog is essentially a no-go. The only way to share a print catalog with a buyer is to print more, there-by adding more to the cost. This means that unless a rep is present with printed catalogs in hand - or the brand has dropped additional budget on providing every buyer with their own copy - retailers aren’t able to shop and order when they want to or need to.
Digital catalogs, on the other hand, are easily shared, either in whole or in part as needed.
Buyers have come to expect to be able to buy on their own time, mainly because they have so many brands to work with. Technology and market shifts are giving retailers the tools and desire to spend time putting together smarter, best fit orders when and how they see fit. This digital experience is the expectation, not the exception.
All this adds up to one undeniable fact. It’s time to ditch print, and build a more effective wholesale strategy. If you’re going to ditch print, though, you’re going to need an alternative.
That’s where we come in, with Envoy B2B.
Envoy B2B helps you make digital catalogs with our easy to use catalog building tool. You can quickly create different catalogs for your various customers or customer groups. It also lets you set up rules for each catalog, such as inventory visibility, product categories, pricing, availability date, and so on to ensure the right customers are getting the right information.
What’s more, it’s quick and painless to keep these catalogs accurate and up to date, because digital allows for a single source of truth for all your product data.
For example, once an admin updates a catalog, all versions of that catalog get updated – for customers, for reps, in the browser, and on mobile. You can easily update images and pricing as well as quickly add or remove products from catalogs or deactivate a product everywhere. Envoy B2B gives you the tools and the control to manage your catalogs confidently.
This, of course, will lead to much greater accuracy in your orders. If your product data, pricing, and inventory are always up to date, your reps can’t inadvertently sell products that are out of stock or priced inaccurately.
The system enforces the rules, so far fewer, if any, faulty orders come through. Fewer bad orders means happier buyers and larger orders, as well as fewer headaches for you and your team.
All of this accuracy and ease-of-use doesn’t come at the cost of versatility or value, either. In fact, because your catalogs are digitally native, they can be shared as PDFs, Excel files, or as an in-platform experience for buyers or sales reps.
A digital-first B2B platform enables your reps with easy, rules-based tools that allow them to share directly from the platform – offering their customers the ability to download the catalog or access the platform and start shopping. All of which has been shown to increase the likelihood of future reorders. And the iPad and iPhone tools can completely replace your print catalogs and are a great way to share always-up-to-date catalogs and lookbooks after an in-person meeting.
If the prospect of ditching print for digitally native catalogs is appealing to you (even if you’re not ready to completely abandon paper), get in touch and someone from our team will show you how Envoy B2B has helped all of our customers shed the print narrative.
By: Tom Rau
Envoy B2B is a wholesale content and eCommerce platform for your entire team. Our tools and services are designed to help you create dynamic content, increase your speed of sale, and bring you closer to your retailers. Envoy B2B provides the technology you need to empower your sales reps and support your retail channel.