What’s the most effective way of building a wholesale e-commerce channel? We’ve found that many brands still rely on a utility style system. This is a limited collection of ways to capture orders and not much else. It’s an old way of building a B2B, where the tools exist to complete transactions and not much else.
And it means that brands stuck in this kind of system are missing out on a lot of opportunity to grow.
So what’s the best way to move forward and build a pro-active, modern system? Implement a content & commerce solution that offers up a single, complete destination for all users.
First, let’s look at the old way and the limitations it puts on your brand.
Falling Prey To The Old Ways
This is the Utility Approach. An accumulation of methods to capture and ingest orders. Over time, technology gradually brought about new methods of order taking and were dutifully added on. Over-the-phone orders led to faxed-in orders led to emailed orders. Spreadsheets were introduced at some point to keep track of things as the process became increasingly unwieldy
This steady accumulation of not-really-new systems eventually turns into a kind of decision debt, where old decisions or exceptions made for client needs result in an unwieldy system that doesn’t work well. You eventually find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being the tool instead of your B2B system.
One of your reps is taking orders on paper that someone will have to key in while a customer just emailed an order using last season’s spreadsheet and will need to be called to straighten out a few things.There are so many different tweaks and variables that it is impossible to maintain standards. And so of course, this leads to mis-keyed orders and more instances of simple human error.
But even if you do pull it all off and your order intake process works without a hitch, there’s a potentially bigger problem: you have a lack of visibility into your season. You only know how it’s all going after your buyers send in their orders and those orders make it into your tool. This blind spot hurts your ability to pivot and understand where you’re at with your pre-books
Welcome To The New World
Now let’s look at a modern way - what we call a Content & Commerce Approach - and how it can help you solve these problems.
First, it’s not just an order capture tool, it’s a wholesale destination. It’s a place for your customers to learn, shop, and order in a complete, standardized system that reduces errors and effort. Suddenly you are not the tool anymore - your B2B destination is.
Second, having a wholesale destination provides you with a single source of truth for your data. Instead of trying to keep all of your business knowledge straight with an ad hoc solution (like spreadsheets), you can manage it all in one place and trust that they will be applied.This is especially helpful with pricing and product segmentation.
Your wholesale destination also gives you incredibly valuable visibility into your season, in real time. You’re able to go in and see where your buyer is at with their order, what they’re considering and what they might be missing. This allows you to pivot and accentuate the best of your line to reflect the changes that you’re seeing - changes that you would not have seen under the old method until it was too late.
Finally, there’s content. The beauty of fully functional wholesale destination is that it brings all of your retailers to a single location, which allows you to educate them on your brand, teach them about new products, and maintain conversations with them. You can lead them through the story of next season’s line and let them download digital collateral or stream a video that you’ve produced to highlight a hot product. As you know, and as our research confirms, retailers will buy more of the products that they are educated on.
In summary, a content and commerce approach to your B2B provides:
A singular destination for all users to shop in
Managed data providing a single source of truth
Visibility into performance during the season
Easy delivery of content to keep retailers educated
By: Jon Faber
Chief Executive Officer
Jon has specialized in pushing the Wholesale B2B landscape forward for the past 8 years by championing feature innovation and generating high volume, high value content for forward thinking footwear and apparel brands.
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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 team and support your retail channel.