Electronic commerce has successfully brought upon a visible disruption to the world as we know it. Although, B2B companies were a late starter when it came to adapting to the trends, but that’s not the case anymore. They are no longer operating using conventional means.
Do you know what brought about this shift?
It’s because of mobile devices. It’s the age of a mobile-first strategy in B2B marketplaces. With increasing mobile usage, B2B companies have already been leveraging mobile and rising in the domain of M-commerce.
- 94% of B2B buyers research products online before they decide to purchase anything.
- 73% of buyers search for product pricing information online.
- 91% of B2B buyer conducted searches on a mobile device.
You aware of the millennial lifestyle, right? Don’t worry, the details are not important, but one major aspect of their lifestyle. They just can’t get enough of the internet. Don’t you agree? Well, this habit of theirs plays an important role in the rise of new trends in the market. B2B demographic is relatively younger than it used to be. The online experience is of increasing importance now. There is a growing expectation of business to business purchases being supported online.
Not only that, B2B ecommerce looks very promising.
You see it, right? The element of human interaction will be minimal while making purchases. People now prefer doing everything online, be it a desktop or a mobile device. Clearly, there is an opportunity for wholesalers to provide a strong digital experience for their clients. Ecommerce and the digital economy are moulding the world and you can’t deny it.
Businesses adopting digital transformation are achieving 9% higher revenue creation, 26% greater impact on profitability, and 12% more market valuation. The results are quite visible.
Where to Start?
Doesn’t this outlook of business to business growth inspire you to take your Wholesale Business online? Are you planning to explore new markets by taking your wholesale operation online like everyone else? Wondering how to begin the process?
If you are thinking off the top of your head, there are 2 ways of doing it.
- Host your own online infrastructure in house.
- Subscribe to a suitable ecommerce service provider that can successfully cater to your B2B needs.
Before you go down either of these paths, just know a few things.
If you’re hosting your ecommerce infrastructure inhouse…..
- Setting up the entire infrastructure can take a lot of time.
- You might not have the necessary expertise to do so, hence you need to talk to experts and consult them.
- Your business will be a Security Risk unless you follow compliances like PCI-DSS.
- Maintaining a crew for the infrastructure will cost extra money to run.
But if you go for a subscription from a service provider….
- Ecommerce platforms follow standard security compliances making your data secure.
- These providers have the right kind of expertise and they take care of almost all the necessary aspects.
- You can focus on your business. You don’t even have to worry about taking care of backend operations.
- Access to a variety of Payment Methods lets you expand your business’s geographical scope.
Choosing a service provider seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? You can do whatever you think would be comfortable for you, but outsourcing everything seems like less work on your plate.
Some Viable Options
Talking about ecommerce platforms, you can consider two platforms that have been in the market for a while. These are;
- Shopify Plus
StoreHippo offers turnkey, customizable, inbuilt solutions for enterprise business. Shopify Plus is the premium offering by Shopify that uses multiple apps to offer similar services.
If you’re a business upgrading your existing website or building it from scratch, be sure to check these platforms out. They both are very well equipped to support the necessary B2B capabilities such as:
- Segmentation with profiles and customer groups
- Specific pricing and catalogue for customers
- Bulk discounts and volume purchase
- Restricted access
- Minimum quantity for an order
- Tax dispensation status
- Wholesale bulk order form
- Ability to reorder previously purchased products
- Pliable payments options
So here’s a brief of both platforms to help you get an idea of how these platform providers can help your B2B operation.
StoreHippo is a new generation SaaS-based ecommerce platform. It was established in the year 2014 and over the years it has established a steady presence. Currently they are active across diverse industries and geographies in Indian as well as international markets which includes the United Kingdom, the Middle East, and Australia.
It is built on the latest mobile-first technology stack and its DIY platform allows business owners to roll out solutions for diverse B2B and B2C business models. This platform is natively mobile-ready, the stores built on the platform are infinitely scalable and fully customizable.
StoreHippo looked beyond just storefront building tools and offered a flexible platform that can be fully customized to accommodate the needs of enterprise business models. To accomplish the same, they built their platform grounds up using the latest MEAN stack making StoreHippo an inherently mobile-first, highly flexible and scalable platform. They also incorporated several features like integrated logistics, payment gateways, analytics and marketing tools, mobile apps and more. Their multi-seller and multi-stores features are designed for big B2B players that have a broader presence across different verticals and physical locations.
- They provide versatile Mobile Stores with the incorporation of Progressive Web Apps (PWA). No need to install any apps to manage your storefront and admin panel.
- StoreHippo is built on the latest and fastest technology stack (MongoDB, Express, AngularJS & NodeJS) which makes your site blazing fast and pristine in performance. It gives you a highly scalable platform.
- With StoreHippo, you don’t have to hire a developer to make a mobile app for your storefront. They have an integrated option where you can build iOS and Android apps yourself from your admin panel.
- With their ‘Multi-Seller’ and ‘Multi-Store’ feature, you can run a huge marketplace yourself. You can add sellers to your ecommerce platform and monetize them.
- If you want to keep track and trail of your business, they provide detailed audit logs and reports on various operations.
- With ShipKaro, they provide integrated logistics to their customers without worrying about the logistics and extra charges.
- With options of multiple payment gateways that can be integrated, you can take your online store global.
- Features like ‘Multi-Currency’ and ‘Multilingual’, you can attract a global audience with dynamic currency and language adjustments.
- With extensive B2B features and highly customizable platform, they are worth checking out.
- It’s a secure platform giving Free SSL protection with 99.99% uptime. The platform is vertically and horizontally scalable.
- Their support is only 24/6 that too for selected plans.
- Although they have a collection of themes for free, adding some more at premium price would not hurt clients who are ready to pay more for a diverse collection.
- Multi-Seller feature is provided at higher plans. Lower priced plans don’t offer this feature.
Shopify had smooth sailing with its regular services for budding entrepreneurs with their ‘Basic Shopify’, ‘Shopify’ and ‘Advanced Shopify’ plans. But then what they were giving was not enough. They started accumulating more clients and clients started getting bigger. So in 2014, they came up with ‘Plus’ to serve enterprises with their large scale business solutions.
They offer enterprise-grade capabilities and many large brands and fast-growing companies use Shopify Plus to boost their business. Shopify offers a highly distributed, multi-tenant platform that processes large scale transactions. If you are looking to reduce IT expenses while running your business, you can check it out. It gives you a non-complex platform to sell your products on all major marketplaces and social networks. It has multi-channel capabilities that can boost customer engagement, improve sales, and increase brand awareness. It works across any channel you choose. The transition to ‘Plus’ can be very easy with their expert team of account managers, 24/7 support agents, and technical designers at your disposal.
- Shopify Plus assures 99.97% uptime for your website to enhance your visitor’s experience.
- It can easily handle thousands of orders per minute. Your sales volume, required bandwidth, and the number of products you can sell become limitless.
- You can sell online, in-store and through any channel you wish. It’s possible to accept payments from Bitcoin, PayPal, and more than 70 other payment gateways.
- You can even sell in multiple regions and in different languages. Plus, they also give you the provision to negotiate credit card rates by accepting payments directly with Shopify Plus.
- They are certified Level 1 PCI DSS compliant and uses continuous risk management and annual on-site compliance.
- It offers responsive designs for any brand and any screen. You can define your layout, branding, and content in any way you like. It works on any screen and any platform.
- With the help of Google’s Enhanced Ecommerce Analytics engine, their advanced reporting and analytics features are very deep. It helps you get a better understanding of your operations.
- It has ready-to-go app integration with several developers to link your sales channels. It’s also possible to use the software’s open APIs to customize your e-commerce presence with your desired multichannel operations.
- They have Shipwire, Webgistix, and Fulfillment by Amazon, already built-in for Shopify Plus users. Their robust API also helps you to create a custom fulfilment app to connect to other solutions you use.
- Shopify offers 24/7 priority support through phone and email support to help you enhance your online store. They also provide you with dedicated account managers.
- Shopify Payments are only available in certain countries and fees for third-party payment gateways become unavoidable.
- No MailChimp integration provided.
- Professional reporting is provided at a higher plan level
- As we already know, to add functionality to Shopify you often need to use apps. The levels of quality and cost vary and are unpredictable. This is because they are constructed and supported by third parties.
- Depending on third party apps completely may cause harm and any big changes will severely affect your business.
- The checkout can be styled with CSS, but additional fields can’t be edited. If you want to add advanced features such as zip code lookup, you can’t do it.
To put it in a nutshell, no platform is totally perfect but they can provide a lot of features you might need to run a smooth business. Most ecommerce platforms do a pretty decent job. Do your research, take your time and definitely contact their support teams to get a deep idea. There are other options also available at similar price points. Still, many people use these platforms.
Look them up, Sign up for their trial versions to make the correct choice.