B2B Ecommerce

Wholesale Ecommerce Explained: 1 Site, 3X Sales with Automation and Personalization for B2B Online Wholesalers

Tracey Wallace / 9 min read

It’s hard not to start any article about B2B or wholesale ecommerce without dropping the market size bomb:

Global B2B online sales surpassed $7.6 trillion in 2017.

In the U.S. alone, B2B and wholesale ecommerce will top $1.1 trillion by 2021.

To give that a bit of perspective, global B2C sales topped $2.1 trillion in 2017. In the U.S., B2C ecommerce accounted for $660 billion in 2017.

That’s a 262% difference between B2B and B2C revenue globally, and a 68% difference in the U.S.

For B2C retailers, or anyone selling items directly to consumers rather than businesses, this data should give you pause.

Wholesale ecommerce is already a lucrative channel for plenty of B2C businesses.

In fact, you might already sell B2B and through a wholesale channel if you sell to:

  • Boutiques and brick-and-mortars that are not your own.
  • Partner or reseller websites.
  • Schools and universities.
  • Coaches and organizations.
  • Tradeshows and conferences.

The trouble isn’t in understanding that you need to do it. The trouble is in its scalability.

But not today.

Today, you’ve landed in the right place. I’ll walk you through exactly how to set up an automated, personalized wholesale experience for your wholesale buyers.

We’ll cover how to:

  • Edit your product pages to begin accepting orders from brands like Disney, Nordstrom and more.
  • Launch landing pages to attract wholesale buyers without launching a new site.
  • Build personalized order portals for high profile customers.
  • Rinse, repeat and earn more sales from all customer types.

First, let’s start with the basics.

How B2B and Wholesale Ecommerce Buyers Shop

Let’s level set:

  • Your wholesale buyers do not fax.
  • Your wholesale buyers do not want to work off of spreadsheets.
  • Your wholesale buyers shouldn’t force you to run an entire segment of your business separate from your website.

Today’s wholesale buyers are the same folks who buy online for their own personal items.

  • They are used to shopping on Amazon.
  • They may have even shopped on your site for an individual product once (and is how they found you to begin with).
  • They search Google for new ideas and products.
  • They are just like any average B2C shopper.

That last point is especially important because it means you need to create a B2C-like experience for your wholesale buyer.

Let’s look at the stats.

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Wholesale Ecommerce Buyers Are Like You

  • 89% of B2B buyers use the internet to find products.
  • 73% of B2B buyers use Google to find products.
  • 57% of B2B buying decisions are made prior to talking to anyone at the product company.
  • 76% of B2B buyers say site design is the most important factor to a buying decision.
  • 5% of B2B buyers are influenced by social.

Wholesale Buyers Are Also Unique

  • 70% of B2B buying decisions include at least two decision makers.
  • 50% of B2B buyers say personalization is key for companies they want to work with.
  • B2B buyers have a 234% higher AOV than B2C buyers ($491 vs. $147).
  • 10% is the average B2B buyer conversion rate, compared to 3% for B2C.

As we look at how to build your wholesale ecommerce landing pages to attract these customers, we’ll use these numbers to drive our decisions.

Let’s get started.

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Examples of Wholesale Ecommerce Landing Pages (No Extra Site Required)

You don’t want to have two separate websites for your B2C and B2B/wholesale ecommerce operations.

Why?

Because you don’t want to split your traffic, interactions or engagement. All of that is great for SEO, which means a high-impact wholesale ecommerce channel can also increase your organic traffic to your B2C site.

Two birds – one stone.

You also don’t want to create a logistical headache for yourself. You need a single source of truth. Let that be your website and the BigCommerce platform.

If you need something more complex, you’ll likely need to graduate to an ERP, PIM or OMS. That’s fine – but you still want both B2C and wholesale channels on the same site.

You still need to market to these segments differently. To do that, you’ll create a wholesale ecommerce channel landing page and then customize your site experience for those customers once they log in.

Let’s look at examples of how a few wholesale brands are doing this.

1. FLOS.

Flos is a B2C and wholesale furniture seller. Their ungated (i.e., not logged in) site caters to their B2C segment.

They require a login to gain access to their wholesale pricing and unique offerings. Here is their landing page.

What FLOS’s wholesale ecommerce landing page gets right:
  • Optimized landing page with additional content to drive organic ranking: Remember, 89% of B2B buyers use the internet when looking for new products and 73% of buyers use Google to research specifically.
  • Highly designed landing page experience that tells a story: This is important because 76% of B2B buyers say a website’s design is the most important factor when they’re making a buying decision.
  • Calling out custom work and pricing: Remember, 50% of B2B buyers say personalization is a key feature for suppliers they want to work with.

2. Tatine.

Tatine sells candles through its owned channels as well as through a distributed wholesale ecommerce network.

You probably even own one of these candles. I know I do.

Let’s look at their wholesale ecommerce landing page.

What TATINE’s wholesale ecommerce landing page gets right:
  • Unique landing page on their main URL to drive organic ranking: Remember, 89% of B2B buyers use the internet when looking for new products and 73% of buyers use Google to research specifically. You do not need a separate site.
  • Highly designed landing page that mimics the brand’s aesthetic and branding: This is important because 76% of B2B buyers say a website’s design is the most important factor when they’re making a buying decision.
  • Calling out personalized experience at login for already existing wholesale buyers: Remember, 50% of B2B buyers say personalization is a key feature for suppliers they want to work with.

3. Mountain Crest Gardens.

Mountain Crest Gardens is the fastest growing online succulent seller in California. In the 1990s, they sold strictly B2B.

Today, they sell to both B2C and wholesale buyers.

Their wholesale side of the business runs on the exact same site and product pages as their B2C side.

They do not have a specific wholesale landing page. Instead, they have a wholesale section of their site, as well as bulk pricing call outs.

Let’s take a look.

Entire category for wholesale. 

Bulk pricing callouts on product page. 

What Mountain Crest Gardens’s wholesale ecommerce strategy gets right:
  • Unique category page on their main URL to drive organic ranking: Remember, 89% of B2B buyers use the internet when looking for new products and 73% of buyers use Google to research specifically. You do not need a separate site.
  • Highly designed website that mimics the brand’s aesthetic and branding: This is important because 76% of B2B buyers say a website’s design is the most important factor when they’re making a buying decision.
  • Calling out personalized prices for bulk orders on product pages: Remember, 50% of B2B buyers say personalization is a key feature for suppliers they want to work with.
  • Allows for immediate wholesale buyer checkout––no human touch needed: 57% of B2B buying decisions are done prior to engaging with anyone at that brand (i.e., these people prefer to use tools, not people).
  • Social proof is all over the place! 75% of B2B buyers are influenced by social.

4. GTech Fitness.

GTech fitness sells primarily to a B2C audience, but is actively expanding their wholesale ecommerce strategy and reach.

You’ll see them below promoting their wholesale ecommerce options on their homepage. They also have a dedicated quoting page and purchase order page for the various checkout needs of wholesale buyers.

Homepage call outs to wholesale options.

Quoting landing page.

Purchase order landing page. 

What GTech’s wholesale ecommerce strategy gets right:
  • Unique landing pages on their main URL to drive organic ranking for wholesale payment method keywords: Remember, 89% of B2B buyers use the internet when looking for new products and 73% of buyers use Google to research specifically. You do not need a separate site.
  • Calling out personalized payment options for wholesale buyers: Remember, 50% of B2B buyers say personalization is a key feature for suppliers they want to work with.

How to Build Your Own Wholesale Ecommerce Landing Page

Now, let’s get to building something like the above examples for your site.

You’ll want to make sure your page does a few things:

  • Ranks for SEO and captures sign ups.
  • Advertises bulk pricing.
  • Allows for a quoting payment option.

Let’s go through how to set it up.

1. Launch a wholesale ecommerce landing page.

To launch a landing page similar to Tatine or FLOS, use a webpage built into your ecommerce platform or your CMS.

Edit that webpage to optimize it for search, UX and email capture.

You can customize the design of your site using the WYSIWYG editor. Or, if you don’t have developer skills, you can use a tool like ShoGun.

On my own BigCommerce site, I quickly launched a wholesale channel using ShoGun design options.

Once a wholesale account is signed up, you’ll drop them into a wholesale ecommerce customer group or something custom just for them.

Within the customer group, you can build out the specific site experience for the group.

2. Launch a wholesale ecommerce category and product page bulk pricing.

If you want to build out a separate category page rather than a wholesale ecommerce landing page like Mountain Crest Gardens, that’s great.

Here’s how to do it:

Mountain Crest Gardens also has bulk pricing for their wholesale products.

To set that up, simply edit your bulk pricing per product in each product option (below).

Then, enable that product’s bulk discounts option.

3. Get your wholesale pricing right.

Pricing is the bread and butter of a profitable wholesale strategy.

“If you are pricing your items properly, wholesale is truly profitable.

There are tools to help streamline the work to preserve that profit margin, like minimum item quantities and order times, properly gauged lead times on production, etc.

We’re trying to find and utilize as many of these tools as we can!

A wholesale business can not only grow brand awareness (sometimes like wildfire) but it is also a foundation upon which you can build amazing customer relationships with stores that will be a part of the landscape of your business for a long time.

– Jessica Tata, Founder, Son of a Sailor

Your products should have four different prices:

  • Cost price: A cost price is how much the product costs you to make.
  • Retail price: Retail price is how much you are selling it for. Your margin equals retail price – cost price
  • Sale price: This is what you will discount products to – only enough so that you still make your margin.
  • Wholesale price: Wholesale price can be the same as your sale price, but typically it is HALF of your retail price. You still need to make margin on this product – otherwise a wholesale sales channel won’t make sense or make you ANY money.

As you expand your wholesale ecommerce operations, you’ll want to use a price list to manage various prices.

BigCommerce price lists sync with your product and SKU prices. You will not have to re-enter pricing information.

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4. Add a quoting option to your product pages.

Wholesale ecommerce buyers are deal-seekers.

They will often want to negotiate individual product price points based on bulk order quantity.

Here’s how the quoting tool works.

“This simple addition made a tremendous impact on our website — I’d expect a revenue drop of 40% if we turned it off,” says John McCann, CEO of Spectrum Audio.

To look at an example from earlier, GTech Fitness has this on their product pages.

“Wow, this is exactly what my business needed.

We do a lot of quotes and they can be time consuming. I was using another quote system where I constantly had to import updates to products, manually populate fields, etc.

A quote that would normally take me 15-20 minutes can be done in a matter of minutes or even seconds with Quote Ninja, once everything is set up. This has freed up a lot of time and is a literal Life Saver.”

Wholesale Ecommerce Checklist: Automation + Personalization

Do you want to deliver differentiated pricing to your most valuable customers with SKU-level granularity, retaining them by meeting customer expectations for special features like negotiated pricing?

Then you need to:

  • Have greater control over your business and easily be able to manage lists of pricing at the SKU/variant level for your B2B customers
  • Retain your best customers with better deals and meet customer expectations by delivering negotiated pricing down to the variant level
  • Connect with the tools you already use as a business, like APIs, ERPs, or your single source of truth ecommerce platform.
  • Operate more efficiently and quickly modify pricing across products and price lists with bulk editing capability

Great – now, how do you make sure that the platform or tool you use to do this has all of this included?

Here’s what you need to run through to see if your site can handle wholesale ecommerce automation, personalization and scale.

1. Allow customers to quickly purchase, track, and reorder.

2. Create custom price catalogs for individual customers or groups.

3. Enable fixed-price lists, percentage off, or volume-based discounts.

Bulk discounts on a wholesale customer group level.

Bulk discounts on a wholesale product level.

Bulk discounts on a wholesale price list level.

4. Set minimum and maximum per product.

5. Allow for multi-level purchase approvals + user authority levels.

6. Sync inventory, orders, and customers automatically with your existing admin.

This step isn’t absolutely necessary. You only need high API call volumes for real-time syncing if you are already using another source of truth.

7. Integrate the systems your business depends on: 3PL, OMS, ERP, and CRM.

“BigCommerce’s restful API framework provided us with myriad integration opportunities. We fully integrated our back office with BigCommerce — everything from the item master file & attributes to pricing, orders and customer records are now completely integrated.

Our 3rd party label manufacturer was able to integrate their tool and order feed through the API as well. We partnered with several of BigCommere’s 3rd party marketplace partners, too.”

Our order conversion rate is up 80 bps and we’ve seen a dramatic (26.5X) increase in lead generation.

– Chris Hiller, General Manager, Freund Container.

8. Provide a B2C site experience for a B2B customer (login required).

Executive Summary

All right, if you’ve made it all the way down here, you should know how to:

  • Launch a landing page for your B2B segment to create an account.
  • Showcase bulk pricing on your product pages to increase interest.
  • Allow for quoting technology or recurring orders to drive new purchase paths.
  • Set up the technology on the backend for scale and automation.

You should also have a checklist you can take to platform providers to ensure you’ll be able to:

  • Allow customers to quickly purchase, track, and reorder.
  • Create custom price catalogs for individual customers or groups.
  • Enable fixed-price lists, percentage off, or volume-based discounts.
  • Set minimum and maximum per product.
  • Allow for multi-level purchase approvals + user authority levels.
  • Sync inventory, orders, and customers automatically with your existing admin.
  • Integrate the systems your business depends on: 3PL, OMS, ERP, and CRM.
  • Provide a B2C site experience for a B2B customer (login required).

You’re ready to launch your wholesale ecommerce channel.

Let us know how the experience goes.

Want more insights like this?

We’re on a mission to provide businesses like yours marketing and sales tips, tricks and industry leading knowledge to build the next house-hold name brand. Don’t miss a post. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

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