Maybe you’re an ecommerce go-getter. You don’t just seize opportunities, you create them. But after you’ve optimized, automated and A/B tested everything you can think of, you may find yourself wondering if there are other ways to grow your revenue — without overburdening your team. Many merchants who have made their name in B2C online retail are recognizing there’s a second world of opportunity within their grasp. The secret? Expanding to B2B sales.
The B2B opportunity is real. It’s a market Forrester expects to be twice the size of the B2C market by 2020. Better still, with only a fraction of B2B sales currently taking place online, there’s a unique opportunity for merchants to carve their niche before the competition gets intense.
So what’s stopping you? One common reason brands hesitate to expand to B2B is the scaling issue. You might fear adding more workload to your already-strapped warehouse team — especially considering the high-volume orders B2B purchasers place.
Incorporating a Warehouse Management System (WMS) can make it much easier to expand to B2B sales without missing a beat.
There are a few key benefits of using a WMS.
Just-in-time, done right – It makes just-in-time inventory management much easier by improving trend data collation and analysis. It also streamlines communication and troubleshooting with customers and suppliers if a piece of inventory is delayed.
Labor optimization – A WMS will also help you optimize your warehouse labor by allowing you to test which picking method works best for your team: wave, discrete, zone or batch. Plus, it gives you simplified processes and procedures that makes the learning curve much shallower for new hires.
Floor optimization – Not only that, it can help you optimize your space by showing you which fast-moving items should be placed in easy access points and integrating with IoT technology, such as smart scales, to make warehouse management more automated.
Transparency and traceability – And it gives each user an individual login so you can trace inefficiencies that develop — if shipment delays are consistently traced back to a certain user, you can retrain that individual or work with them to figure out the issue.
If you’re already running a thriving B2C ecommerce operation and are considering adding B2B, having a good WMS is really a requirement. There are a few reasons why.
**Efficiency at scale is key.**Think about it. When you’re doubling or quadrupling your output in a short time, efficiency becomes exponentially more important. The idea is to grow your output without having to grow your staff at the same rate so you can start enjoying higher margins.
B2B buyers expect reporting and communication. Having a WMS gives you a professional leg up that B2B buyers will appreciate. While the average consumer doesn’t care whether you can consistently deliver products in mass, B2B buyers need to know they can count on your shipments. Having a WMS in place makes reporting and deep insights a click away.
**Omnichannel sales demand automation and organization.**All of this automation and insight only becomes more important the more channels you’re selling on. Dealing with returns, refunds and reorders becomes much easier when everything is tracked and managed by a WMS.
When you’re ready to get started, you don’t have to look far. Brightpearl recently launched Warewolf, our warehouse management solution to help customers streamline order processing, reduce human effort and error, get accurate inventory counts across locations, all while fully integrating with your back office.
Expanding to the B2B market is a bold move for any B2C retailer, but it’s one that will pay off handsomely if done right. Recognize the importance that automation, optimization and reporting capabilities will play in your expansion to the high-volume scale of the biz world.
Then, do your research to put the right integrated tools in place — the better the software and platforms supporting your move, the better your footing will be. With the right systems and strategies in place — combined with the ecommerce expertise you’ve already cultivated — your success in B2B sales should be both rapid and sustainable.
Brightpearl is an omnichannel retail management platform streamlining inventory management, order control and fulfilment, contact relationship management and accounting - all under one roof, delivering automation, lowering costs, and returning superior results.