Fashion brands small and large have traditionally sold wholesale via face-to-face interactions – at trade shows or showrooms or the offices of the big retail stores.
The retail landscape has changed drastically over the last 10 years, to the extent that even the smallest boutique cannot survive without an eCommerce store. The shift from brick-n-mortar started gradually but soon became an avalanche that swamped the entire fashion space where most brands are either click-n-mortar or sell exclusively online.
A similar shift is expected in the wholesale world. According to Frost & Sullivan, global B2B eCommerce revenues will reach USD 6.7 trillion by 2020 and account for 27% of the total.
In comparison, worldwide retail or B2C eCommerce revenues are only projected to reach USD 4.1 trillion. These numbers show that overall B2B eCommerce revenues will be 63% higher than B2C eCommerce revenues.
If you haven’t already established your own eCommerce store, you should consider doing so with a high degree of urgency. As you have seen with the retail side, the shift to eCommerce even on the wholesale side will become a sudden avalanche and you do not want to be caught unprepared or lagging behind your competition.
When you establish a wholesale eCommerce store, you are not really abandoning your traditional selling approaches. If you have a sales team that is knocking on doors, you will continue to do that. If you present at tradeshows, you will continue to do that. Retailers sell online as well as in-store and wholesaling will be the same without the in-store experience. You may continue to acquire most of your customers via traditional methods but engage and service them online.
Five Advantages of B2B Wholesaling
- Reduction of friction in the buying process
With order sheets and phone calls, there are so many hurdles along the way to close a sale. The availability of people alone can delay actual purchases. Giving your buyer 24×7 access to your store, even from mobile devices, can speed things up. You can enhance their buying experience by customizing the product catalog and pricing specific to the buyer along with highlighting their favorite products.
- Sell more to current customers
Average order values tend to be higher online than in-person. There can be upsells on the site with such things as you see on Amazon – “You may also like …” or “Commonly purchased together”. Apart from the site, you will also be able to include these types of upsells on automated emails such as order confirmations, invoices, and shipment notifications. These often result in incremental sales from those same buyers.
- Reach New Territories
With an online store, your reach becomes global. You can now be sold in regions beyond where your sales team operates. With automatic search engine optimization, potential customers from around the world can be reaching you themselves.
- Empower your customers/buyers
Provide your customers with the ability to place orders at any time of the day even from their phones or tablets. Give your customers easy access to information such as order status, shipping status, payments due, etc. any time without having to reach you.
You may not realize how important this is to your customers. This convenience alone and not having to wait around for a response from you or your sales or customer service people can be a significant competitive advantage.
- Real-time Inventory
For seasonal products, when you want to sell your remaining available-to-sell (ATS) inventory, you are more likely to sell these closeout products online. If your buyers can see exactly what is available and can place orders only up to those levels? It also gives the buyer an opportunity to pre-order what is not yet available.
This can be a huge benefit for any brand that produces a higher volume than its confirmed orders prior to production.
I would like to thank Uphance for their insights and intelligence in their article “Do Fashion Brands need a B2B eCommerce store.”
The company Immediate Apparel (IA) is a B2B distributor that offers exclusive top quality wholesale women’s apparel internationally at affordable prices. IA is all about “trustworthy, affordable, and elegant” fashions. Immediate Apparel represents over 50 well-known apparel brands (Anne Klein, Betsey Johnson, Cachet, Laundry by Shelli Segal, Nine West, and Tahari) to name a few.
They are located in downtown Los Angeles in the fashion district and have over 40 years of experience in the industry. IA provides a wide selection of products from eveningwear to casual and sportswear. Their customer care is beyond reproach, with a quick response to order inquiries and effortless payment options.