The interest in shopping over the Internet makes more and more online stores appear on the market. Their growing number, in turn, is accompanied by an increase in demand from wholesalers.
Therefore, it is worth getting interested in B2B sales, that is, trade between companies. If you want to know more about this type of activity, read our detailed guide!
B2B Sales: What is it?
B2B (business to business) sales are trade between companies. Depending on the type of enterprise, there is a producer – distributor or distributor – point of sale. A business relationship can be established:
- At horizontal level: sales between companies from various sectors,
- At the vertical level: sales within an industry.
What it is?
It is a mistake to think that B2B sales are limited to business-to-business transactions only. It is the entire process that includes procurement, order fulfillment, after-sales service and many other business interactions.
One of the key sectors of B2B sales is e-commerce, where online wholesalers from various industries supply online retail stores. Due to the dynamic development of this market, making B2B sales can be a very profitable business idea.
How to set up an online warehouse?
The process of opening an online warehouse is not much different from starting an online store. The main differences result from the scale of operations and include, among others:
- Choosing a B2B platform – it can be, for example, a provider,
- Establishment of cooperation with producers in order to reduce the number of intermediaries,
- Selecting the PKD number for the online warehouse: 46.1,
- Establish cooperation with a courier company,
- logistical processes,
How to manage a warehouse?
Like setting up a warehouse, managing a warehouse is not much different from B2C activity. Instead of targeting individual customers, you only need to target companies. For this, of course, appropriately selected marketing activities must be carried out. You will not be surprised that among them there will be:
- website positioning,
- Participation in industry fairs,
- Activity in specific groups on Facebook,
- Cooperation with store platforms to provide sellers with out-of-the-box integrations.
When you manage to draw the attention of online stores to your warehouse, you will need a well-refined offer that will encourage them to cooperate with you. Above all, sellers appreciate:
- Availability of high quality product photos and descriptions,
- Access to the seasonal assortment and the possibility of reserving it,
- Access to detailed product parameters and EAN numbers (required when selling on Allegro),
- Friendly returns and complaints policy (especially important in dropshipping),
- Allegro Smart support (also in the case of dropshipping).
As you can see, some of the interesting amenity sellers are related to dropshipping. By offering this logistics model in your warehouse, you meet store expectations and increase your chances of high turnover.
When developing B2B sales, you will also end up facing the possibility of international expansion. Entering the foreign market can be a good solution, especially for wholesalers who purchase items that are difficult to obtain from local producers.
If you decide to pursue this direction of company development, please read the applicable tax regulations, waste management policy and regulations pertaining to the products you offer.
Sales platform features
The basic work tool for every online warehouse owner is the B2B sales platform. Your choice will depend on the efficiency of the activities carried out and the satisfaction of your customers. Fortunately, the market offers many different tools of this type, including traditional store software, equipped with an integrated B2B module.
When looking for the perfect platform for you, pay attention to the following features:
- Integration with ERP systems: Enterprise Resource Planning programs are used for comprehensive enterprise management. They ensure control over stock levels, deliveries and pricing policy. As no wholesaler can do without this system, choose a B2B platform that is integrated with it.
- Control over the scope of information: Unlike a regular store, an online warehouse should only provide product data to B2B customers. In the software, you will need a function that allows you to define one of three availability bands: open (visible products and their prices), semi-open (visible products without prices) or closed (products and prices visible only to those logged in).
- Account Authorization: a function thanks to which only people connected and approved by you will have access to your offer. This is a great way to protect your pricing strategy from the competition.
- Discount groups: a tool that allows you to quickly and easily establish various terms of cooperation for many sellers. By creating groups that include the billing amount, among others, you define limits beyond which sellers will be entitled to lower prices.
- Combining B2B and B2C Sales: an interesting solution is the B2B modules integrated into the store's software, which allow wholesale and retail sales to be combined. This solution definitely expands the group of your customers. The function allows, among other things, to display different prices depending on the type of user: gross (for retail customer), net (for B2B customer) and both at the same time.
- Offer export: each seller who starts cooperation with your wholesaler will be interested in receiving your offer in XML or CSV format. Make sure your B2B platform allows you to generate this file. Thanks to this, contractors will be able to efficiently download product data to their stores.
Who manages a warehouse for?
If you like the idea of B2B sales, get a working software and start winning business customers today. The warehouse can be a particularly good solution for people who:
- It can boast of contacts with producers and distributors,
- They have know-how in imports, mainly from Asian countries,
- They run a B2C store and want to expand their business to B2B customers.
In short, opening an online warehouse itself is a simple process that anyone can do. Running it will be a little more difficult, requiring knowledge of the market, current trends and customer needs.
It is definitely an activity on a much larger scale than a regular online store, so it might be a good idea to start your e-commerce adventure with retail sales.