A fully functional e-commerce website is something that will benefit the majority of wholesalers, providing a new route to market and opening up new selling opportunities and cost savings.
However most businesses are understandably cautious when it comes to investing in new technology and when it comes to something as important as their e-commerce strategy they are correct to carefully evaluate the investment and consider the potential impact that it may have on their organisation and its customers.
So how can a wholesaler calculate how much benefit they are likely to have by investing in e-commerce?
Using a simple business tool such as ‘The Four Ps of Marketing’ is a great way of examining the impact that e-commerce will have on each variable within a business.
The 4 Ps of Marketing and e-commerce
Product: It’s well known that benefits sell products and selling on a website gives you significantly more opportunity to show them to your customers. A website with the ability to include key information such as product images, detailed descriptions as well more subtle benefits such as buying advice and recommendations is vital to take advantage of this selling opportunity.
With stricter rules being introduced around the display of nutritional data on food packaging, product information is going to become more important to your customers and if you can give them an easier way to source you will have a significant advantage over your competitors.
Promotion: Good promotions drive revenue and online provides the perfect environment for offer customer deals and offers that they will engage with, which is why the big online retailers have been utilising it for many years. With a range of promotional selling mechanics available such as Link Selling – ‘you bought the gin why not buy the tonic’ or Recommended Selling – ‘other customers also purchased…’ to more standard BOGOF and loyalty discounts, using online promotions is proven to increase engagement and therefore sales.
The other big bonus about online selling is that you can communicate all of your promotions rather than just a few select lines, plus by providing your customers with relevant prompts and reminders at checkout based on what they have purchased, you will ensure they never miss out.
Place: The website becomes your new physical location and your customers will expect the same level of service online as they would get in store (or even better!) Just as in store they will want a well-designed, easy to navigate website that provides quick and friendly service in a secure environment. The big advantage over a physical store or telephone ordering is that your customer can order at their own convenience any time of day, without you having to keep your business open 24/7!
Price (cost): Online provides a cheaper way for wholesalers to sell than a physical store or telephone ordering. A fully integrated website with no re-keying required gives sales staff more time to manage their accounts effectively and also reduces the likelihood of errors. Sending invoices and other marketing material electronically also significantly reduces the printing and postage costs and your customers will find it more convenient too.
Interactive ROI calculator
iTradeNetwork which offers a cloud based e-commerce platform specifically designed for foodservice and on-trade drink wholesalers called ‘Storefronts’. Having worked with many of the leading players in the market including Bidvest 3663, Matthew Clark and Molson Coors we know how to build e-commerce sites which help businesses achieve the most from trading online. Based on case study evidence from other suppliers and wholesalers, iTradeNetwork have created an interactive ROI calculator which helps businesses use their own business data to calculate the benefits and savings of using e-commerce.
Use the ROI calculator at www.sellingjustgoteasier.com