The Unlikely Partnership Between Retail and E-Commerce
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In a traditional business model, a business focuses on one role within the distribution chain and learns to do that part really, really well. But with technology being in everyone’s pockets and at everyone’s fingertips, even businesses who have typically only been in wholesale can engage with (and sell to) the end customers.
The Wholesaler’s Controversy (Alternatively…Friend or Foe: Wholesaler’s E-commerce)
While most business owners recognize the huge potential of investing in their website, there’s a level of reluctance in how that investment could affect their retailers. Wholesalers struggle to find the balance of supporting their sales partners while growing their own sales channels, and worry they must trade one for another. But with careful planning and proper resource allocation, a successful B2C website can be a great thing for everyone involved in the business (even the customers!)
Why Websites Matter
We all know that high-quality websites are becoming a necessary part of every business. A bad website (or no website at all) can lead to a lower level of product understanding, and even mistrust of your business (I mean really, do you honestly want to do business with someone who doesn’t have a website?). On the flip side, a well-designed and highly-functional site demonstrates the value of your product, leaves a good impression of your brand, opens up a new distribution channel, and allows for better customer engagement. While the upfront investment may seem daunting, the ROI of a good website can be staggering.
Opportunity #1: Research and Targeting
When a wholesaler invests in their own website, they get an inside look into the existing customer base, but also have a chance to discover new ones. They are able to explore new prospects through the use of display, video, social campaigns, and so much more. This gives the wholesaler more engaging and compelling material to share directly with customers, and also pass on to their retailers. Through their own research and targeting, the wholesaler will have additional research and trends to share with their sales partners. All of these extra resources and information will have a direct result on the ranking of the business, as well as all businesses that provide their product.
For example, let’s say a healthy food company runs a display campaign to raise product awareness among expectant moms. This marketing effort allows them to promote their brand to a whole new channel for a relatively low Cost Per Impression (or CPM). Maybe the expectant mother will choose to purchase through the wholesaler’s site, or maybe will wait to get it at her local grocery market. However, one thing is clear: her exposure to the brand, then research will benefit the ranking of both businesses, and ultimately convert her to a lifelong customer.
Opportunity #2: Provide Support for Your Retailers
We’ve talked a lot about the ways a wholesaler’s website can indirectly benefit their retailers, but there are some quick and easy ways to directly support them as well. First, consider adding a store locator to your site, so if a person is hesitant to buy online they can explore what is near them. This also gives them an opportunity to explore other things on the shelf, replenish a product, or otherwise increase the price per sale.
Second, a wholesaler can make widespread announcements through email marketing when new products or seasonal products come out, which support the marketing efforts of the individual retailers. By sharing these marketing expenses, both businesses increase their exposure and the overall exposure of the product.
Finally, keep in mind how many SEO opportunities there are when several businesses work together. Your site can provide inbound and outbound links to your retailers, which will directly affect both rankings in search engines. When two high-quality, reputable sites backlink things like recipes, product demos, or purchase locations, Google determines they are providing very helpful information and will surface them at the top of search results.
Opportunity #3: A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats
A growing business will continue to receive additional marketing dollars, which can be used to help promote the overall brand. That will increase not only the success of the wholesaler’s website, but also drive traffic and awareness to their retail partners!
While it may seem like a wholesaler investing in their own B2C channels could compete with their regular retailers, the numbers have spoken loud and clear – everyone wins when they work together. If your business is exploring whether B2C sales may be right for you, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.