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How To Handle B2B & B2C On One Ecommerce Store

05 May 2016

Classically if your business sells to both retail and wholesale customers you would have gone about creating two separate ecommerce websites. And once your business has grown quite large it still makes sense to have separate sites because we can add individual features to just the retail site without having to give consideration to how your wholesale customers would react to them, for instance.

But while your business is growing nicely, then we can create a single ecommerce store which means one set of costs and one place for maintenance which means that you free up your time to dedicate to other tasks within your business. The trick get getting this blended ecommerce approach right is that it requires the correct amount of pre-planning so that both your B2B and B2C customers benefit from your ecommerce solution and will continue to purchase through your company. It's especially critical to get your approach right for your wholesale customers as sometimes they see a supplier entering the retail space (especially if the company hasn't been involved in retail before) as an attempt to encroach on potential customers that they could have sold to.

Make sure you offer the right functionality to each sector

This is the key to ensure the success of your blended ecommerce site. For instance B2C customers need instant access to your standard retail prices; remember that it can be reassuring for your wholesale customers if they can see that your retail prices are higher in most cases than what they on-sell your products for. Retail customers should also be able to purchase through your ecommerce store without the need to log in to an account and they should be able to create accounts (to remember their details through the checkout and view past orders) without any kind of restriction.

Abandoned cart functionality should be added to follow up on any missed purchase opportunities and retail appropriate functionality (like gift reminder services or address books) can help to make life easier for your retail customers meaning that they are more likely to return to your ecommerce store in the future.

B2B customers on the other hand should have to sign in so that they can have access to the pricing which is appropriate for their account and to receive any pricing discounts or promotions that they are eligible for. The wholesale account creation process needs to be set up in a way that the applicants are screened - after all you don't want to hand your competition your price list!

Re-ordering support is an important feature that needs to be included for your wholesale customers as it's highly likely that they will order from you again in the future and you want to make this process easy and pain-free. We can help you to tailor the right amount of re-ordering support for your customers and are able to provide options from a simple ability to re-order products from a previous invoice, right through to quick order systems including the ability for your customers to create templates that they can use for simple re-ordering at a future date.

One little hiccup to avoid

One of the biggest issues with blended ecommerce is retail customers thinking that they can get a better bargain by signing up for a wholesale account. There is a simple two-prong approach to avoiding this from becoming an issues;

  • On the create an account sign-up page, either have a pop-up which pre-emptivity asks whether the account is for myself or for a business (you can send the 'myself' option to the B2C account creation form and the 'business' option to the B2B one) or simply show the B2C account creation form and have a tiny link 'To create an account for your business click here.' NEVER mention anything about wholesale or discounted pricing, otherwise you are going to tempt those who are looking for a bargain to try it on.
  • Ensure that you have a robust checking process when it comes to your B2B wholesale applications - that should help to catch any who 'slip through the net.'

If you have any questions about how to go about creating a blended ecommerce store, please feel free to contact us; we're happy to chat about what can be achieved for your store.

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