The world of wholesaling is vastly different than the retail industry. Fancy marketing tactics, like creative advertising and a website with all the bells and whistle are usually reserved for retail-oriented brands.
This has left many owners, managers and other influencers in wholesaling industries to focus more on running an efficient business operation for their success, while giving limited consideration to marketing their goods and services.
We’re here to make a case against that line of thinking. While we won’t dismiss the fact that certain marketing elements are better reserved for consumer-facing industries, that doesn’t mean we should neglect opportunities. In fact, the 57% of B2B customers now want access to their account and orders online, meaning that they are starting their searches online as well.
Instead of ignoring marketing, wholesalers should just take a different approach. Even in B2B sales, people still buy from people. And people won’t buy from people they can’t find or can’t easily get the information they need to make an informed decision.
That’s where an effective wholesale B2B web design layout comes into play. This will be the foundation of your business’ online presence and marketing strategy, so we’ll start here!
Why Do You Need a Great Website?
Many wholesale businesses see their website as an “online brochure” that is a nice-to-have but not a need-to-have. Let’s look at a few reasons this way of thinking may be a bit misguided.
Product & Resource Organization
If you’re like most wholesalers, you are working with a large variety of SKUs and inventory management is a large part of running a successful business. Having an effective website can do wonders for your overall organization of all your products and resources.
A well-organized website can easily keep all of your products sorted by various categories, with stock management, pricing discounts, and all sorts of other valuable functionality built into the website itself. Your customers will love being able to easily find what they are looking for, and your internal team will be able to keep track of things too.
Including a search functionality in your website will also enable you and your customers to easily look up various SKUs & product numbers without having to flip through catalogs or make a bunch of phone calls.
Streamlines Your Sales Process
While a website is often thought of as a tool for existing and potential customers, good wholesale B2B web design can also support your sales team. Being easily able to access your most updated digital catalog, see customer order history, and review real-time inventory levels are just a few of the ways a website can not just offer value to your customers but improve your sales performance internally as well.
Additionally, having a website enables you to set up gated pages and products, meaning your team can be prepared to offer password-protected pricing and services, without fear of having everything open and visible to the public.
CRM & ERP Integration
Keeping track of your customers and resources is a full-time job, many times over. The good news a well-designer wholesaler website can integrate with your existing CRM and ERP programs. This means that your website won’t add another disconnected system that manually requires tracking and updating, but will actually reduce data redundancy and keep your business running smoothly.
Being reachable by phone is crucial for any business, but especially wholesalers. However, many don’t have effective systems built out for support outside of normal working hours. Your wholesale B2B website design can and should include both an email support platform as well as a FAQ section. This will enable potential customers to solve their own problems faster as well as be able to reach out to you via email if they prefer. The more options you have available, the more confidence your lead will be that you can deliver on your promises.
Any good website design these days should be fully mobile-responsive. That means your website will look good on any screen size, from a smartphone to a desktop computer. By having a well-designed and organized website, both your internal team and your customers will be able to get the information they need, 24/7.
Wholesale B2B Web Design to Grow Your Business
Hopefully you’re starting to see how a well-designed wholesaler website can streamline your operations and reinforce value with existing customers. But can your website help your company grow by bringing in new business?
Attract New Customers through Online Search
One advantage B2B companies have, especially wholesale companies, is that they are essentially built for maximum search engine visibility. Here’s why:
- Generally less competition compared to retail brands
- Large product and/or service catalog makes it possible to target and rank for a plethora of keywords
- Specific niche searches are usually made with high purchase intent.
It’s pretty obvious why there are less wholesalers in the world than retailers. This means your company generally has an easier climb to the top of the mountain. Assuming your product and category pages are well optimized, ranking is not just easier for your primary search terms, but all your individual products as well. Lastly, somebody searching for a very specific style of wholesale neon fabric is much more likely to take action once they find it than someone searching for basketball shoes.
High Customer Value
To sweeten the pot even more, new leads and/or orders that come in from a strong wholesale B2B website design are usually substantially higher, justifying any website and marketing costs much more quickly than retail marketing campaigns, which often involve years of brand awareness before the scales start to tip towards significant profitability.
So while there may be more search volume for “basketball shoes” than “wholesale neon fabric,” the latter may lead to a 4, 5 or even 6-figure purchase. Even getting a handful of good new leads online each month for your wholesale company can justify an entire year’s worth of marketing spend.
Build Your Email List
Let’s imagine your new website, perfectly built for your ideal customer, convenient for staff, and wonderfully optimized for search engines. Where do you go from here? Well, usually you’ll start seeing a good uptick of new business considering what has already been discussed. But it doesn’t stop there. You can give your leads an opportunity to develop a relationship with your company even if they aren’t ready to buy immediately. How do you do this?
Give ‘em a deal!
First Time Customer Offer
Creating a (non-intrusive) pop-up or chat box on your website that showcases a special deal for new customers in exchange for their email address is the perfect way to start a new relationship. This offer could be for a free sample, a first order discount, or some other “lead magnet” (such as a PDF ebook). The lead enters their email, and they automatically receive their discount coupon or special instructions on how to activate their promotion. After this point, they are “in your tribe,” and nurturing the relationship with a monthly newsletter or other email marketing strategy is cost effective and leads to great results.
Mind Your Analytics
At this point, the fun really starts. Your website should be set up with analytics (we use Google Analytics) and you can start measuring the actual ROI for your website and marketing. Here’s how it works:
- You run your numbers to figure out the average lifetime value (or annual revenue) of a customer to your business.
- Review your website analytics to determine how many website visitors you get, how many sign up for your new customer offer, and then how many actually turn into customers.
- Determine your target “acquisition budget” for getting a new customer.
At that point you can figure out how well your website and marketing is performing. It looks like this:
- Company A’s average customer spends $20,000 per year with them, for a minimum of 5 years ($100,000+ LTV)
- Company A’s (new and improved!) website is now getting 1,000 visitors per month. 50 of them are claiming the offer, and 5 of them are redeeming it and turning into new customers.
- Company A budgets 5% of gross revenue for marketing and advertising.
5 new customers equates to $500,000 of lifetime revenue for company A. 5% of $500,000 is $25,000. So theoretically, Company A could sustainably spend $25,000 per month on their website and online marketing each month and easily justify it assuming these numbers keep working out. Considering most SEO campaigns for wholesale companies would run in the $1,000 to $5,000 / mo range, you can hopefully start to see the opportunity this holds for many wholesalers.
Deploy Other Marketing Strategies
Once you have your new website set up, know your numbers, and have a profitable funnel (website > offer > new customer), then you can start exploring other advertising channels, such as Google Adwords or Facebook Ads, and understand with confidence if you are spending in a sustainable way.
Managing Your Wholesale Website & Marketing Efforts
Even if you are fully on board with us at this point, you may be wondering how to put all of this into motion. Many wholesale companies keep themselves very busy and always have a million things going on.
Others may be busy but are also fearful of getting “tied” to a web design or marketing company forever, and are fearful of losing control and endlessly being at the mercy of their marketing partner.
Before you engage an any website development or marketing efforts, make sure you approach this question beforehand with the agency you are considering. Here at Midas, we offer three different approaches depending on what suits your business best.
You’re busy and need a trustworthy, transparent marketing partner to go full throttle on your behalf. If this option is the most expensive, but it saves you the headspace, management, overhead and everything else that goes with successful outsourcing. When running a campaign like this, we will set budgets and goals at the beginning and execute on your behalf, working in the background while also “owning” the campaign or website process as if we were a part of your internal team.
Semi-Managed websites and/or marketing campaigns are often a good mix for a business that has some bandwidth and expertise in house, but not a lot. Maybe one of your internal staff has a few hours each week to help with marketing and updating the website. In this case (for us), we would assist with some of the more complex or time consuming tasks, but still be able to save you a bit of cash considering what you’re able to fulfill in house on the marketing and web development side of things.
For those that have staff bandwidth or other resources to manage the website and marketing efforts in house, we recommend a complete handoff. The website is built and screenshare tutorials are created so your team knows exactly how to do everything they’ll need to do. As the videos are lasting assets, you can even keep your website and marketing going strong through staff turnover or other transitions. And of course, we’d only be a call or email away if we were the ones working with you!
We hope you have enjoyed this fairly deep dive into wholesale B2B web design and marketing!
While marketing opportunities in this space may be different than the retail world, there is no shortage of ways to win with high customer lifetime values, extensive SEO opportunities and less competition for visibility and market share.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below. If you are ready to learn more about what it would take to revamp your own wholesale company’s website, click here!