Many wholesale B2B manufacturers and distributors have a product and business model that allows for selling both to consumers and wholesale distributors, and there are many ways to lay out a B2B webstore for companies that operate this way. This blog series focuses on three real companies operating in the B2B space with three very different ways of selling their products online.
Toter is a leading manufacturer of two-wheeled carts for curbside automated waste, recycling, and organics collection by cities, private waste haulers, and recyclers. Their eCommerce webstore looks like any other eCommerce website, complete with a browsable catalog, shopping cart, and checkout functionality.
There’s one significant difference between Toter’s site and a traditional B2B eCommerce site: the separate areas for distributors and consumers under the same domain. Anyone can browse images, see prices, and purchase basic parts; however, there’s a catalog that’s only accessible with a Toter distributor account. This is a partially open eCommerce webstore.
What are the benefits of a partially open B2B eCommerce site?
An eCommerce site that’s available to both consumers and businesses allows Toter to cater to a larger population. They make money off consumers who buy basic items, realize higher profits from wholesalers, and keep a close eye on expensive products. According to Forrester Research, 52% of consumers visit manufacturers’ websites intending to buy, and a third of those prefer to purchase directly from the manufacturer.
Converting Your B2B Website to Sell to Consumers
One way to convert your B2B website to also sell in the B2C space is to bring both distributor and consumer portals under one domain. If you feel your B2B buyers will balk at sharing your products with consumers, consider setting B2C prices higher, offering big-ticket items only to distributors, providing discounts for bulk purchases, and password protecting the distributor section.
To make their partially open website successful, Toter integrated their ERP/back-office data (e.g., customer, order, and item data) with their eCommerce webstore so the two systems automatically share information – product numbers, images, descriptions, customer contact information, pricing, shipping information, etc. – without error-prone manual re-entry.
Sniperdyne’s Nomad has affordable, built-in features that make it easy to manage webstores that sell both B2B and B2C like Toter’s. Are you considering changing your B2B eCommerce site to one that also serves consumers but aren’t sure where to start? Luckily, we can help – please contact us today for more information.