eCommerce Tips

How An Online Sales Portal Can Help You Grow Wholesale Sales in 2020

By Josh O'Connell on January, 22 2020

If your company sells to distributors, retailers or other businesses, you probably have encountered your share of orders taken via phone, email or in person. However, B2B and wholesale business has been slowly and steadily making its way online - the efficiencies and cost savings are hard to ignore, but there’s a variety of reasons that businesses are benefiting from the transition.

If you haven’t made the switch yet, or are conducting the bulk of your sales outside of an online solution, here’s the top reasons to consider leveraging an online sales portal for your business’ continued growth and success in 2020:

  1. Make Purchases Easier for All Parties
  2. Handle Complicated Workflows Online
  3. Better Analyze Data Patterns
  4. Improve Data Portability to Other Systems

 

Make Purchases Easier for All Parties

When you’re dealing with orders coming from a variety of sources, such as phone, email, trade shows, online, and so forth, being able to centralize all the orders in one place can mean a much more efficient workflow and management of your customers’ data. 

Today’s tools can empower salespeople, customer service representatives, and customers alike to be able to use the same tools to capture and process orders:

  • Salespeople can leverage mobile apps, web applications and tablet/mobile-oriented tools to be able to capture orders on the go, whether at a trade show, traveling or back in the office. Regardless of the source of the order being captured, they all flow into the same system, meaning reviewing a customer’s order history and status becomes easy.

  • Customer service representatives can use a simple back-end link to the same system to be able to place orders and review order status and history on behalf of customers who call in to place an order.

  • Customers themselves can place orders through a front-end connection to that same ordering system. They can also self-service their accounts, from updating their information and payment options to seeing their order history and status online.

By pulling everyone into one place, it can be easier for all parties to see when it's time to place orders, get orders placed faster, and optimize those orders for best results.

 

Handle Complicated Workflows Online

Order portals offer more comprehensive ordering capabilities than a simple eCommerce website. This can be important when you have, for example, a complicated product that sometimes requires education or handholding prior to purchase, or a broad catalog of parts that link to various pieces of equipment.

Wholesale and B2B orders have a variety of different formats that a portal can satisfy:

  • Sales Quotes that allow a salesperson to send over a draft over to a customer for approval, based on buying history or conversations with a customer. Customers can approve quotes and instantly convert them into an order, or can edit the quote based on their requirements.

  • Order Approval Workflows offer businesses with multiple parties involved in an order to establish an approval step, where one person in an organization can set up an order and a company administrator can approve orders. This can also be done with quotes, prior to being converted to an order, on some order capture systems.

Both use cases allow for more flexibility than a simple workflow of signing on to a site and placing orders.

 

Better Analyze Data Patterns

Many customers order in patterns. Perhaps their business is cyclical, or their consumption of your products is semi-predictable. When orders are concentrated into an online sales portal, you can see these patterns much more readily and predict orders with greater accuracy.

Some order portals have data analysis tools that can help you identify customer patterns, see what customers are similar to predict sales opportunities, and more. When provided, they can offer businesses another way to empower their salespeople to know which existing accounts may be due for a check-in.

Data analysis is as strong as the source of the data it can work with, so aggregating orders in one place can make it easier to do that analysis since you have a more complete picture.

 

Improve Data Portability to Other Systems

Finally, if you have your orders centralized in an online sales portal, you can easily then merge that data with other systems that need it such as a CRM or ERP system, that can look at your business more broadly or serves as your single source of truth for all your data.

An order portal system could also link to marketing platforms that can help keep your customers engaged and purchasing on a predictable cycle, such as email marketing platforms.

 

See How Zoey Can Fulfill Your Order Portal Requirements

Hundreds of customers leverage Zoey’s order capture and management tools daily to run their wholesale and B2B operations. Learn how you can benefit with a short demo of our capabilities. Click the button below to request your demo:

Request a demo

 

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