Eversince the world has been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, many businesses have closed operations and several have faced huge losses. There are numerous reports and analyses showing how small businesses have suffered during lockdown. But something very few people have shed light on is the other end of the business spectrum; wholesale businesses.
Just like small businesses, wholesale businesses have received a major blow due to the lockdown. Shutting down and downscaling of a large number of small businesses has resulted in a massive number of wholesalers facing loss. To combat this situation, the most effective solution most wholesale business owners have found is to shift their operations online.
Now, although shifting to online mode of business seems the most feasible option for wholesalers, a lot of them find it immensely difficult to do so. This is mainly because running their business online was never on their priority list before the pandemic. And now that Covid-19 has struck them really hard, they’ve suddenly found themselves in a crisis.
Whether your wholesale business has suffered because of the lockdown, or you just want to be on the safe side for the future, this post will show you what steps you can take to shift your wholesale business online and make profit from it.
The first step towards shifting your business online is to create your online wholesale platform. This can be your own site or a store on a third party platform. When you’re starting out, the best option is to set up a store at a wholesale business platform like Seebiz where you can get started right away without any technicalities. Because going the diy route can be a major hassle, and you definitely don’t want that when you’re already in a crisis.
The good thing about platforms like Seebiz is that you can not only create your own store in minutes but also network with potential customers through their social networking option. This is an added benefit that can help you get some clients aside from your regular marketing campaigns.
The next (and very important) step is to list your inventory online. For this, you can sign up for an online open source inventory management system, like Odoo. An IMS helps you organize your inventory online and keep track of your things like sales, returns and remaining stock. You can also keep a record of your products’ expiry dates and get notified when an item is out of stock.
Most online IMS’s also allow you to add multiple users to your dashboard so you can have your important team members on a single platform and assign them their respective roles.
Take a look at different inventory management softwares available online and see which one offers the most flexibility and has the best options before making a choice. This is very important because you are going to use the IMS a lot and switching between softwares is not a pleasant experience.
A customer relationship management software helps you build a solid customer support system. It helps automate responses to common questions and provide real time feedback for your customers’ pressing issues. You can either sign up for a good CRM software, like Hubspot, or get an IMS with built in CRM. The latter is a better option as it saves you the hassle of going back and forth between your IMS and CRM while communicating with clients.
Most IMS’s do have a built-in CRM. So you should check for this option when deciding on your IMS.
Now once you have set up your online store and are ready to present your business to your customers, it’s time to choose the right marketing platform.
There are two main platforms for marketing your wholesale e-commerce business online: 1. Google, 2. Facebook. These are the places where most people spend most of their time online. And chances are that your ideal customers can easily be found in these two places.
Both of these platforms offer two types of marketing options, i.e, organic and paid. Your niche and business model will decide which route you should go.
However, as a general rule of thumb, an e-commerce business should focus on both. Start with paid marketing and keep putting in steady efforts into organic marketing. This model will help you get in touch with retailers from the get go as well as build a steady client base.
So, this was a step by step approach to help you establish your wholesale business online. By following all of the above mentioned steps, you’ll be setting a solid foundation for your business. Just keep building on that foundation and your online business will keep growing. And next time something drastic happens to your physical set up, your online business will still keep running and bringing you clients.