Inside Gildan’s Digital Transformation for B2B Ecommerce

Started in 1946 in Montreal, Canada as a children’s apparel manufacturing company, Gildan has gone on to become one of the world’s leading vertically-integrated manufacturers of apparel, socks and legwear.

Gildan is well-known for the high quality of its products but it is also known for its program for social, environmental, and governance (ESG). Because of its long history of ethical manufacturing practices and sustainable production, Gildan was named one the ” 100 Most Sustainable Companies” by The Wall Street Journal for 2020.

The company’s portfolio includes brands such as American Apparel, GOLDTOE and others. Gildan also has a Board of Decorators website. This is an inspiring community of decorators, created by and for decorators. Recently, Gildan combined six sites into one and launched wholesale website

We sat down with Kees Olthof (senior manager for consumer experience at Gildan) to learn more about the company’s ecommerce journey.

Interview Gildan on B2B Ecommerce Growth

How much is your business direct-to consumers (DTC) and business-to business (B2B), respectively?

Kees Olthof : “I would suggest that the majority of wholesale is B2B. DTC is for us a sales channel but it’s so much more. DTC allows us to interact directly with our customers, which allows us to be more customer-centric. The DTC websites allow us to have complete control over our brand and the customer experience.

What was it that motivated you to make the switch from paper to an online catalogue for wholesale?

KO “As a brand we realized that paper catalogues were an obsolete medium. They only allow us to interact with customers in one dimension. We realized that an online catalog could offer a richer and more interactive experience. This was what drove us to move from a printed catalog and go online. It was also part of our sustainability program because it has been a great way for us to save paper while continuing to reduce our carbon footprint.”

Learn more: 

Magento Pos

Shopify Pos

Bigcommerce Pos

Woocommerce Pos

Netsuite pos


What are you doing to grow your B2B ecommerce business and make the switch to BigCommerce?

KO “We’ve been in B2B ecommerce for more than 15 years. However, we used legacy systems that could only be accessed by very large clients. We were not able to use certain capabilities, and it was extremely expensive to maintain. It was not perfect, but it worked.

“We needed an ecommerce platform that met all our requirements when we compared different platforms. We needed to consider the following: culture fit, product roadmap, total costs of ownership, business requirements. Are we able to see ourselves working with this company for the long-term?

BigCommerce was a state of the art platform that could create a better customer experience and scale globally. That was crucial. The best part is the low cost. That’s why we switched from legacy systems to BigCommerce.

What features are necessary for product fit on an ecommerce platform B2B?

KO “In our case what we really appreciated is the API-first approach. BigCommerce was the core of our ecommerce system . However, it is not a one-size fits all solution. Your ability to seamlessly integrate with other solutions was a great asset.

Could you tell me more about your mobile app and the way you use it?

KO “The mobile app was originally designed to be an inventory finder. Although customers could search inventory online, it is much easier to use a mobile phone if they’re on the move or have someone at their store. The app will tell customers where the distributors are closest to them based on their location. They can then use the app from there to call, email, or request the product.

“Now, there are so many more things you can do with an application, we’re expanding its function to include a swatch scanning option. Customers can scan one of our swatch card with all the colors and fabrics using their smartphone’s camera and find out which styles are available.

“Previously, customers had to consult a table in order to determine the available colors. This feature is something that customers have requested for a long time and it’s one we are excited about.

How do you create a seamless customer experience with all of these sites?

KO. “Returning to your question, BigCommerce was chosen to be the foundation of our digital ecosystem. It houses our DTC retail websites, B2B brands sites, Board of Decorators website, and mobile app. These initiatives should not be separated, but have one experience. BigCommerce is that back-end.

BigCommerce stores all our product information. This means that customers can search on both the website and the mobile app the same way. It’s easier for our internal team to innovate and maintain with one platform that covers every channel.

“Basically, BigCommerce allows us to connect these initiatives in a way that we couldn’t before. No matter where you are on your customer journey, you’ll still receive the same seamless, smooth experience.

Are there any DTC best practices you would like to include on your wholesale B2B site?

KO “We are integrating social media onto the site, so that you can see user-generated content. Social proof is still relevant to B2B, taking a cue from consumer websites. Many DTC practices are beginning to gain acceptance in B2B. We believe there are many important lessons to be learned, even though not all DTC practices work the same.

“We also want to have more two-way conversations, which is something we can’t do in print. Customers can leave feedback via the website whenever they wish. In our FAQ section, for example, it asks if this question was helpful. “Yes or no?”

What advice or suggestions would you offer other B2B businesses going through a digital transformation process?

KO “I would tell any B2B company that when you move your business online, take advantage of the opportunity to be more data-driven. This is something that you can do online, but not offline.

Quantitative data refers to the “what” you can gain from your web analytics. The qualitative data, on the other hand is the “why” that you can get from your web analytics. This can be learned through onsite surveys and feedback. Next, shift your culture to open-mindedness and validate your assumptions.

“Also make sure everyone in your company has access to the wealth of data you collect through online interactions. This could be on your website, social channels, or mobile apps. These insights should be shared beyond your digital team to help you make business decisions.

“I believe that this is key for any manufacturer, because first-party information is something you don’t always possess without direct access to customers. These direct customer insights are crucial for any manufacturer in order to optimize processes and create better products.

Start your B2B Ecommerce Solution with BigCommerce

Are you ready to make the leap and sell online using a B2B eCommerce platform that will help you succeed? Check out . All the features necessary to simplify B2B selling will be found here.

An excellent autoresponder

What number of free autoresponders did you try? How many did you actually use? How many emails were you able to get through by using them? How can you tell? What percentage of people opened your follow-up message?

I am pointing out that if you don’t know the answers to these questions, you are probably not running a successful followup campaign. These are important elements that you should consider when choosing an autoresponder.

To ensure that you get the best autoresponder, here are some good tips. Your autoresponder should be compared to top marketers. They are likely using the best. This step is essential!

You might also make observations about spam filters. You may have received an e-mail with something similar to this: “FREE” This is a great way to defeat spam filters because they won’t be able read anything free. It can take some time to go through the article and find out which words are “Danger words”. This feature can help you in your marketing efforts. Make sure to find an autoresponder with a spam rating function… this will show you exactly where your “Danger!” words are in your article.

Your statistics are another important aspect of e-mail marketign. Your statistics can help you determine if your subject lines are effective or if your brand is well-known. Knowing your e-mail statistics is a first step towards optimizing your sales potential. It is important to find an autoresponder that can provide detailed analysis and followups.

What should a followup include? That’s a good question. I have found that subscribers should be directed to the full article on the internet. This is a good idea for several reasons. In the followup email, you can make an exciting teaser and ask for your article to be published online. You also have the possibility that many subscribers will read other articles from your archive. While your subscriber may not be interested in a single article, they might find the information they need by looking through previous articles.

Broadcasting! Now that your subscribers have finished their initial follow-up series, what do you do? You will need an autoresponder that allows you broadcast an update or offer to your entire subscriber list. This feature is essential for all subscribers.

Don’t bore your subscribers! Give them a problem to solve and give them a solution. It’s easy…

My marketing blog has my top picks for autoresponders!








A Guide to Advertising in the Media

Media is powerful. The average person will spend an immense amount of time consuming it in some form. They will also spend significant amounts of their lives looking at, listening, or watching ads. You need to be able to harness the power of the media.

Advertise in Magazines and Newspapers.

You can find two types of advertising in magazines and newspapers: display and classified. Display ads are small ads at the back of the publication. Classified ads can be as small as a corner of a page or as large as a double-page spread.

To find out the charges for advertising in a publication, go to its website (the rate cards section) or call the advertising department. Grab your jaw off the ground. Advertising in print media is expensive. It’s not affordable for home-based businesses.

However, there is an exception: trade and niche magazines. You’ll be amazed at how many magazines are available to fill every niche in the market if you’ve ever walked into a newsagent. It is important to choose the magazine that will appeal to your target audience. If you are a wedding photographer, for example, search for magazines called “Your Wedding”, “Bride” or similar. These magazines are far less expensive than advertising in general-audience publications and will get more responses.

Radio advertising

There’s a chance that there is a local radio station near you. You might think about buying time once your home business has grown to a reasonable size.

The only type of home business that can really benefit from radio advertising to justify the expense is one that deals with cars. Radio is limited to car entertainment. This means that most people who see your ads will own cars and might be interested in the products or services you offer. You can get lots of responses if you provide something people actually need, even if it’s free.

This could lead to a too large response. Radio is very time sensitive and you will be mobbed again the next day. Radio advertising gives the listener no chance to save your ad or refer to it later. Any ads that involve a telephone number will be utterly ineffective.

Advertisement on Television

This would not be a good idea unless your business is growing rapidly. It would be difficult to produce and air an ad on local cable channels, even for less than $10,000. If there is a market for your product, and you have the money to do it, you can make a lot of money. Home businesses that are unique and useful inventing products with easily-demonstrated benefits tend to be the most successful. A 60-second advertisement, free phone number, and a $19.95 price point are enough to sell almost any product.

Advertisement on Billboards

This one is often overlooked, but it can be extremely effective if done right. Billboard ads can be quite expensive but they are very durable and can be targeted specifically to an area. This will give you the best results if it is placed near enough to your business. It could even say something like “turn left at next junction” or some other similar message. Although phone numbers are useless, you might be able to put a website address there.








Advertisement at the Movies

This is the last one. You might not have noticed that local businesses were advertised before big-budget commercials. This is a great place for advertising inexpensively and in a high-profile manner, especially for takeaway food business owners.

Four Simple Steps to Great Free Advertising

Advertising a product or service, or any undertaking such as a website, has always been difficult for the wallet.

I am a follower for the free advertising mode.

Two strategies that I used to get free advertising are what I want to share with you.

Advertise on free, but highly-visited websites is the first strategy.

Some of my favorite web sites accept advertising free of charge have been published. These free advertising sites can be accessed by visiting

To post free ads, I used the second strategy of buying a Classified Ad Course.

It is a short course, and I paid $19.95 through Clickbank to access this ad resource.

The Free Classified Ad Course’s highlight is the link to a free program that will allow you to monitor and post your ads.

This is a free classified ad course.

Clickbank doesn’t charge $19.95 and you don’t need to spend hours searching for this software.

Simply go to my website listed in the resource box below and click the link at the sidebar menu titled 4 Simple Steps for Great Free Advertising. Then you can start posting your ads. It’s free.

You will be a success at ad posting.

Four Steps to Unbeatable Marketing

You may have noticed that certain people always get the best deals. You pay full price, and you think you did okay, until someone else shows up with the exact same thing for a fraction of the cost. This really gets your goat! How does this happen? They aren’t afraid to ask for an additional discount.

You can’t be too proud of yourself if you don’t ask the next time an advertising representative visits. Ask for a larger discount even if you are already receiving one. You don’t have to…because you didn’t ask.

2. 2. Trim

Or is it? Advertising is a competitive field. You might find that some of your shorter ads are more successful than the larger, more expensive ones. You don’t have to reduce the advertising budget, but you won’t be reducing the quality of the ads.

3. Grab the Freebies

What is the difference between publicity and advertising? …who is doing the talking. It’s advertising when you sell yourself. It’s advertising when someone is trying to sell you something. This generates credibility, and you don’t want it to end.

Consider all the ways that you can put your business in the limelight. Have news? Write a press release. Send some “how-to” articles to magazines, newspapers and other publications. Include a brief byline at the bottom. You can promote the product from a competitor in exchange for them promoting it. Think about the completely different markets they impact!

There are many ways to get free advertising that will benefit your company. You won’t always be able to get free advertising, but you can still get some for nothing.

See others:









4. 4.

Are you too excited to miss your opportunity? You need to make it better. You don’t have to reduce prices any more, but you still need to make profit. It’s possible to make the deal more appealing by making the product more valuable or offering bonuses that are valued but not too expensive.

Use expirations to motivate buyers. Open ended offers encourage procrastination, which leads to…nowhere. If the customer is aware that he only has Saturday to buy an item that he will pay more for, he will make it a priority and head to your shop.


Advertising doesn’t need to break the bank to be successful. You can increase your profit margins by learning to negotiate and knowing when small ads are more effective than large ones.