How Retailers Can Service Wholesale Clients Without Losing B2C Clients

Selling both wholesale (B2B) and direct-to-consumer (D2C) is a balancing act. On one hand, you wish to earn your B2B customers happy with favorable pricing, but you do not need to B2C clients to feel like they’re getting the short end of the stick particularly when they have supported you at the early stages of your business.

But that does not mean that wholesale is not viable for brick-and-mortar brands.

There are ways that you can create your D2C clients feel valued while also helping your wholesale clients turn a profit. Let us look at why you need to consider it and ways to navigate this balancing act.

Opportunities for Retailers That Boost Wholesale

If you run the possibility of isolating the sales channel your brand was built on, why would it be worthwhile to expand to wholesale?

Instead of increasing the amount of clients you sell individual products to, retailers can sell a high number of products to a couple of wholesale buyers. The idea is simple enough, and based upon your company’s structure, you might already be knowledgeable about wholesale from the buyer’s perspective; but it is a fantastic choice to consider as a vendor, also.

“While B2C ecommerce is predicted to hit $2.4 trillion globally by the close of 2017, it is less than a third of B2B’s $7.6 trillion,” says Aaron Orendorff, editor of this Shopify Plus blog.

Simply put: Selling wholesale exposes broadly D2C brands to new growth opportunities, including:

  • Increased order quantity and average order value
  • accessibility to new audiences and much more visibility
  • Improved credibility
  • Benefiting from another brand’s success and experience
  • More assistance from a retail partner

Sarah Mitchell commented on this Shopify article about her work with Lux Fragrances, and the way they have used wholesale to increase earnings.

How to Not Shed B2C Customers

Sell Different Items/Product Exclusives

You will want to be certain your loyal D2C customers do not feel isolated and like they are getting a much better overall experience from you than from the wholesale customers. One method to achieve this would be to offer select products to your wholesale customers while providing more choices to your regular clients. By way of instance, if you have several color variants available for a particular solution, sell only a few to your wholesale customers and supply the whole range on your own stations.

Brick-and-mortar retailers may also sell exclusive products to their community market. Perhaps it’s a T-shirt comprising a nearby landmark or a product made with locally sourced materials.

You could even provide your D2C customers early access to goods, giving them an incentive to buy from you instead of the competition.

Create a Terrific Customer Loyalty Program

1 thing you may offer your wholesale clients might not is a excellent customer loyalty program. According to a 2016 Bond Loyalty Report, 34 percent of shoppers feel that loyalty programs are trustworthy, and almost three-quarters are more inclined to recommend brands with great loyalty programs.

In Boulder, Colorado, Helping Hands sells both B2B and B2C. The merchant has a customer loyalty program that rewards retail shoppers with store credit. It’s not tricky for repeat customers to stand up charge and use it for discounts or even free products — giving them an incentive to purchase direct.

Get some inspiration for your customer loyalty program:

Pricing Plan

When it comes to balancing B2B and B2C sales, you will want to approach pricing on both endings. Needless to say, wholesale customers will expect to pay lower prices. However, you can offer B2C clients with exclusive promotions that wholesale customers do not get.

Dropship Your Products on Behalf of Wholesale Clients

Dropshipping can be a terrific way for retailers to cultivate their B2B sales. Basically, dropshipping in a B2B context is when a customer buys your merchandise from another site (your wholesale customer’s ) and you handle the transport.

This a terrific way for local retailers to reach international audiences that would otherwise be inaccessible.

We have put together a few tools to help you determine if dropshipping is the way to go:

Grow Slowly to Maintain Consistent Customer Service

One thing to always remember: Do not forfeit the support you provide to your D2C sales. If clients notice a downturn in the level of support, you will begin to lose their confidence. At some point, you could lose their sales too.

Grow your wholesale channels gradually and establish the infrastructure that is able to allow you to reach the next stage of expansion. While rapid growth might be the immediate aim, sustainable expansion is what forward-thinking retailers concentrate on.

1 key area to focus on to encourage sustainable growth is the team. And this is not just your sales associates that are helping customers on the ground. You serve an entirely different customer base, so you will need employees to encourage those new clients.

By way of instance, you will need sales associates that are dedicated to serving your B2B clients. They are not greeting customers who walk in your store; they are selling products to assist those wholesale clients create their own earnings and profits. Wholesale customers also probably need more customer service, so you will need a service team dedicated to supplying that as well.

But do not throw your D2C clients to the wayside. While they spend less per purchase, they are the lifeline of your company. Plus they have different expectations.

“To guarantee a high level of customer support for both wholesale and consumer accounts, make certain that you’re staffed to support each satisfactorily,” says Kristina Libby, founder of Lohm and professor at New York University. “At the end of the day, your customers take precedent. They demand faster customer care than a standard wholesale account and are much less lenient.”

Consider two important phases when constructing your team: launch the wholesale side of your organization, and then keeping it after launching. You will need more hands on deck for the first part, and you may also need to look to existing staff on the D2C aspect of things to chip in and help. Once setup, make sure your team can keep things running smoothly on either side of the company.

Logistically, you will want to also look at expanding to a warehouse area (if you have not already or do not have space in your store) to adapt wholesale orders. This requires staffing up your retail operations staff to have the ability to arrange and meet large orders. And in case you haven’t already, invest in stock management software which can centralize your data and sync it over multiple channels.

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