We are all multi-tasking, busy retailers with too many tasks and too little time. But how can we make wholesale product research and ordering more efficient? The answer is: Naturally, the Internet. The IR team decided that this topic was best addressed by going directly to the internet’s primary source for wholesale online buying and selling. Lisa Rioni (CTO of) was our host.Sumner CommunicationsTo learn more about the origins of the largest online directory for wholesale product sourcing in the country, and the reasons it is still the best resource for retailers, visit her website.
“WholesaleCentral.com” was founded in 1996. It was only a year and a half after the Internet became public. There wasn’t much on the internet at that time. But Sumner Communications, a leader in publishing for wholesale with our printed supplier directories, trade shows directories and top B2B trade magazines, knew they had to be online. We had to provide a resource to the industry. Rioni recalls. Sumner Communications realized that the internet would be a valuable tool for retailers to search and find new products. They took action.
“I researched many different business models at the time and visited a lot different websites to find out how they were being used by people. What we discovered was that Yahoo.com was the most popular and successful website of all time. “Well, we have directories and we bring buyers to each other, so we’re going to create a directory of wholesale suppliers on the internet.” That’s what I did, and that’s how it ended up.WholesaleCentral.comIt all came about. We were the first company that had a wholesale directory online. It was a huge success and it has been steadily growing ever since. We are proud to be the original wholesale directory.
In 2016, the wholesale directory site is a strong amalgamation of wholesale suppliers as well as buyer resources. It offers a detailed tradeshow calendar, updated product deals and steals, and a link to closeout vendors. But the core of the site still serves its original purpose of helping buyers find reliable wholesalers and high quality products 20 years ago. Rioni says that the site has changed over time. Over time, we’ve added many features to help buyers. We pay close attention to both the suppliers listed on the site and the buyers who use it. We keep in touch with buyers and suppliers every day and listen to their needs. This keeps the site evolving. We listen to what our buyers need to do their jobs effectively and then we incorporate those items into the site.
Rioni says that the site has changed technologically. The technology may appear transparent to buyers or may feel the exact same, but it has changed. Technology is constantly evolving behind the scenes. We have to keep up with it all, and stay on top of the latest developments. The most recent major change has been mobile. Our site is now mobile-friendly. Although it is a large project, we are making good progress. We will soon be launching expanded supplier profiles pages. This is to provide buyers with additional information so that they can make the best product selections for their stores.
WholesaleCentral.com’s number one priority is to give retail buyers the tools they need in order to source products quickly and efficiently. Rioni says that the actual buying process for a buyer on the site is simple. It’s very simple. There are two ways to search our site. Buyers can search suppliers by category. There’s a gorgeous list of suppliers listed right on our home page. Once they click on a category, all sub-categories will be displayed. Buyers can click on any category they’re interested in purchasing, with over 500 sub-categories and categories. This is the most common way buyers search the site for suppliers. You’ll want to search apparel if you are an apparel retailer. This is because it’s a B2B environment, and buyers know exactly what they want.
“For companies looking for a specific product, we offer a product search option. This allows you to search by name and is fed by all companies in the directory. Buyers can search for one product from over 1000 wholesale suppliers in one search box located on our homepage. Buyers have the option to search by category or product. It’s up to them.
In October 2002, the WholesaleCentral.com Buyers Network was launched. It was created as a result of buyers asking for additional tools from Sumner. Rioni recalls that the Buyers Network was created to offer buyers a better level of access. We ask buyers to share some information about themselves and their companies in return for helping them to buy products in the areas that they are interested in. Buyers get a variety of benefits. Buyers get a free Independent Reseller magazine subscription, and they can use the Product Locator Service which is an excellent way to locate specialized products or hard-to-find products. Buyers Network members get a great newsletter with lots of exclusive deals and promotions.
WholesaleCentral.com has been the online leader in B2B wholesale selling and buying for over 20 years. However, the site does not take its reputation or integrity lightly. Rioni states, “This is an important distinction that sets us apart from other wholesale supplier sites.” Rioni says that there are only a few companies in the world, and that no one else takes the same steps to ensure that suppliers are legitimate and trustworthy. This is why we are a trusted and high-quality website that buyers come back to time and again.”
Rioni continues to describe the company’s selection process for wholesale suppliers to be listed on the site. We are extremely careful about screening suppliers. Every company is reviewed. It’s not a one-off review. Suppliers visit our site to request to be listed. They provide a lot information about themselves. However, before we approve them, a Quality Control person checks them out. A team member will review the supplier’s website, products and contact them directly. They will then go through all of it to verify that they are true to their word. They are confirmed to be wholesale suppliers. We continue to contact them throughout the year, after they have been accepted to WholesaleCentral.
We will investigate any claim made by any buyer that contacts us about a problem or any suspicious activity. The Quality Control team tries to resolve any issues. However, if they find that a supplier has had repeated problems or has done something we do not consider trustworthy, we remove that supplier from the site. Although we are all human, WholesaleCentral.com is safe.
Rioni is clear that the company will continue to be focused on quality. We are the largest wholesale directory site. And we’re the best. Our team is first and foremost committed to providing high-quality products that deliver the best results for buyers searching for suppliers. Everything falls into place when you do this. Everything else works. Everything else will fall into place if you do your best to bring buyers and sellers together.
How to Increase Simplified Revenue Opportunities during Checkout
Is it easy for customers to complete their checkout? Are shoppers finding it difficult or simple? This is an important strategy and should not be ignored. A complicated checkout process can lead to lost sales.
UPS recently conducted a study that found 20% of shoppers abandoned their order because they were too confused by the checkout process. This statement should be taken seriously by e-retailers before they simplify the entire echeckout process. The shopping cart checkout process should strike a balance between simplicity, and the opportunity to increase average order value (AOV).
Which is your path to purchase?
Before e-retailers can calculate how to maximize their AOV, they need to consider the steps necessary to make a purchase. E-retailers that are profitable make it easy for customers buy. Customers today expect seamless shopping experiences and high expectations. Each e-retailer should strive to understand the preferences of their customers and create a path for them to purchase.
While it is easy to believe that mobile offers a faster way to buy, desktop and laptop buyers are more focused on their task. Recent Microsoft research shows that mobile shoppers are more distracted than desktop and laptop shoppers, which could result in increased cart abandonment. The UPS study also shows that desktop/laptop shoppers are more satisfied than mobile shoppers, at 84 percent.
Keep customers from wandering eyes
The e-retailer’s product range and the associated deals will determine if a customer wants to shop at the store. It is important to offer inspiring assortments. Smaller e-retailers have the opportunity to increase their chances of keeping customers in the shop and making purchases. Customers searching for products will want to get a great deal but may also be looking for products that are specific to their lifestyles, such as tech enthusiasts. For example, they are more concerned about protecting their investments and will be willing to invest in additional tech support.
How to add more value to your product
E-retailers that are profitable understand the importance of offering more than a great selection at a reasonable price. They know they must add value to customers’ lives and their purchases. This must be done so that the checkout process is not hindered but enhanced. A complicated checkout process can kill customers even if it adds the right value.
Adding value to your purchase can be as easy as bundling complementary items or services. You can get free shipping for orders below a certain amount; training sessions on products like computer hardware and technology; memberships to a group of like-minded users; technical support; and newsletters. Loyalty programs can be a great addition and have been shown to increase revenue for retailers.
Increase revenue AND trust
Customers building trust and loyalty is another way to add value. This can be achieved by offering protection plans and warranties on products at the time of purchase. Customers will feel secure knowing that their investments will be protected in the event of an unfortunate outcome. This feeling of security creates trust and loyalty with the online retailer. The added value also gives the ecommerce company the opportunity to increase AOV and generate additional revenue.
It must be simple
While increasing the AOV can be good for your bottom line, it should also make the process easy for shoppers. The right partner can enhance the product pages or make it easy to add these enhancements. Although they are technically extra steps, customers will feel like they’re getting more without having to go through a lengthy checkout process.
E-retailers with smaller stores that provide the right products and add value will be more successful than larger ones. This strategy is only possible if the checkout and shopping process are simple and efficient. These enhancements can be made to e-retailers’ web stores to increase their average order value.
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