Trends come and go in the ever-evolving world of consumerism, making it extra essential to stay on top of developments if you hope to keep your online business relevant and thriving. Product mixes, technology, marketing – all of these create daily implications for managing an ecommerce biz. What isn’t so unpredictable is the vast, often under-tapped market most skip right over: business-to-business, or B2B selling.
Typically the narrative of a business that caters to fellow merchants rests on wholesalers, banking, payment processors, and other niche industries that have kept large and small businesses going for ages. Maybe it’s time to shift the thought process and see what opportunities might exist for attracting a customer base among other sellers who are not competitors.
Companies servicing online sellers represent a hefty $6 million-plus in annual transactions. It’s true: to be a fixture as a B2B provider, your service or product must be one of two things. First, it must be of high quality and in demand, and reflect updated technology or demand conditions. Second, it absolutely must feature competitive pricing.
Perhaps you can’t offer discounts deep enough to entice fellow retailers who might use your products to add to theirs. Then again, perhaps you can. That’s for you to decide.
The majority of B2B entities serving ecommerce merchants, obviously, are either big-time wholesalers or behind-the-scenes tech and financial firms. But as the scope and direction of internet-based purchasing morphs, nearly any online sellers can take advantage of their unique needs. The secret lies in research, reputation, marketing, and adaptation.
Do your homework
Once you figure out the types of other ecommerce companies you might best serve, go to work developing a promotional strategy by studying the needs of that seller, and its niche. If you are able to deliver products that will streamline their sales and service functions, there’s no reason to assume they will pass you by in favor of a big-time operation.
The most common element in product sales is, well, products. It’s surprisingly easy to leverage an existing relationship with your suppliers to set up a brokering arrangement that takes the acquisitions and supply chain responsibilities off of other vendors. If you’ve done your due diligence in regular research of your own product mix and niche, you should be more than familiar with the tailored demands of that industry. Put your knowledge to work with networking, and with a reworked attitude that focuses not just on what you sell, but on how you can help wholesalers or other retailers make their operations more efficient.
The best part? You won’t need to abandon your core business model and product mix. That B2C function may smoothly co-exist alongside a B2B sideshow. In fact, maintaining a robust site devoted to selling will impress potential businesses considering your services.
It should go without saying that before even considering branching out to a B2B model, be 100 percent sure that your site is slick, engaging, and easy to navigate. The more knowledgeable and reputable you are within your niche, the easier it will be to make pitches to others in a similar position to sell.