7 Wholesale eCommerce Features You Cannot Overlook

Max Bailey
December 11, 2018

In recent years, B2B buyers have expressed a clear preference for wholesale eCommerce over manual ordering. Placing orders over the phone, through email or text messages is outdated—buyers and suppliers, alike, are eager to displace these old methods by bringing the whole ordering process online. To do so, manufacturers and distributors alike have been turning to wholesale eCommerce

What is wholesale eCommerce? - Wholesale eCommerce refers to B2B online ordering software that enables buyers, such as retailers, to order products to resell from their suppliers, typically manufacturers or distributors, without having to use manual methods, such as calling, emailing, or faxing in orders.

Wholesale eCommerce platforms, however, must provide unique functionality to overcome complex workflow requirements that are specific to B2B.

The right wholesale eCommerce platform will not only accommodate tough B2B workflows, it will make them seem simple.

There are several features that suppliers should prioritize as they seek to enable wholesale eCommerce for their buyers. Here’s 7 of them:

Important Wholesale eCommerce Features

  1. Advanced wholesale pricing
  2. Customer-specific catalogs
  3. Easy reordering
  4. Offline mobile access
  5. Native mobile app
  6. Barcode scanning
  7. Review, modify and confirm orders

7 Wholesale eCommerce Features You Cannot Overlook


This is the big one. Wholesalers have various buyers of all shapes and sizes. Their relationships with each account varies, and so does their pricing. For your wholesale eCommerce platform to provide value, it must be able to maintain your buyers’ trust by correctly reporting the prices meant specifically for them.

wholesale eCommerce pricing
The ability to customize pricing for various customer groups is key in wholesale eCommerce.

To ensure this process plays out correctly, companies set up the backend of their wholesale eCommerce platforms to offer various prices to buyers across multiple pricing brackets. In so doing, they maintain the particular pricing relationship they have with their B2B customers, while simplifying the headache of juggling multiple prices and limiting the interaction needed with sales and customer service reps to place an order.

Just as wholesale buyers need to be offered differentiated prices in your wholesale eCommerce portal, you need to be able to customize your product offerings.


It’s also very common for wholesalers to make different product catalogs available to their buyers.

There is perhaps nothing more frustrating to a buyer than placing an order without assurance that the products in their cart are actually seasonally and regionally available to them.

Since every account has a unique login, customer-specific wholesale eCommerce catalogs eliminate these types of buyer frustrations. With proper wholesale eCommerce software, you can make specific catalogs available to your buyers just as easily as you assign them into pricing brackets.


Your B2B buyers have a constant need to replenish the items they sell, and you want to continue to be the supplier they choose to fulfill those orders.

Since wholesale purchasing is a cyclical process, with similar orders being placed time and time again, it’s very important for wholesale eCommerce portals to simplify reorder workflows.

wholesale eCommerce reordering
Handshake Direct, makes it easy for your customers to view and duplicate past orders.

Think about it. The faster your buyers can reorder, the more time they’ll have to discover other products in your wholesale eCommerce catalog. Customer satisfaction will improve, inventory will move quicker and average order values will continue to rise. I could keep going!

By simply referencing their own order history, your buyers can select the previous order they wish to duplicate—whether it’s from last week or last holiday season. After editing quantities and adding new items, they’ll be able to place a new order within minutes.

The best wholesale eCommerce platforms, however, will not just make reordering simple, but ensure that orders written from scratch are painless as well.


Wholesale buyers are busy—especially small business owners handling their own replenishment. They need to be able to add products to their wholesale eCommerce cart anytime, anywhere, and shouldn’t have to worry if WiFi is available. If they’re on the train, boarding a flight or just experiencing unreliable internet connectivity, they should still be able to place orders from you.

This sounds like a tall order, but the wholesale eCommerce portal you choose should be equipped with a mobile app that can handle offline ordering. When connectivity is low or nonexistent, your buyers should be able to browse your digital catalog and draft orders anyway. Once they’re back online, their order will transmit without requiring anything else on their end.

And remember, offline access to your wholesale eCommerce portal can only happen  if you make ordering available from a mobile app, not just your portal accessed from a mobile web-browser.


When writing orders from scratch, it’s often easiest for retailers to just eyeball quantities on their shelves. To streamline this workflow, they need a mobile ordering option. And again, I’m not talking about a mobile-optimized website (your buyers shouldn’t have to suffer through slow load times and WiFi-dependent browsers).

The wholesale eCommerce mobile experience your buyers want can only be offered through a native mobile app.

In a recent survey, we found that while only 20% of suppliers offer native mobile apps to their buyers, this same group of suppliers is most likely to experience high adoption rates of their wholesale eCommerce portals.

A native wholesale eCommerce mobile app—that works just as well on Android as it does on iOS—will make buying simpler and keep your retailers ordering shelf-side happy. The ability to walk their sales floors and place orders throughout the day will help ensure they don’t accidentally overlook any items they need for their next order, which means more money in your pocket.

Make sure your wholesale eCommerce vendor offers a native mobile app for your buyers so you will continue to be their supplier of choice (bonus points if it includes a barcode scanning feature).


While we’re on the topic of ordering shelf-side, I’d be remiss not to discuss the importance of enabling barcode scanning for your customers.

In my opinion, barcode scanning functionality is the ultimate time saver for wholesale eCommerce ordering.

wholesale eCommerce mobile
Barcode scanning is the quickest way for your wholesale eCommerce customers to add new items to their cart.

Quick story. I spent years working as a department manager for a regional grocery chain. Every week, I had to write a large order from scratch. This process started with a pad and pen on the sales floor and ended in front of a desktop computer in my office, where I proceeded to look up and manually enter item numbers and quantities into an order management system. The entire process took at least four brutal hours...every...week.

With a native mobile app and barcode scanning capabilities, suffice it to say, this whole process could have been much simpler.


Creating a personalized, fully functional buying experience that works seamlessly online and offline, on desktop and mobile devices, is key to maintaining a steady flow of wholesale eCommerce orders.

But sometimes, sales and customer service reps may have to get involved in the buying process. If something unexpected happens in your warehouse (and it will, despite all precautions), a sales rep may have to make a modification to a buyer’s order.

wholesale eCommerce
Handshake Hub, our back office wholesale eCommerce order management interface, gives you the ability to view and edit B2B orders as they come in.

If you need to edit a customer’s order, would like to suggest similar products, or simply want to review and confirm customer orders in the backend of your wholesale eCommerce portal, you should be able to do so.

Buyers will be notified of changes made to their orders, which can lead to a personal dialogue, allowing you to touch base with them and enhance your relationships. It’s also the perfect opportunity to make buyers aware of new products that align with their preferences.


B2B workflows and business rules can be complicated, but they don’t have to feel that way. The best wholesale eCommerce software for your business is able to replicate even your most complex workflows, enabling a simple user experience for both your buyers, sales reps and back office staff.

It all starts with the right solution. Handshake Direct, our wholesale eCommerce offering, can accommodate all these B2B workflows and more. If you’ve read this far, I assume you’re interested, so why not schedule a quick call with a wholesale eCommerce expert to find out if Handshake is the right solution for you?