What a Modern Wholesale Platform Looks Like in 2019

Triston John
February 22, 2019

The wholesale ordering landscape is changing. The customer remains king, but a new generation of tech-savvy business owners and buyers are emerging—those who grew up during the 80s and 90s and watched game-changing companies like Google, Apple, and Amazon transform the way we interact with technology.

In 2019, this new generation of owners and buyers is expecting to partner with suppliers that can offer them a modern wholesale platform to order from. With this new generation, it is all about efficiency, convenience, and personalization. They want to feel like they are your only customer, and they don’t want to waste time ordering from suppliers who are not easy to order from.

Today, there is a plethora of modern wholesale platforms for you to choose from. However, the right wholesale platform will offer significant advantages to propel you ahead of your competition, eliminate time-wasting manual processes, and make it easier than ever for your wholesale customers to order directly from you.

But what exactly does a modern wholesale platform look like in 2019? A modern wholesale platform will:

  1. Integrate with back office systems
  2. Be completely flexible and customizable
  3. Work just as well on mobile as it does on a desktop computer

Let’s dive a little deeper…

What a Modern Wholesale Platform Looks Like in 2019

A modern wholesale platform is integrated...

To save time for yourself and your wholesale customers, your modern wholesale platform should integrate with your back office systems. I’ve personally spoken to hundreds of suppliers, and some of the greatest challenges they face are centered around manual processes like   double manual entry, customer service overload, and receiving inbound orders from a variety of unreliable channels (i.e. inbound phone calls, faxes, emails, and text messages).

Integrating back office systems with your wholesale platform is the key to managing and automating these processes, so you can truly begin to scale your wholesale distribution business. A modern wholesale platform should be able to seamlessly integrate with your:

  • ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system
  • CRM
  • Inventory management software
  • Payment processor
  • Shipping software
  • Marketing automation software

And I’m not talking about flat file transfers. While any wholesale platform should be able to handle bulk data imports and exports, a modern wholesale platform will allow for API integrations. This means that data is automatically synced between your back office systems and wholesale platform in real time. For example, as orders are processed, an API-integrated wholesale platform will automatically:

  • transmit order data to your ERP
  • update customer records in your CRM
  • reduce inventory levels in your inventory management system

…among other processes!

API integrations require a cloud-based modern wholesale platform to get the job done. With integrations working behind-the-scenes in the cloud, you will eliminate manual order entry, and your customers’ orders will be processed instantly, which will allow for increases to both your average order value and your average order volume.

A modern wholesale platform is customizable...

Today’s wholesale platforms also need to be fully customizable to your and your customers’ workflows. A truly modern wholesale platform will allow for a deep level of personalization so that your customers do not have to waste time sifting through products, prices and promotions that do not apply to them.

You should also be able to customize your wholesale platform to reflect your brand’s custom logo, fonts and colors, so that you maintain buyer trust as customers exit your main marketing website and enter your B2B eCommerce portal. In addition, product names, high-def images, descriptions, and the category set-up of your online catalog should be fully customizable in your wholesale platform’s back end.

When your buyers log in to your modern wholesale platform, they will be able to see the personalized products, prices and promotions associated with the customer group you’ve added them to. In addition, customer specific order data—such as order history and top products—will also be available to them, allowing them to reorder the products they need as fast as possible.

A customizable wholesale platform is the only solution that is equipped to handle the expectations of modern buyers in 2019.

A modern wholesale platform is mobile...

Your buyers also expect a wholesale platform that is fully operational on a mobile device. In other words, they’re looking for a mobile app to order from you (not to be confused with a mobile-optimized website).

Wholesale websites that claim to work in mobile browsers are inherently slower than native mobile apps. Websites are also fully dependent on strong internet connections, whereas native mobile commerce apps work offline.

Mobile apps are extremely important for this new generation of buyers, since they are often busy, on-the-run, and already conduct most of their transactions on their mobile devices. They need to be able to place orders from your wholesale platform as they think of them, whether or not a computer or WiFi connection is readily available.

Your customers will benefit because you are giving them a mobile wholesale platform that perfectly dovetails with their busy work schedules, and your wholesale distribution business will benefit from receiving more accurate, frequent and higher volume orders that result from impulse buying decisions.

Moreover, suppliers are leveraging modern forms of marketing communication—such as push notifications and in-app reminders—enabled by mobile commerce apps. This allows them to share new product information through a direct line of instant communication with their buyers.

A Modern Wholesale Platform is Necessary

To meet the growing demands of this new generation of tech-savvy buyers, you need a modern wholesale platform that can keep up.

In 2019, that means a user-friendly solution that fully automates back office workflows, provides a personalized buyer experience, and is made available through the convenience of a mobile app. Anything short of a modern wholesale platform will leave buyers wanting more.

And, if you don’t offer your customers a wholesale platform that meets their needs, someone else will.

The 90s are over—don’t be stuck in the past! Step into the 21st century with the modern wholesale platform that your buyers are looking for.

If you’d like to chat with me to learn more about Handshake, sign up for quick demo of our software. Let’s discuss what a modern wholesale platform with Handshake could look like for your business.