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5 things to consider before choosing a b2B e-commerce platform

5 Things to Consider before Choosing a B2B E-commerce Platform for a Uniform Business

8 min read
Jason October 28, 2020

Whether you are a uniform retailer, wholesaler, or distributor, it is high time that you start thinking about acquiring a B2B e-commerce platform for your business. This will help you expand your company and reach out to more clients compared to sticking to traditional means. Most importantly, it will help you embrace the digital age and stay relevant in the market.

While B2C brands make up most of the online shopping space, a study by Statista shows that 45% of B2B vendors are also planning to invest in e-commerce platforms in 2020. As the popularity of online shopping continues to rise, B2B companies are starting to recognize the various opportunities and advantages that the internet has to offer for their businesses.

The uniform manufacturing industry, for one, can benefit greatly from an online store. With uniforms in constant demands from various sectors and industries, you can maximize your reach through an e-commerce platform.

So if you’re only starting out to B2B e-commerce, it is important to have a plan when selecting the best platform for your business. Hence, here are some things you need to consider before choosing a B2B e-commerce platform for your uniform business.

1. Your needs

Both B2C and B2B e-commerce platforms have some similar functions and features. This includes content management tools, promotion and discount code tools, checkout functions, online payment options, search engine optimization, reporting, integrations, and more. However, B2B selling is vastly distinctive from B2C. Hence, you must be specific with your e-commerce platform and choose the one geared for B2B companies.

That being said, you must also consider what type of B2B seller you are. Are you a retailer for other businesses? A wholesaler? A distributor? Or a manufacturer? The process of selling and buying for these three are different and would need a platform that could accommodate their specific needs.

For example, being a uniform manufacturer means you have to deal with numerous points of contact for raw materials while also dealing with distributors. This would require you a more complex pricing function for the varying arrangements between suppliers and distributors. The same for your minimum order value and promotions or discounts. You can’t possibly use the same as that of other retailers or wholesalers.

Fortunately, a tool like UniformMarket not only specializes in providing an e-commerce solution specifically for the uniform industry, but it offers solutions for retailers and manufacturers. It gives you an all-in-one tool that suits your needs.

2. Customer registration

Unlike B2C, B2B companies treat their customers differently depending on their arrangements and deals. They may have varying pricing levels, frequency of orders, and minimum orders for each customer, making it difficult to keep up with each transaction. This is especially the case for uniform businesses where they cater to customers from different industries.

This makes customer registration one of the essential features for your B2B e-commerce platforms. These are forms that your customers must fill up before they can do transactions with you. It asks for necessary details such as agreed prices, discounts, payment terms, minimum order quantity, and shipping arrangements.

Most importantly, this function can help you classify and segment your customers into groups. You can base it on the type of industry they are, geographical location, order volume, reorder frequency, product quantity, and catalog selection. In this way, you can streamline transactions and ensure that you can accommodate their specific needs for their uniforms.

3. Customer-specific pricing, discounts, and catalogs

As mentioned, pricing in B2B commerce isn’t as simple and straightforward compared to B2C companies. This is because most transactions are done in bulks or huge orders. Hence, most uniform wholesalers, manufacturers, and distributors offer special product pricing and discounts to accommodate the demands of their clients in order to remain competitive in the market.

Thus, your online marketplace needs to have complex pricing functionality that can take care of different pricing models. This helps personalize your customers’ shopping experience while also optimizing your profitability in the process.

Ultimately, this is what sets B2B uniform solutions apart from B2C ones. It has the ability to set different base prices for your uniforms and assign them to specific customers. Alongside that is the ability to provide customer-specific catalogs. This means a unique setup of products for each of your customers as well. After all, uniforms in the healthcare sector are vastly different from those in the construction industry. You wouldn’t want to show the same products for the two, right? You’ll need to look for an e-commerce software that fits your niche.

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4. Flexible payment and shipping options

The digital age has paved the way for several new payment methods between businesses. Nowadays, you can pay and receive payments online without needing to meet someone face to face. Hence, most e-commerce platforms utilize this type of payment to reduce hassle and support seamless transactions between buyers and sellers.

However, your uniform business would need a wider range of options for payment especially since you often receive large amounts of money from your customers. Your e-commerce platform should provide you with flexible payment methods that involve both online and offline. This includes ACH Payments, Partial Payments, Credit Line Payments, Paymetric, and more. You can also integrate offline methods like purchase orders, corporate accounts, and checks.

With flexible payment comes shipping options. Transporting bulks of uniform would require specific types of vehicles especially if you’re planning to scale up your business. Thus, your platform should include the ability to configure multiple shipping and delivery options while also customizing conditions that will make specific options available to specific customers according to their location, order amount, and frequency.

5. Scalability

According to MarketWatch’s uniform market research, the workwear and uniform sector is set to grow between 2020 and 2025. This means the demand for your products will increase as well. Most of which are scrubs and other uniforms for healthcare providers as a result of the COVID pandemic.

To help prepare your business for this forecast, your B2B e-commerce platform needs to be scalable. This will allow you to extend your business over the globe with ease and accommodate the growing demands for your products in the process.

For example, software that lets you maintain all your assets in a secure cloud service means you can easily add and store important details of past transactions and customers for future use. This can also be in the form of multi-currency support that allows you and your customers to use specific currencies to match your preferences. Likewise, scalability in your platform can also mean flexibility when it comes to providing for small, medium, and enterprise customers.

Going online with your uniform business

Uniforms have always been a constant demand from various sectors and industries. The market for it is more or less stable throughout the years. However, that doesn’t mean you should be complacent with how you operate your uniform business.

As the world fast tracks towards the digital age, it is time to find an e-commerce platform that can give your uniform market support online. This does not only apply to B2C retailers but also for B2B sellers as well.

As a uniform wholesaler, distributor, or manufacturer, you would need a specific type of e-commerce platform to accommodate your needs. It will provide you the needed tools to customize transactions with your customers and meet their demands accordingly. Most importantly, B2B e-commerce platforms are more equipped to handle bulk orders and scalable transactions compared to B2C e-commerce stores.

So, get on with the times and take advantage of the various options out there. You’ll be glad to know that there are numerous B2B e-commerce platforms that will suit your uniform business or whatever niche you’re in.

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