According to a survey by Digital Commerce, 78.1% of B2B distributors are prioritizing increasing online sales in 2018. If you are selling to a business buyer then you already know they are demanding a experience online that rivals consumer shopping - the ability to research, compare, and purchase products from anywhere. For manufacturers and suppliers, this means the need to provide the distributors you work with strong content and product information has never been more important. Here are three things you can do to prepare your business for this shift to digital.
1. Integrate with Distributors’ Systems
The last thing you want is for a buyer to decide on purchasing your product to find out it is out of stock once they have entered the shopping cart because your brands’ ERP, accounting suites and PIM do not integrate with the distributor systems. Customers expect to be able to see inventory availability, pricing options and shipping information as they navigate through their purchase journey.
Does your distributor have an API that is publicly documented? Are you able to automate content syndication? Understanding the limitations and the capabilities of your distributors will help your brand organize and prioritize content needs and how to work with distributors. Salsify maintains a list of the distributors and retailers we connect to.
2. Digitize and Modernize Catalogues
B2B buyers are looking for robust product information to guide their decisions. They don’t want to wait for a salesperson to respond to an inquiry: product information must be available on site, at all times. Distributors are moving toward ecommerce prominence and creating platforms to meet these changes. This means manufacturers and suppliers must digitize catalogues and break down product information into easy to digest content pieces and rich media.
- Basic product information (i.e. specifications, materials)
- Multiple Images
- Product Sets, Kits, Assortments
- Product Availability
- Shipping Options
- Warranty Information
A dynamic product page presents new opportunities to educate buyers and reflect changes -- traditional product catalogues are limited in what can be provided whereas digital product pages can evolve and be easily altered to reflect changes in the product or show it in action with a video. Distributors want manufacturers and suppliers to evolve alongside the B2B buyer as ecommerce becomes a more prominent piece of profits.
3. Optimize Content for Agnostic Distribution Use
The marketplace has shifted to an omni-channel world where buyers shop at anytime and anywhere and it’s increasingly a mobile experience regardless of the type of customer. Delivering product content for the digital age means optimizing it was for agnostic distribution.
A recent study from Boston Consulting Group learned that for “more 60% than of B2B buyers mobile research played a significant role in a recent purchase” and can speed up purchase time by 20%. Sending images that can be easily rendered to fit a mobile site is as important as making sure a PDF link to product specifications on a product page can fit in a mobile screen.
As the presence of B2B ecommerce grows and becomes a larger focus for distributors, suppliers and manufacturers need to think about how their content will shape the buyer’s journey on distributor sites and develop strong content to capture these audiences.