Wholesale eCommerce 2023: TOP 10 Platforms & Explanation
The pandemic and lockdown in early 2020 have shown many business owners that online presence and wholesale ecommerce are the new gold. Back in 2021, wholesale ecommerce was still developing. In 2022, we saw a rise of online wholesale due to the global processes that push us to more bulk purchases, businesses’ devotion to sustainability, and workforce shortage. Today, in 2023, many businesses realize that wholesale ecommerce is a quickly evolving trend, and with new technologies in the market, it’s time to become a wholesaler.
Any wholesale interaction becomes easier with correctly chosen online ecommerce platforms. In this article, we will provide an ultimate understanding of enterprise wholesale ecommerce and share a list of wholesale ecommerce platforms B2B sellers use the most often.
- WHAT IS WHOLESALE ECOMMERCE?
- IS WHOLESALE ECOMMERCE THE SAME AS B2B?
- HOW ECOMMERCE WHOLESALE WORKS
- 4 WHOLESALE ECOMMERCE TRENDS AND STATISTICS 2023
- HOW WHOLESALERS CAN BENEFIT FROM ECOMMERCE
- HOW TO CHOOSE A WHOLESALE ECOMMERCE SOFTWARE
- 10 BEST WHOLESALE ECOMMERCE PLATFORMS
- HOW TO START A WHOLESALE ECOMMERCE STORE
- ECOMMERCE FOR WHOLESALERS: WEBSITES EXAMPLES
- HOW VIRTO COMMERCE CAN HELP WITH YOUR WHOLESALE ECOMMERCE PROJECT
What Is Wholesale eCommerce?
Wholesale ecommerce is the type of B2B digital commerce where wholesalers supply bulk goods to other B2B wholesalers or retailers. Good examples of the parties in such cooperation are:
- Product manufacturers and brand wholesalers
- Brand wholesalers and individual sellers
- eCommerce wholesale distributors and agents or smaller B2C shops
We’ve collected some useful info on how wholesale ecommerce works and what peculiarities you can face running this kind of digital wholesale commerce project.
Is Wholesale eCommerce the Same as B2B?
eCommerce for wholesalers is for sure a B2B. In this business-to-business wholesale model, you don’t sell your products to customers directly but offer them in bulk to other businesses. Most often, these sales are discounted compared to the ordinary ones as your products are supposed to be further sold.
B2B wholesales are usually a part of a larger B2B business, which can work as a retailer and as a B2B wholesaler. The primary difference between retailers and wholesalers is that retailers sell small numbers of their products and deliver them via common services, while wholesalers sell huge amounts of the same product and deliver them by tracks or other huge logistic means.
How eCommerce Wholesale Works
A wholesaler can ship in bulk to a retailer, which then ships directly to the consumers. At times, wholesalers ship in bulk directly to consumers.
Wholesale ecommerce enables wholesalers to reduce shipping costs as they only need to take large orders and make deliveries at once. The advent of technology and customer behavior have also contributed to the enormous growth of the wholesale ecommerce industry in recent years.
Wholesale working principle
4 Wholesale eCommerce Trends and Statistics 2023
There is a lot of information out there right now about how one can do business effectively and make a profit with little to no stress. One way to achieve this is through wholesale ecommerce business. Many business owners are still ignorant of how this works, and they are still comfortable with the traditional way of doing business.
The benefits attached to wholesale ecommerce are numerous. It helps you to improve your business structure. These benefits include the following:
Trend 2. Always changing demands and deeper personalization.
The wholesale B2B market is changing daily as customers' demands are changing. They use mobile devices more often, search on Google for new or updated products, use their credit cards and other digital means of payment, and more. 73% of them expect companies will understand their demands and customize products accordingly. To win the race for customers’ attention, you have to conduct thorough research, track the trends continuously, and ensure all the customer journey is deeply personalized.
Trend 3. New tech superiority.
AI and Cloud Computing have entered the wholesale ecommerce sphere, while many companies are still not technically ready. First, wholesalers need to get modern wholesale ecommerce software that would allow them to embrace all the new tech trends. Second, developing the tech skills of the teams is a must.
Trend 4. Global supply chain challenges.
According to Deloitte, shipping costs rose by over 77% in 2022 compared to 2021. Shipping became challenging due to complicated logistics and supply chains. In 2023, ecommerce for wholesale distributors supposed that wholesalers have to pay more attention to their logistics and find automation and tracking instruments that can handle these challenges.
How Wholesalers Can Benefit from eCommerce
There is a lot of information out there right now about how one can do business effectively and make a profit with little to no stress. One way to achieve this is through ecommerce wholesale business. Many business owners are still ignorant of how this works, and they are still comfortable with the traditional way of doing business.
The benefits attached to wholesale ecommerce are numerous. It helps you to improve your business structure. These wholesalers' benefits include the following:
It improves customers' buying experience
The world is growing to be busier. Jobs are becoming more tasking, and as a result, many people now prefer to shop online in bulk instead of going themselves. In recent times, this change in the B2B buyers' behavior has made ecommerce more fun and exciting, especially when you have built your brand and presence online like those sites.
Today, retail ecommerce businesses have switched and started selling wholesale to change their business growth and hit their targets without huge capital investment or a high level of risk. The truth is wholesale B2B ecommerce is the future of every business because the industry keeps gaining ground with upgrades and advancements in the system daily.
Wholesale ecommerce adds features as simple as a 24/7 self-ordering system that customers can use independently without reaching out to their representatives. Every customer will get a simple ordering and buying experience. Wholesalers should align with the system and enjoy every benefit attached to it while also giving customers an excellent shopping experience.
Automating your manual processes
In the last number of decades, a lot of people mastered selling their products manually. Although many business owners recorded a huge level of success, the truth is the manual process of selling as an e-wholesaler is time and energy-consuming. The advent of technology has made things easier. There is a lot of information available for every business owner now, and as the whole system of selling and buying is changing, it's expedient that they follow suit for business success.
Automation has increased in recent times, and over 70% of businesses now use automation. As a wholesale ecommerce dealer, the best way to operate your business is through automation.
Sometimes, customers' demands can be overwhelming. You may be able to go through the whole stress of replying to every mail, answering every phone, and replying to every query. To avoid this, you need to automate your business for your B2B whole sale ecommerce to run effectively even in your absence.
If you want to be a successful business owner in this dispensation, switching and automating your manual processes of selling and buying products is best.
There are different ways to do this, and the first step is knowing the best ecommerce platform for wholesale that best suits your business. Your job is to research and find the right platform for your business and place your business up there.
Automation will help you carry out significant business-related tasks, including customer checkout, billing, and inventory management. All these will be done right on the app of whichever brand you choose to use for your business. You don't need to see your customers physically or transact by hand.
Get more customers for your wholesale ecommerce
The most interesting thing about the whole wholesale ecommerce business is that physical locations do not limit it. Technology has created a system for every business owner to become omnipresent in the marketplace. Your job as an e-wholesaler is to discover how to create this online presence for your business.
You give your customers more opportunities to find you online and do business with you from anywhere around the globe. Furthermore, selling wholesale on a website or social media is a great opportunity to build your brand identity and awareness. You get to hire a good B2B wholesale website builder to create new markets for your business and reach more prospects without staying in one location.
Generating ideas from real-time data
One of the significant benefits of wholesalers is ecommerce software ability to give you every necessary detail about your customer; their demography, geography, and other things you need to expand your reach as a business owner. Your B2B wholesale websites give you the data of your customers and insight into certain problems you need to solve for your business to grow in leaps and bounds.
These insights will help you generate real-time solutions and ideas for your business. This makes business operations easy and effective compared to the traditional way of doing business, the manual process.
Your wholesale e commerce website gives you data and insights based on the following:
- The pages and products which your customers viewed the most each day/week/month.
- The number of visitors or prospects that clicked on a specific product.
- The average time they spent on your webpage.
- Also, the percentage of customers who didn't stay long to go through the site vs. those who actually viewed your products and stayed throughout.
This data can help your marketing campaigns teams know the strategy to employ, the type of products to put on the website, the pricing and discounts, and if there's anything to fix to turn prospects and visitors into customers. The customer feedback and reviews will also give you more insight into satisfying your customer. All these will help you boost sales and expand your customer reach online.
Selling through mobile devices
Remember, wholesale ecommerce is done via a wholesale B2B website and social media platforms. This means your customers can be anywhere globally, and you don't have to bother about physical locations. Also, it means you can sell while on the go. You don't have to spend time sitting in front of a laptop computer or a desktop transacting with your customers.
You only need internet-connected mobile devices to do all the work you need to do. If you do your due diligence, you will hit your business goals without stress. All you need to do is find quality and authentic information about certain products you want to sell and automate using your mobile device.
eCommerce makes it easy for business owners to market products and enable their customers to purchase through mobile phones. It's a great opportunity to automate and sell your products to multiply your profit.
Benefits of Wholesale eCommerce
How to Choose a Wholesale eCommerce Software
There are many eсommerce platforms out there that solve different problems in businesses. To choose the best eсommerce platform for your B2B ecommerce business, you need to consider some important factors, including the following.
Fits your budget
You need to choose the one that fits your budget. Ask for the setup and maintenance fee, then make your decision based on this information. Also, know how much it will cost to update your eсommerce platform each time there's a need for that and see if it's within your capacity.
You can't be a standalone wholesale B2B ecommerce business owner. You need to partner with other brands by integrating their platforms into your wholesale ecommerce software for seamless transactions and patronage. Find out about different features you can integrate with different B2B wholesale platforms and choose the one that can suit your needs.
SEO and content marketing opportunities
Before buyers buy products, they search for them online as much as they can. This is why you need to ensure that your wholesale ecommerce platform is SEO optimized and can quickly come up in search engines. You need to grasp how to create good and quality content to drive traffic to your ecommerce platform.
More so, you need attention-grabbing features to keep them locked on your site till they become your clients and not just visitors or prospects. You need a page to reveal the features of your products, either descriptions or technical specifications, to boost their confidence and pay for your products.
Browse directories and search capabilities
Always ensure that your customers can locate the exact products they are searching for; if you have an extensive catalog integrated with different SKUs, you need to make sure that customers can find the exact products they need. To solve this problem, you can create a system that can help your customers filter their searches. This will make shopping on your ecommerce platform easier. You can as well use Artificial intelligence technology to perform this function on your site.
The versatility of payment
As a B2B business owner, you need to ensure that your payment system is seamless and doesn't give your customers issues regardless of the country and the currency they use for transactions. Create a convenient payment gateway for everyone for smooth business operations. Have another option for those using credit cards because not everyone wants to keep a huge amount of money in their account.
Which platform is best for wholesales?
There are various wholesale platforms for different businesses. You can choose the one that suits your business depending on your needs and the products you sell and buy. You need to select the one with the features that can best serve your business and help your business run smoothly.
To make your choice easier, we have selected the 10 most popular B2B online wholesale platforms that wholesalers use.
10 Best Wholesale eCommerce Platforms
1. Virto Commerce
Gartner Peer Insights: 4.3
A fully composable B2B-first eCommerce Platform that aims for innovation.
- Open-source code, easy maintenance
- Modular architecture that allows for a seamless upgrade or reconfiguration
- Headless, API-based — can be integrated with most third-party apps
- Offers microservices
- Short trial period (30 days) and no free version
- Small ecosystem, but agile architecture to build whatever features are needed
- Requires customization and some programming knowledge
Virto is a fully modular online wholesale platform that can fit a business of any size. This future-proofed solution guarantees it is flexible enough to build any of the needed features once they appear. Fits wholesalers as it offers great scalability, fast performance, and easy integration with any of the third-party apps.
2. BigCommerce B2B
Gartner Peer Insights: 4.4
A BigCommerce wholesale B2B edition of the ecommerce platform with features built-in add-ons and extensions.
- Integrates with third-party apps well
- Customer order information details
- Multichain ecommerce management
- >Outdated back-end interface
- No additional fields can be created at checkout
- No capability to personalize prices and other details for clients
- No multi-site available
- Challenging product filtering
It is a popular solution that is actually becoming outdated pretty fast. It might be good for small businesses, but wholesalers who want to enter new markets and develop their businesses may encounter many challenges.
Gartner Peer Insights: 4.4
One of the cheapest ecommerce platforms for beginners.
- User-friendly back end
- Great customer service
- Lack of integration with third-party apps
- Many additional features are paid
- SEO needs improvement
- Lacks speed in performance
- No multilanguage support is included. The feature needs additional development.
This is a trendy solution among beginners in ecommerce for wholesale distribution! However, the level of performance doesn’t fit big enterprises. Moreover, if your business needs many features to develop, the initial cost-effective price turns into continuous payments for each module.
4. Adobe Commerce (Magento)
Gartner Peer Insights: 4.1
AI-based ecommerce platform for distributors aimed at better CX.
- Rich Feature List
- Easy deployment
- Multistore features
- The solution is quite buggy
- Requires many resources and an expensive hosting
- Complicated coding, sometimes requires specific developers
- Very expensive add-ons necessary to add some features
- Lacks speed in performance
Adobe Commerce, formerly Magento, is an easy-to-use solution for small stable businesses. Wholesalers may lack the performance and some useful features that take much time and effort to add and reconfigure.
Gartner Peer Insights: 4.6
An open-source ecommerce platform for midsize companies and large enterprises.
- Easy deployment
- Big list of ready features
- Open-source architecture
- Limited amount of extensions
- Sometimes works incorrectly in the Windows environment, slow to work in the native one
- Really complex and hard to learn for beginners
A modern open-source platform that could be a good choice for ambitious wholesalers. However, the platform is still being developed and customized, so it is better to build a separate Linux environment for its correct work.
6. Oracle Commerce Cloud
Gartner Peer Insights: 4.2
A unified SaaS ecommerce platform.
- Multiple currencies support
- Good customer service
- Customer pricing customization
- The search system lacks many useful features
- Poor documentation and knowledge base
- Not transparent pricing models
- Sometimes can be slow
A big SaaS platform, which means any changes should be confirmed with the vendor, so it’s hard to develop as quickly as needed.
TrustRadius: 8.4 out of 10
A customizable, open-source ecommerce platform built on WordPress.
- Plug-and-play architecture, easy to install
- Many plugins and features
- Many free features
- >Many add-ons are needed to expand the functionality
- Can conflict with third-party plugins
- Too dependent on WordPress in terms of design and UI
- Back-end performance is slow
- The structure is not good for big ecommerce websites
- Really basic reports and search features >
A WordPress-based ecommerce platform for those who build their ecommerce on WordPress. Slow to scale due to the deep dependence on Wordpress. It could be hard to create a quickly-developing unique ecommerce project.
8. TradeGecko (QuickBooks Commerce)
TrustRadius: 7.6 out of 10
A cloud-based SaaS ecommerce platform aimed at inventory and management.
- Easy implementation
- Supports multiple currencies and warehouses
- Poor reporting features
- Software bugs after new updates
- It can be slow and highly depends on the internet connection
- Lacks support quality
- Hard to customize
Not so popular, this SaaS wholesale B2B platform can work well for those who need everything here and now. However, software bugs and poor client services can lead to very unstable system performance.
TrustRadius: 9.0 out of 10
A PHP ecommerce platform for building online stores.
- Offers a free plan
- Provides ecommerce hosting
- Multivendor and localization
- Programming knowledge is required to set up and configure
- Outdated templates
- Buggy updates
- Poor mobile compatibility
- Requires a lot of customization
Just like any platform with free features, this platform is just too common for building a website on it. Though it offers some localization, any upgrade would require you to ensure it all works correctly. Moreover, you would probably need to hire an additional wholesale website builder to reach your goals.
TrustRadius: 7.7 out of 10
An entirely free and open-source ecommerce platform.
- User-friendly back end
- Big features (plugins) set
- Limited reporting features
- Poor mobile compatibility
- Lacks training and knowledge base
- Each module is paid
- Can be slow and unstable
Another free B2B wholesale platform that is built for “all kinds of” websites and online wholesale marketplaces. The big list of features doesn’t guarantee the platform offers the unique features you need, so you would probably need to consider third-party systems to perform some of the wholesale tasks.
As you can see, not all of the platforms can provide the level of services required by modern wholesale ecommerce. Below, we provide some tips on how to start your wholesale ecommerce journey efficiently.
How to Start a Wholesale eCommerce Store
Starting a wholesale ecommerce store is very straightforward. It's just about getting quality and practical information that will guide you to do the needful and get the desired results. To build a standard whole sale ecommerce store, you need to have everything you need at hand and follow the steps below.
Understand your project needs.
For a successful wholesale business, you must understand your project needs before creating a wholesale e-commerce platform to meet those needs.
First, understand the kind of products you want to sell. There are millions of products ranging from clothes, shoes, books and other popular products. Your job is to find out the products you want to sell before building a store for them.
Second, understand who your competitors are in the market. Know who is the highest dealer in your niche. Research your products, know who your key competitors are, then decide how your products will be distinct from theirs, and build a store that suits the product.
Furthermore, it's important you choose the payment option you want for your business. Would you like your customers to pay via credit cards? Or do you want them to pay on delivery? Make a choice before building your wholesale ecommerce store online.
Identify your potential challenges.
Also, before you can build a successful whole sale ecommerce business, you need to identify the kind of challenges you might be faced with and how you can rectify them. Challenges like account creation and usage by customers, sometimes they can't pay through their accounts. Also, discover certain regulations surrounding your products before venturing into them.
Know the goals of ecommerce.
You can only be a successful wholesale ecommerce business owner if you have your goals in place. Defining your goals allows you to know you have achieved your objectives and have become a successful wholesale b2b ecommerce business owner. Your goals are personal to you and depend on what you want to achieve in your business.
eCommerce for Wholesalers: Websites Examples
There are different ecommerce sites out there that are running successfully today with millions of users. Let's look at some of them and their uniqueness.
Casey's Distributing deals with memorabilia materials. It works with numerous users across North America. Carsey's Distributing has distributed for over 50 manufacturers, overshooting the 50,000 SKUs.
Casey's Distributing has tried to work with wholesale ecommerce platforms, including Magento, WooCommerce, Shopify, and several others. They manage over 50,000 stock codes every year, which require different updates. Within a month, Casey's Distributing grew from working with an old, out-of-date website to a modern, more interactive site with BigCommerce.
Clarion Safety Systems
Clarion Safety Systems has been operating in the B2B market for over 25 years designing and producing product safety labels and signage. They moved to BigCommerce later on after several issues they had online. Also, Casey's Distributing brand has been able to automate its business from navigation to checkout, giving customers a more incredible experience during shopping.
eCommerce wholesale website example — Clarion Safety Systems
Berling Packaging started out in the late 1930s as a Tinplate packaging brand, but the brand is now a big ecommerce store of modern glass and plastic. The wholesale B2B brand sells to numerous businesses worldwide.
Due to functionality, easy configuration, and pricing, Berling Packaging uses BigCommerce as its ecommerce platform. Berling has over 200 partner vendors, and they leverage BigCommerce APIs to sort their shipping integrations.
Berlin Packaging ecommerce store
How Virto Commerce Can Help with Your Wholesale eCommerce Project
Virto Commerce is a solution aimed at the future success of its clients. The developing team doesn’t live in today only but looks into the ecommerce future. Here are the features that Virto offers to all its wholesale customers:
- API allows easy integration with any system that belongs to you or any of your retailers.
- Transparent and controllable logistics and warehouse due to included process management features.
- Great scalability for your sales on loaded days. Faster than other wholesale platforms.
- Extensive customization and search capabilities.
- Dedicated customer support and training.
As the platform is tailored to comply with the requirements of global enterprise wholesale solutions, it is the best fit for large operations that wholesalers have. Experienced in building ecommerce solutions for large enterprises, the team offers a free demo for those who need to ensure the solution offers everything they need.
It can be deduced that wholesale ecommerce is a transaction that exists between two businesses. Every business owner must seek to build an online presence because of the advance in technology that's currently influencing customers' behavior toward business. Wholesale commerce digital solutions help you to automate your business for smooth operations and a better user experience. And if you want to run a wholesale business online, an excellent way to automate your business and ensure customer satisfaction is by adopting ecommerce for wholesale distributors.
In case you need any additional consultation, reach out to our wholesale experts to learn more.