Elements of a Wholesale eCommerce Site

If you are a business that sells wholesale goods and services in the digital age, it’s important to find a good wholesale eCommerce platform to help your company grow. It is estimated that there are more than 400,000 wholesale businesses in the US alone, with sales over $7 trillion. With these kinds of numbers, it’s easy to understand why having eCommerce capabilities is a must. 

Here are some elements of a good wholesale eCommerce site to keep in mind.

Streamlined, Automated Process

When it comes to eCommerce for wholesale, having a process that’s automated and streamlined from start to finish is crucial. When people show up on your site, they want to perform the fewest actions possible in the most straightforward way possible, to place orders and get what they need. Elements such as a simple reordering process, and the ability to review, modify and confirm orders makes the whole process easy to use, which often results in long-term customers.

Custom Pricing Options

When you’re able to create custom pricing based on a number of different variables, it gives you quite a bit of freedom and flexibility in your business. Features like tiered pricing based on the customer’s account level or purchase volume and percentage discounts enable you to reward certain customers for placing orders with you. As an example, you can set up different discounts for ordering various quantities, with the discounts becoming deeper the more they order.

Account Management

Since wholesale eCommerce sites consist of customers making recurring purchases, being able to manage their accounts within the platform adds an element of convenience. It also helps you keep all of the account information organized and easy to retrieve should the need arise.

Purchase Orders as Payment Options

Utilizing purchase order numbers as the method of payment benefits the supplier in a few different ways. Some of the most notable include:

  • Avoiding duplicate orders
  • Keeping track of incoming orders
  • Helps with budgeting and planning
  • Helps control and track spending
  • Provides legal protection
  • Enhances inventory management

Hidden Products for Specific Customers

Having products on your wholesale eCommerce site that only certain customers can access allows you to customize the site and build relationships with specific customers to new levels. You can have product listings that require a special login to view or customer-specific catalogs that you create that have been modified to suit their unique needs.

It’s no secret that every business has clients and customers that mean more to the bottom line than others. And while your customer service should be steady across the board, being able to give extras like hidden products to select customers in an automated system is a big benefit.

Easy Integration of Business Systems

The integration of various business systems that your company depends on to run efficiently is an added bonus of effective wholesale eCommerce sites. The overriding goal of any online sales platform is to have all of the components you need to carry on your day-to-day business and scale your business in the most convenient way possible.

Some of the systems that may be integrated include:

  • 3PL (Third-party logistics)
  • OMS (Order management system)
  • ERP (Enterprise resource planning)
  • CRM (Customer relationship management)

Benefits of eCommerce for Wholesale

If you have yet to embrace the advantages of having an eCommerce site for your wholesale business, here are some benefits that are hard to ignore:

  • Ability to reach far more prospective customers
  • Can scale and grow much faster
  • Better customer service
  • Less invasive for customers
  • Greater customer retention
  • Ability to collect more data about your customers
  • Lower overall costs
  • The store is open 24/7
  • You can personalize the experience for customers
  • Greater flexibility and freedom in pricing and offers
  • Can process a high volume of orders easily

It’s no secret that wholesalers can take their business to an entirely new level with a quality eCommerce website, but it doesn’t end there. Having a sound marketing strategy in place that will magnify your eCommerce efforts is the most efficient way to reach your goals. Get in touch with us today to set up a discovery call and get the process started.

Local Pickup with Shopify eCommerce Websites

One of the biggest challenges with the current circumstances is getting customers in the door. In these times we’ve found the eCommerce and shipping have been growing exponentially but that comes with a lot of headaches, logistics and costs. Doing this quickly can lead to loss of profits, poor customer experience and a decreased motivation for eCommerce when it’s needed most.

Shopify is combating the eCom & Ship only model by launching Local Pickup, a way for you to now set up local pickup for your eCommerce store.

Learn more about local pickup

There are a few requirements that we feel for a small business just getting started, should be easy to meet:

Prefer to deliver locally but don’t want people outside your area purchasing?

We’ve developed a way to constrain the buying area to your delivery radius. Purchasers can shop your products, add to cart, enter zip for verification and then checkout on your website while picking a delivery day that works for them and you. This feature combined with store pickup will allow you to have a truly local eCommerce website to serve your community.

If you’re looking for an eCommerce team with over a decade of experience helping small businesses grow through online sales, then call us today at 757-943-1911

10 eCommerce SEO Tactics

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a vital component of any good digital marketing strategy because it helps connect your products and services with the people that are searching for them online. Typically, we think of SEO as a tool to help your blog posts and web pages rank higher in search results, but it can also play a crucial role for your eCommerce pages. Here are 10 eCommerce SEO tactics to help drive more traffic to your store.

1 – Engaging Product Descriptions

The way you describe the products in your eCommerce store is an overlooked, but effective tactic to help you stand out from the crowd. You’ll want the content to be engaging to the readers and unique, especially if there are a lot of competitors in your niche. You should also include relevant keywords in your product descriptions that blend seamlessly and seem natural.

2 – Optimize Product Images

Every product page has images and those images should be optimized for best SEO results. Any captions should be clear and concise, there should be alt-text included for each image and if necessary, compress the file sizes so they load quickly. Most customers won’t stick around for too long if images are slow to load.

3 – Customer Reviews

When you have customer reviews for your products, it’s like a signal letting everyone know this is a reputable place to shop and the products are high quality. Research has shown that you can increase conversions when you include reviews on your eCommerce site and Google may view them as fresh content being added regularly, which will help with SEO.

4 – Effective Internal Linking

Both humans and search engines like it when you link to other, relevant content on your website. With an eCommerce site, you have ample opportunity for internal linking as you can link to pages with similar or complimentary products, or to blog posts that go into further detail about the products on a given page. When creating an internal linking strategy, think about pleasing the humans and it will satisfy search engines at the same time.

5 – Straightforward Navigation

Shoppers demand easy navigation when they are shopping online. If you make the process of buying fro you as seamless as possible, you will be rewarded with better search results. If there is a high rate of bounce backs from your site to the search engine, it will seem as though your site doesn’t have the information searchers are looking for and less traffic will be sent your way.

6 – Increase the Speed of Your Site

How quickly your site loads can have an impact on SEO. As mentioned above, it’s a good idea to compress images if they are loading slowly, but you need the whole site to load quickly for optimum results. Aim to be among the fastest loading sites in your niche and you should reduce the number of visitors leaving for your competitors.

7 – Optimize for Mobile

More and more people shop online via mobile devices these days, and it’s a trend that’s only going to grow. Whether you’re a smaller, local business or national brand, it’s imperative to optimize your eCommerce site for mobile if you want people to stick around. And Google’s mobile-first index that prioritizes mobile search results means you’ll likely be left off the first page if you don’t comply.

8 – Manage Out of Stock Products Correctly

When certain products run out of stock or you’ve stopped selling them, the last thing you want to do is just delete the page from your website. People landing on your site and then leaving right away because the page they want is no longer there won’t help with your SEO efforts. Instead, leave the page up and leave a message that explains the item is out of stock or discontinued, with links to relevant, complementary products on other pages. You can also remove the original page and use a 301 redirect that takes them to a relevant product page or blog post.

9 – Keyword Optimization

Keywords are important for your eCommerce site, just as they are for your service pages and blog posts. Much of the time, your titles and product descriptions will include the keywords you want to rank for, but don’t forget to check out competitor sites and search results for your chosen keywords to see what’s ranking now. And since Google is getting more into search intent, consider why your visitors would be searching for the keywords you are targeting and make sure they get it when they land on your website.

10 – Social Media Integration

Integrating your eCommerce site with your social media accounts will give you another weapon in your fight for superior SEO results. Things like social logins, share buttons and driving engagement will all let it be known that your site is one worth visiting. 

These are just a handful of the ways you can make your eCommerce site stand out from the crowd and get noticed by search engines. If you’d like to learn more and find out how we can help you reach new heights with your eCommerce, get in touch today and book a discovery call. 

W3 Affinity Achieves Excellence in eCommerce SEO Services!

W3 Affinity is proud to announce that we have been featured on Clutch.co as a SEO E-commerce leader. Clutch is a Washington D.C. based research and reviews firm that covers thousands of B2B firms in over 500 different industries. Clutch gives buyers the ability to compare similar service companies and identify the ideal partner that will best fulfill their goal within their budget.

Our team is composed of eager and creative people who have deep industry expertise and a customer first mindset. We offer a variety of different services – everything from web design to branding and of course, SEO services. Your site could have an eye-catching design and a cutting-edge logo, but without search engine optimization, your customer will never see it.

That said, you’d think finding an SEO provider that is reliable and trustworthy would be easier. However, too often than not, small businesses who are hands off and lack deep technical knowledge suffer the consequences of black hat SEO tactics. In fact, a Clutch survey found that 1 in 5 clients had a negative experience before they found the right SEO service provider. Given the nature of E-commerce, these clients, in particular, need a partner that is technically savvy, detail oriented, and truly dedicated to the success of their business. As a top SEO service for the e-commerce industry, W3 Affinity is always seeking ways to meet and exceed this standard.

In the relevant press release, a business analyst at Clutch noted the unique qualities of the companies featured:

“In an increasingly digital world, SEO and PPC are critical tools to elevate your brand’s online visibility and reach a wider target audience than traditional advertising permits,” said Sara Philibotte, business analyst at Clutch. “We compiled a carefully vetted list of top SEO and PPC agencies informed by market research and in-depth client reviews. If you’re searching for a partner to help you drive sales, we recommend selecting from these teams with demonstrated success and verified expertise.”

We’d like to give a big thanks to all our customers who have given us such positive reviews on Clutch.co and helped us receive top accolades in the ecommerce space both on Clutch, and their sister website, The Manifest. For business inquiries or questions, please contact us here.

WooCommerce vs Shopify [Business Owner vs Developer]

woocommerce vs shopify

WooCommerce vs Shopify

I wanted to approach this topic from two perspectives, the business owners view on WooCommerce vs Shopify and the developers view on WooCommerce vs Shopify. Both of these platforms have their merits and would make excellent online stores for any business to get off the ground on. We’ll dig into which is better for you as a small business owner in the short run and long run and give you a clear winner from both points of view. We’ll rate it in 3 categories, Ability to Grow and Scale, Ease of Store Management, Cost of Doing Business for the business owner and Ease of customization, Ability to get to market, ease of client management for the developer.

WooCommerce vs Shopify from a Business Owner’s Perspective

Being one of the most popular DIY eCommerce platforms on the web today, WooCommerce definitely has it’s strengths when it comes to this comparison. Shopify really shot into the market as a top option though and took DIY eCommerce business owner’s hearts while the did it with a heavy focus on user experience. Let’s dig into our 3 categories!

Ability to Grow – Winner: Shopify

This one from a business owner’s point of view is clear, how well can I grow within this platform? Both systems have plug-in/add-on markets that allow you to expand your reach, interact with your customers, and continue to expand the value of your shop online. Out of the box, Shopify has a multitude of FREE add-ons that make growing the business easy and cost-effective, vs WooCommerce, those plug-ins can start to add up. An advantage to WooCommerce, many of the add-ons are one time fees, versus Shopify’s month to month costs associated with many 3rd party apps.

The clear victory in the ability to grow is with Shopify’s scalable system from their Shopify Basic plans up to their Shopify Plus plan (an enterprise level Shopify system designed for big stores that are crushing it online). WooCommerce get’s left in the DIY dust as you begin to really grow your business as it’s small business appeal wears off once you hit the major leagues.

We’ll give this category to Shopify, it’s clear it’s designed to get you started and get you off the ground. It’s lasting value really takes this category.

Ease of Store Management – Winner: Shopify

Managing your online store should be EASY. If it isn’t, then you’ll have a hard time getting in, managing orders, fulfilling customer needs, updating products and so on. Having an online store requires constant updating, product management & sales activity, customer engagement and really managing your customer’s orders in a timely manner. Shopify has a clear victory here with a highly functional admin panel. It’s clearly built to make the business owner’s life easy and it is also clear that this is a top competitor in the eCommerce market with the navigation, search, and categorization of its functionality.

WooCommerce isn’t exactly hard to use though, it’s just that it’s a small part of the WordPress ecosystem in the admin panel and can get lost in all the other options for website management. We recommend setting up a user specifically for store management so that all the noise can be cut out for this user and managing the store can be much easier. This will help improve the value of the admin panel for the business owner.

We gave Shopify a clear victory here. It’s simply the best admin panel we’ve ever used in over 30 eCommerce platforms.

Cost of Doing Business – Winner: Tie WooCommerce & Shopify

This category is tough. We wanted to approach it in a way that makes sense. So we split it into two categories, getting started & growing.

Getting Started with WooCommerce & Shopify – Shopify is a pay to play platform, you’ll need to invest in their packages to get off the ground, this causes the initial getting started costs to bar some DIY companies the want to get onboard. As opposed to WooCommerce, where you can download this plug-in at no cost and try out having an online store.

This comes with some caveats. The minimal fee to get into Shopify on a monthly basis comes with access to a multitude of free apps/add-ons that will allow you to expand your reach quickly. It also gives you access to Shopify’s Payment Processor so that you can begin taking credit cards online, right away! So for the just getting started business, who wants to maintain low overhead, we recommend Shopify if you want the ability to get off the ground at low cost and expand. If you’re just setting up shop to be online with a product, then WooCommerce’s free platform is really a no-brainer, it’s a great system that’ll help you setup your shop quickly (in less than 5 minutes if you know what you’re doing!).

Growing with WooCommerce & Shopify – So you’ve built your site and want to grow, which platform will provide you the best cost of doing business and help you get your product out to market. WooCommerce has plug-ins that’ll help you do this, however, many come at a cost. For instance, if you want to add Google Shopping to your WooCommerce store, look forward to shelling out $80+ to make this happen, whether you use a 3rd party plug-in or WooCommerce’s own plug-in.

Shopify isn’t a stranger to pay to add plug-ins, however, Shopify offers plug-ins like Google Shopping, Facebook Storefront, Amazon & Ebay connections at no charge. This is where Shopify stands apart from the competition. Your monthly fee, includes access to some of the best growth & scaling connections that there are on the webs today.

We gave this category a tie, as it’s only fair to the store owner that wants to get off the ground in a more organic or word of mouth fashion, that WooCommerce is free. If you’re growing through advertising and digital marketing efforts, then Shopify will win as the low monthly cost will cover the use of premium apps, add-ons and store connectors.

Winner for the Business Owner’s Perspective is: Shopify

We feel that as a business owner, you should be looking ahead. What would be best for my business today, tomorrow, next year and so on is the state of mind. When it comes to growth, the minimal monthly fee that Shopify has, really stands you apart from everyone else online. It shows an investment in your future. Shopify comes with SSL, premium apps, the best user experience in an admin panel hands down and all the tools for growth you can ask for in an eCommerce Platform. It’s by far our favorite for business owners.

Check back soon for the Developer’s Perspective. You won’t be disappointed!