Wholesale Portal: 6 Steps to Make it Successful

migrating to an online order portal or Ecommerce

B2B Ecommerce portal options have proliferated in recent years, buoyed by a slow and steady shift to more modern capabilities. If you’re evaluating what will work for a wholesale portal for your business, keep in mind that not every solution was made equal.

For instance, like any software decision, you’ll need to decide between open source, on-premise or SaaS software (Zoey falls into the latter category).

You may have a solution like an ERP that has a portal, or buy other software that includes a wholesale portal as an added value feature. What that means means is you’re getting something that’s secondary to the main features of that system, and that generally means limited capabilities and difficult usability for both you and your buyers. That usually spells trouble.

Meanwhile, the expectation from buyers is growing to have a way to make purchases online with brands, wholesalers and distributors.

With that in mind, let’s look at six steps you can take to ensure a wholesale portal will be successful:

  1. Select a portal your buyers will want to use.
  2. Select a portal your team will want to use.
  3. Make sure your portal has the information it needs to encourage orders.
  4. Drive awareness of your portal.
  5. Make sure your portal it’s linked to other critical business systems.
  6. Have your sales team involved with the portal.

Let’s dive into each aspect!

1. Select a wholesale portal your buyers will want to use.

If your buyers aren’t going to like and use an order portal that you deploy for their benefit, there isn’t much sense in going any further. So it’s critical that while you’re analyzing what makes sense for the business, you ensure that whatever you’re deploying is also something that your buyers will find intuitive and helpful, not frustrating and challenging.

Some things to look for can include:

  • Broad compatibility across devices – web, tablet and mobile support that works well across all devices.
  • Streamlined ordering flow – not a lot of clicking around to build and place complex orders.
  • B2B-specific functionalityQuick Order, reorders, Net Terms and other capabilities that will let buyers do what they need to do.

2. Select a wholesale portal your team will want to use.

Of course, your team will have to support your buyers, and maintain information, on a regular basis in such a portal, so it’s also important that the tools for your team are potent and available as well. This should include:

  • Data segmentation – Limit areas of the back end to only those who need to see it; only show customers or orders to the team members who manage those customers/orders, and so on.
  • Easy order management/creation – You should be able to create orders with ease too, on behalf of your buyers, when necessary. You should also be able to review and update orders as needed.
  • Easy management of customers and products – While your wholesale portal may not be your “single source of truth” for data, that doesn’t mean your team won’t be in the backend regularly, and as such the ability to look up products and customers, make simple changes and so forth is still an important aspect of things. If the portal is your central source for data, it’s even more critical.

3. Make sure your wholesale portal has the information it needs to encourage orders.

A portal is only as good as the information available on it. As such, a wholesale portal should be able to support a variety of information, including:

  • Segmented products, pricing, billing and shipping options – Your buyers are not uniformly the same, and therefore your portal should support segmentation of data, presenting what is relevant to each buyer.
  • Order history and management – The days of having to reach out to customer support for updates and the ability to review old orders should be over, but in some cases this isn’t true just yet. Not only is being able to track orders helpful to reducing support calls, but also the ability to find orders and quickly reorder items helps encourage more sales.
  • Detailed product catalog, including images – Catalogs are being replaced by order portals, so having the level of information that used to be available in print can unlock more sales.
  • Faceted search – The ability to search via various attributes, and having strong search (including fuzzy matching for inevitable typos) will help your buyers more quickly find what they’re looking for.

4. Drive awareness of your wholesale portal.

Once you’ve got your portal up and running, it’s time to drive attention to the fact you have it and encourage adoption. A “Wholesale” link in the footer of your website won’t cut it.

That means taking some helpful steps like:

  • Full marketing campaign – Send out emails, run webinars for buyers, have your sales team educate their clients about the portal and its benefits.
  • Use the portal yourself right away –  have your sales and customer support teams use the portal for their order creation and updates, so buyers get email and status alerts from the portal and begin to get used to it.
  • Encourage migration – If buyers attempt other forms of purchasing, such as phone or email, shift them into the portal to complete the transaction, such as creating Sales Quotes that they can approve. Not only does this get buyer uptake, but it can help reduce order errors.

5. Make sure your wholesale portal is linked to other critical business systems.

Capturing orders through a portal is step one for many businesses. Ensuring links to other critical business systems is a good best practices that reduces data duplication errors and also speeds up the ability for your business to capture payments, process orders and consolidate information into the system that is serving as your centralized hub.

6. Have your sales team involved with the wholesale portal.

Your sales team will benefit from an order portal too – it’s not designed to replace them so much as supplement their efforts so they can get to more of their customers, and drive more overall orders. Something that can further assist the sales team is the availability of a mobile Sales Rep App, which can facilitate taking orders while out in the field or away from a computer, online or off, further serving to reduce order entry errors and optimizing order placement and processing.

Zoey’s wholesale portal can help your business accelerate sales.

Zoey’s order portal capabilities is one part of a complete solution that can serve your buyers and internal stakeholders alike, providing best-in-class tools for both. If you’re not familiar with what we have to offer, check out a demo of our product to learn how we can strengthen the toolkit for your team’s success:

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