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Finding A New Norm In A Post Brick-And-Mortar World

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More than 7,100 retail store closures have been announced so far this year. And as eCommerce develops into a perceived necessity among consumers, more closings could be on the way.

Remain relevant and continue to scale, despite the decline of in-store shopping, by reinventing your brand in the B2B space. Catering to both B2C and B2B buyers can help pave the way for additional revenue.

Home Depot, for example, experienced a 23% increase in online sales, along with 4.9% growth in total sales, after shifting some of its focus toward professional clients. Set the stage for a similar boost in business by leveraging existing strengths to enter the B2B market. From cross-country distribution to brick-and-mortar infrastructure, taking advantage of current capabilities can help you gain a leg up on the competition and engage B2B buyers even as brick-and-mortar becomes a thing of the past.

Making The Most Of Existing Capabilities

Even as you attempt to reach B2B buyers, it’s worth keeping an eye on what’s happening in the B2C space. One company that’s especially worth watching is Instacart. Using a crowdsourced delivery model, Instacart has partnered with local grocery stores and retailers to deliver products in as little as an hour. Instacart makes it easy for local retailers to compete with the convenience of big-name brands such as Amazon. Rather than investing in a delivery fleet, the retailers can leverage their pre-existing network of brick-and-mortar stores to either retain or win back market share.

Although there’s plenty to gain from using your distribution capabilities to meet the needs of B2B buyers, take the following few considerations into account before rolling out a shipping strategy.

– Omnichannel order fulfillment: Regardless of whether an order is being placed online, in-store or with a salesperson, there shouldn’t be much debate over the availability of specific inventory. Clear up any confusion over order fulfillment by providing each staff member with insight into your company’s inventory. The greater visibility there is across channels, the easier it will be to satisfy the expectations of B2B buyers.

– A consistent purchasing experience: When it comes to earning the loyalty of B2B buyers, consistency is crucial. Customers want to know they’re going to have access to the same payment options no matter which channel they use. Not only should you consider standardizing payment options across channels, but it would also be helpful to offer custom pricing contracts, purchase controls, relationship pricing and payment terms wherever a customer does business.

– Potential freight charges: Without contracts for bulk shipments, last-mile delivery expenses can quickly add up. Carefully consider the cost of shipping before taking on the responsibility of delivering products to B2B buyers. In some cases, outsourcing delivery by partnering with crowdsourced delivery companies may be your best bet.

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