This article originally appeared on Outside Business Journal
If your brand wants to deliver premium services to their retail partners, modern digital cataloging and merchandising tools are crucial. Retailers still have a strong desire to touch and feel products with face-to-face interactions. However, the changes our industry has faced over the last few years have highlighted the indispensable value of a hybrid B2B sales model. Hybrid models are flexible, allowing for timely interactions, rapid responses during times of collaboration, and more relevant experiences for your retailers.
This kind of premium experience can only be delivered through your wholesale B2B e-commerce platform. It's the destination your retailers use every day. It connects them with your brand, delivers education, provides order tools, and delivers the experience that helps build a loyal community.
Brands that harness their B2B's digital tools to support the collaborative merchandising step of the buying process benefit from deeper collaboration, and a smarter, more process-forward buying journey. Additionally, those brands will be working uniformly across all their retail partners, regardless of whether the experience is in-person or through the use of digital tools like Envoy B2B. That uniformity of experience pays dividends in time saved, with less mistakes, and greater engagement - all of which lead to growth.
Using digital catalogs and visual merchandising at the buying table
Before meeting with your retailers, it's important to set your team up for success. They'll need access to a flexible digital catalog, and a workbook of your seasonal story and product offering. Building these digital catalogs inside your B2B keeps the messaging on brand, and gives your reps an easy way to offer a dynamic, always up-to-date catalog of products for their accounts. And, it's all shopable in-platform or delivered as a PDF.
Management and distribution: distributing digital catalogs to your rep force
Envoy B2B feature--Page Template Builder: The Envoy B2B Page Template Builder can be used by admins to author digital catalog PDFs aligned with your messaging. Offering digital catalogs in this format is critical. It's the deliverable your retailers expect to receive before meeting with your brand to collaborate and place their buy.
Assortment workbook templates: Assortment Templates deliver a starting point for your reps to create a personal workbook experience. This experience will see heavy use at this stage of the buying process. Reps will be able to put all relevant product information in one place, allowing them to easily deliver presentations and focus the meeting. Additionally, retailers can also access this information during and after the meeting, for consistent messaging.
Preparation, personalization, and delivery
Envoy B2B feature--Assortment Campaigns: Now it's time for your reps to share that personalized assortment workbook they've created. When shared within Envoy B2B, reps can see their account's activity and interaction with each assortment. This provides a clear view into the level of engagement and knowledge they can expect as they head into the collaborative order process.
The Meeting: in-person or virtual real-time meeting
Envoy B2B feature--Assortment Experience: The workbook that was distributed to each account before the meeting is the same one your reps will use when in-person. Your retailer may have also downloaded a PDF version to use during the meeting. Having retailers download the PDF ahead of time is helpful, and should be encouraged.
During the meeting, the "Learn" section of the workbook will be used to pitch the brand and key stories. Reps can walk through what products are available and show what is being considered for the buy in the "View Product" section. Lastly, the "Merchandise" section can actively show the selection of products that are being curated into an assortment. And the best part is, any changes made during the meeting are reflected and available for the retailer, regardless of if they choose to work directly in the platform or download the PDF.
Envoy B2B feature--CheckMate experience: Your brand can leverage our integration with CheckMate alongside the Assortment Workbook. This integration enables 3D models of your products to be used in a virtual Showroom while merchandising. The resulting assortment selections can then easily be made available in Envoy B2B for further assortment building and ordering. This experience can be made available for your retailers to use on their own, or it can be used within the meeting as another engaging experience.
The role of visually merchandising the buy
Envoy B2B feature--Ordering and Visualization: A few brands will jump right to this step, sharing an order with merchandised shipments. Some brands will end the meeting prior to this step, giving the retailer a chance to construct their own order, based on the collaborative experience that occurred during the meeting. Both ways work. Only your brand can determine the best path. It will likely vary from account to account. In cases where assortment workbooks are used, it's a simple process to transition the resulting assortment into an order with multiple shipments for the season. Assortment workbooks can easily become the basis for creating a pre-season order, and orders can have each shipment visually merchandised.
By focusing on just a part of the seasonal buyer’s journey, we can see the critical value these digital tools provide. It's easy to understand the impact they have as your brand works to support your retailers and grow your wholesale revenue. That means relying on your B2B - in combination with your reps - to deliver meaningful interactions with retailers at every stage of the buying process.
Digital catalogs and merchandising tools have earned their place at the buying table. It's up to brands to get on board and use them effectively if they want to support their retail partners and grow their bottom line. Envoy B2B can help. Get in touch to learn more about how we can energize your retailers and power up your brand.
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