Many wholesalers are taking the steps to get their business trading online.

Those wholesalers and manufacturers are finding that their B2B ecommerce website targeted at providing self-service ordering solutions to existing customers, whilst attracting brand new business, is fast becoming their highest performing salesman. But how should these businesses start considering what impact mobile can have on their sales?

In the three months leading up to May 2012, 30% of all mobile subscribers downloaded a mobile app. Considering that there are currently 6 billion mobile phone subscribers, this represents a significant and real marketing opportunity for B2B businesses to start considering very seriously. With this explosion of growth in mobile and tablets, the next opportunity lies for wholesalers to explore how a portion of their customer database will want to interact with their business via mobile devices. One cost-effective opportunity is looking at taking brochure catalogues and making them available as a downloadable app.

Certainly, print brochures that are updated throughout the year and sent to customers remain a relevant sales tool for the wholesale sector. However, as Epsilon Executive Vice President Eric Stein emphasises that ‘the integration of both digital and print media is vital’. B2C Retailers are certainly taking advantage of harnessing the power of combining print and digital effectively. Consumers receive a regular catalogue through the post and will, as a result then go onto to interact with the website and place an order.

For many wholesalers, print catalogues are necessary sales tools but expensive to produce and costs to send are high, they can also quickly go out of date. Printed product brochures remain relevant to many wholesalers in order to cater to that percentage of their customers who are not yet ready for digital. However, with many trade customers getting more accustomed to working with digital channels, the opportunity to provide multiple ways for your different customer segments to interact with your company products really is an opportunity not to be missed.

The many advantages of digital catalogues are that once accessed, it has a lower removal rate. Physical catalogues are more likely to be thrown away unlike a company catalogue app, its space saving and ease of accessibility is more likely to be retained for longer, especially as it is updated automatically. In fact this ability to update your app with new products and information as it comes to hand versus waiting twice yearly to update your printed catalogue is one of the main benefits to investing in a catalogue app. “MyStyle”, importers and wholesalers of quality bathroom products asked Williams Commerce to produce an app that allows their customers to browse their product range via a contemporary app and then connects directly to the My Style website to place orders. Annika Abrol, MyStyle’s Marketing Director said “The main aim of the app is for our brochure to be available to our customers anytime, it’s like having the brochure to hand 24/7”. Annika further talks about the benefits it offers for her trade customers, who are bathroom retailers. These retailers are also able to use the app in store to show their customers the products and the RRP prices quickly and easily through their iPad or mobile phone.

With some firms expected to invest significant sums on mobile channels in the coming year to drive their business growth, have you thought about how your business could benefit from the opportunity represented by the app economy? A digital catalogue could be a simple, cost effective step for your business to take to enhance your customers experience, open up new channels for communication and drive new business leads to your website.

Once a mobile channel is established, businesses can continue to evolve their presence by creating a QR code for example, for everyone to access your catalogues directly from their mobile devices. QR codes can link directly to the download of your digital catalogue app which is yet another way to make it even easier for people to access your product ranges. Have a go and scan in Williams Commerce’s QR code and see how easy it can be for your customers to access your content too.

See the Williams Commerce QR code below, or view our blog on your mobile device, scan the QR code on the right of this page.

Reference

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Hubspot. (2012). Top 5 Mobile Marketing Case Studies & How-Tos. Available: http://www.hubspot.com/Portals/53/thirdparty/marketingsherpa-top-5-mobile-marketing-case-studies-&-how-tos.pdf . Last accessed 23/10/2012.

Krogue, K. (2012). The Death of SEO: The Rise of Social, PR, And Real Content. Available: http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenkrogue/2012/07/20/the-death-of-seo-the-rise-of-social-pr-and-real-content/ . Last accessed 24/10/2012.

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If you’re a B2B or B2C company interested in understanding more about a catalogue app for your business, call one of our experienced business advisors today on 0116 326 1116 or email us at [email protected]