Wholesale eCommerce launch
On Friday, we launched a wholesale eCommerce store, selling office and home supplies. We’re focusing on wholesale to retailers in Ireland initially, soon we’ll then aim to sign up stockists internationally. I discuss how I set this up in a day in my last post here.
In this post, I’m going to go through some of the digital marketing tools I use to make a professional impression to the retailers.
We launched the wholesale Supplies store for two reasons. Firstly, it’s a great way for me to demo our software to retailers and wholesalers, so they can try it out, and play around with the software. Also, and very importantly, it is going to help me better understand what is needed to roll-out wholesale eCommerce successfully so that I can provide good information through this blog and in our product decisions.
So, as my first marketing push, I’m planning to visit retail stores in Dublin to tell them about our service and get them signed up to the system, so they can see how to order using the app, and maybe even buy something! In the past two days, I put some time into preparing the digital marketing material I need to make a good first impression to the stores I visit. So I thought I’d share them here.
Digital marketing props for a winning first impression
Firstly, I want to make sure that when the retailers visit my site, that they can take an action and get the help they need. So I set up a newsletter sign up form on our website. Also I added a helpdeskfor dealing with customer support issues.
Next, I want to make each visit with a retailer counts. So, I made a 5-question survey that I plan to ask the retailers. I found simple enlisting software for an iPad, so that I can collect signups from the retailers I visit. Later today I’m also working on email templates for follow-up emails after meeting the retailers. After hitting the streets to meet the retailers, I just want to be able to hit send once I get back to the office.
Sounds like a lot of stuff and it is, but as my irish teacher used to say ‘Tus maith leath na hOibre’ (A good start gets half the work done’). And, I found some pretty nifty tools for all of this too, which I’m going to share in this post.
I found a great wordpress plugin by Campaign Monitor to attract newsletter subscribers.
Just to confuse things, I’m promoting both B2B Supplies, the wholesale shop, and iStockist, the software to the retailers. The support site I’m talking about is for iStockist, (this very site you’re reading this post on) since B2B Supplies is just a bare-bones wholesale eCommerce service for now. This type of newsletter signup might be suitable for your marketing site or blog.
My newsletter signup looks like this:
I also wanted to make sure it was super-easy for people to ask us a question, so I set up some helpdesk software using GrooveHQ. We’re not ready for a full-blown always-on chat messaging widget yet, we just don’t have a big enough support team for that yet. With this software, I added a simple and modern way for people to send us questions and for us to response to them and make sure everyone gets a response.
I’ve got a list of 5 questions that I would like to know from the retailer. It’s going to help me to understand them better. It will also help me structure the conversation so that we cover a lot in a short amount of time. Retailers are busy people, so unless they want to talk for longer, I’m assuming my conversations with them are going to be approx 3 mins each.
I’m using Survey monkey to create the survey. I found it really easy to set up a survey, and also gives me some nice charts and analysis of the results. I’ll do a deeper dive into this in another post.
A key objective when I go to meet the retailers is to collect the emails of everyone interested in seeing Wholesale Supplies and trying iStockist. I needed a simple, modern way to do this. If I turned up to a store with a pen and paper, it would kind of spoil the seamless one-touch experience we want to provide 🙂
So luckily again thanks to the good folks at campaign monitor, there’s a lovely, easy-to-setup iPad app called Enlist which gives you a snazzy way to enlist new users. Here’s my first draft using Enlist
I can now either hand the iPad mini to the retailer so they fill in the details, or more likely I will fill it in for them. The end result is a list of people who’ve registered their interest, who I can then invite to visit B2B Supplies and iStockist.
This afternoon I’m going to write my draft emails, ahead of time. In the templates, I will thank the retailers for their time, and then after the visit, I’ll add in any additional information that I discussed with the retailer when I met them. I’ll go into email templates in another post, but for now, I’d just like to share this Tim Ferris article Harrys Pre-launcher Email which gives some amazing templates and an incredible referral strategy and success story.
Any questions? Feel free to contact us.