5 Reasons Why Small Brands Should Add a B2B eCommerce Platform to Their Go-to-Market Strategy

Oct 12, 2017 | Jon Faber


You run a small but growing Brand. With exciting new product lines, your company plans to implement its go-to-market strategy just like it always has and transform your small brand into a global empire overnight. Sounds great, right?

There’s only one problem: You’re going about it the wrong way, losing time and leaving money on the table in the process.

You’re spending too much time on the phone with reps, you’re keying product numbers into spreadsheets, and you’re processing orders using cobbled-together Shopify hacks. These systems are archaic, they don’t prevent human error, and there are simply too many of them.

And, of course, these systems aren’t really even systems. They’re stopgap measures until you have a real solution in place.

To take just one example, think about how one of your buyers places an order. She talks to a brand rep, who then communicates that order to a brand employee.

Depending upon the process that you have in place, this communication might take hours or days. Wouldn’t it be nice to speed things up?

Worse, there’s no guarantee of 100% accuracy.

It’s the B2B version of the children’s game “Telephone.” Maybe the message gets through perfectly. But, then again, maybe it comes through as a garbled mess.

It’s only natural that people make mistakes—to err is human, after all—but those mistakes cost money and time. They turn what should be a seamless, easy process into one that requires intervention and reshipments.

Your go-to-market strategy, therefore, needs to have a crucial component that solves all these problems: a dedicated, modern B2B platform that is part of your strategy, not just a simple utility.

Below are five reasons why the Envoy B2B platform needs to be part of your go-to-market strategy—especially if you run a small, growing brand.

Reason #1: Many of your retail partners are already using Envoy.

Envoy is used worldwide!

When major brands like Merrell, Saucony, and Converse use a certain platform, you should pay attention. These brands seek efficiency gains in their workflows, and your company—even if it’s a fraction of the size—can reap the benefits of a system that was designed with enterprise-level clients in mind.

But big brands aren’t the only companies that use our platform. Over 55,000 retailers are currently using Envoy.

Are we patting ourselves on the back? A little.

That’s because there’s little to no onboarding required, and companies see immediate gains as a result. In fact, we conducted a survey to find out which platforms retailers preferred using and the results were extremely positive: over 80% said that they preferred Envoy over other B2B platforms.

Envoy isn’t just a bunch of code that sits in the cloud. It's a plug-and-play community of users; retailers and independent reps alike are using our platform at this moment.

When you and your partners are on the same system, there are no time lags, compatibility issues, or headaches.

Reason #2: Using a dedicated B2B platform is scalable.

Using spreadsheets won’t help you grow your company’s revenue by a factor of 10. In fact, as you grow, spreadsheet programs quickly become impractical for large numbers of records.

Instead of scrolling endlessly through thousands of rows in Excel, you could simply type a keyword into a field within your B2B platform and filter results in real-time.

Another benefit to using Envoy for your wholesale business is that you don’t need to replace it when your company reaches its next stage of growth.

You don’t have to seek out new solutions, research new technologies, or take meetings with platform vendors. In fact, you can skip the entire RFP process because you’ll already have a system that works for your company regardless of its size.

And if the time savings aren’t enough, what about risk mitigation? After all, you have no assurance that a new system that you purchase is going to be as good as the sales rep says it is. Making the wrong choice could be costly.

Because you get to stay with the same platform as your company grows (and the platform itself is constantly updated in new releases), you don’t need to spend time or money training employees how to use new technology. At most, your team will need to learn how to use additional features, not an entirely new system.

Envoy works for brands regardless of whether they have a few employees or thousands. No switching systems, no development costs, no time spent onboarding users, and no need to manage or migrate databases. You can just grow your business.

Reason #3: You’ll see major efficiency gains when you switch to a modern B2B platform.

When you use a B2B platform as part of your go-to-market strategy, you’ll also enjoy big operational gains.

Buyer Knowledge

ShowroomYour current use of printed lookbooks and PDFs puts your buyers at a disadvantage. They don’t really have good opportunities to educate themselves on product lines, upcoming promotions, or the end customer’s shopping experience.

With Envoy’s Showroom, though, your buyers reach a content destination ­– an immersive experience that combines gorgeous visuals with ease of use to keep your buyers educated.

For a B2B platform to really be an integral part of your go-to-market strategy, it has to magnify your team’s abilities. It has to stretch the value of your team’s work, effectively turning a real team of 10 into a virtual team of 20.

Envoy makes this possible because Showroom puts product knowledge back into the hands of the people who help you sell: your buyers. They can begin to do some of the heavy lifting on their own. They can watch videos, see a product from all angles, and read detailed testimonials and interviews—and all of it is up-to-the-minute content.

As a result, your buyers will be able to talk to their end customers about your brand with greater expertise and confidence. Questions that you might normally get—Can you tell me about your upcoming product line? Will that promotion apply in the fall?—will just disappear. Your buyers will already have the answers to these questions, so you can spend more time running and growing your business.

Accuracy of Orders

Order accuracy is another area in which you’ll see major efficiency gains.

Typing product numbers into an Excel spreadsheet is an incorrect order waiting to happen—again, you’re playing a game of Telephone with order info. Envoy lets you select and order items in a user-friendly interface, with all parts of the transaction populating the relevant fields in various databases.

Incorrect orders and frustration levels go down while the bottom line increases. What’s not to like?

A Consistent Brand Image in the Marketplace

A dedicated B2B platform also allows you to standardize your workflows. With all of your reps following the same sales process, your brand ends up with a consistent story from touchpoint to touchpoint across the marketplace.

Simplified Content Updates

Your marketing team also benefits. When it comes time to creating content, marketing staff can simply create it and move on. They don’t have to keep going back to previous seasons’ content in order to update it across multiple channels. Envoy employs a digital first approach that allows your marketing team to create content once, and distribute it everywhere.

And they also don’t have to create custom versions for specific accounts or specific reps. They can just create the content—once—and then Envoy’s segmentation will deliver that content to the right users.

The features that we developed for Envoy’s enterprise-level platform are all about efficiency gains. They either simplify workflows or decrease human errors – or both.

But you don’t have to run a Fortune 500 company to reap the benefits of the system. Even companies with small teams can profit from efficiency gains.

Reason #4: We designed the Envoy platform specifically for the footwear, apparel, and accessory industries.

Envoy specializes in the footwear, apparel, and accessory industries.

Envoy is not a generic B2B solution for every type of industry out there. We designed it around the particular needs of footwear and apparel companies. It’s a better fit for your business right out of the box.

What’s more, designing a great platform is our business. It’s what we specialize in.

So if you’re contemplating building your own system in-house, remember this: We’ve spent the last 7 years developing Envoy and getting it to a point where it helps major brands around the world increase their revenues year after year.

At the risk of sounding like we’re bragging, we’ve already invented the wheel. Don’t reinvent it.

Reason #5: Differentiation is key in a crowded marketplace.

You believe in your brand, right? Well, your brand deserves a robust platform.

A modern, strategic solution will set your brand apart in a crowded marketplace.

Imagine having buyers who want to use the system. Imagine if your independent reps preferred presenting your brand just because they liked the system.

You have a great product, and that’s commendable.

But that’s not enough in today’s marketplace. To succeed in this industry, you need to have the right tools in place to service your retail partners and grow your distribution channels so that you can successfully get your products to market.

By making Envoy a part of your go-to-market strategy, you’ll experience efficiency gains and leave a lasting impression on your buyers that will lead to greater success in your retail channels.

The End Result? Your Company Will Grow.

All the reasons above are actually secondary to the most important reason to move to a B2B platform: growth.

See Kai Run, a kids footwear brand currently using Envoy, sums it up this way: “We saw a 30% increase in pre-booking and a 40% reduction in entry time [...] Envoy has been our river guide to modernizing our sales process [... and] has helped remove hurdles in our sales, marketing, and customer services process, which makes it easier for accounts to work with us."

When retail partners prefer to interact with your brand over your competitors, when your platform is scalable, when you’re realizing efficiency gains, when you’ve got an industry-specific solution, and when your platform makes you stand out in the marketplace, then you’re in a position to grow.

Jon Faber

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Chief Executive Officer

Jon has specialized in pushing the Wholesale B2B landscape forward for the past 8 years by championing feature innovation and generating high volume, high value content for forward thinking footwear and apparel brands.