Our industrial society depends on a ton of different machinery to keep production regular across different sectors. Machinery wholesalers play an important role in keeping different industries running since they supply the tools needed to produce the goods and services that keep our economy running.
In this article, we will discuss the basics of selling wholesale machinery online. We’ll review the benefits of starting an online wholesale machinery business before getting into the step-by-step guide to opening this sort of e-commerce shop. To wrap things up, we’ll cover a few tips for optimizing your online machinery business.
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If you’re not familiar, a wholesale machinery business is one that sells a variety of hardware and equipment to other businesses, often for mass production and commercial use. These businesses have traditionally conducted trade in person, but thanks to the growth of the internet, it is now possible to buy and sell machinery online.
The global wholesale machinery industry hit a market value of a whopping US $500.97 billion in 2022, and it is forecasted to reach US $626.81 billion by 2026.1 This massive growth is being propelled by several major factors.
For starters, technology in many industries is evolving rapidly. Machinery is becoming more advanced to optimize production and create more sophisticated products. This evolution is quite natural considering the empowerment of today’s greatest minds with innovative research methods and bountiful access to information with the internet.
Another major contributor to this growth is the increased demand after a couple of years of supply chain blockages. Bottlenecks in production have caused shortages which have driven up the global demand across many industries. The demand for different goods causes an equivalent demand for related machinery.
With so much growth in the wholesale machinery industry on the horizon, there are many opportunities for wholesalers to get in on the action.
Whether you already have a wholesale machinery business or you’re starting from scratch, selling wholesale machinery online is a great way to grow your business.
Selling online allows you to reach more buyers, explore new markets, and scale your business more easily than you can with traditional business models. When you sell online, the potential connections and reach are limitless.
Plus, the B2B e-commerce market is growing rapidly. The global B2B e-commerce market was valued at US $8,523.3 billion last year and is forecasted to more than double to US $18,771.4 billion by 2027.2 These e-commerce forecasts are quite indicative of how the world will continue to do business, so it is smart to stay at the forefront of this evolution.
Adding an online component to your existing wholesale machinery business is quite simple. Even if you’re starting a business from scratch, this process is still very straightforward.
Let’s review how to sell wholesale machinery online.
If you don’t already have a brick-and-mortar wholesale machinery business, you will have to choose a niche. Some types of machinery include:
These types of machines are very different, so it makes sense to focus on one as you start your business.
Not sure where to get started? Talk to some other people in the industry to learn about their experiences. Take some time to reflect on the pros and cons of these people to determine what they could mean to you. Use this information as the foundation for your independent research.
Once you have decided which direction to go with your e-commerce machinery business, it is time to decide who you will sell to.
Some things to consider as you define your target audience include3:
Spend some time to hash out all of these details because understanding your target audience and their needs will help you create all of your business strategies.
As a wholesale machinery seller, you can either manufacture your own products, or you can source them from another wholesaler. Each approach has unique pros and cons.
Manufacturing machinery on your own requires more resources than sourcing from another manufacturing company. It requires a factory, factory equipment, factory workers, engineers, and in some instances, special licenses and insurance. This requires a lot of orchestration, coordination, and investment in getting started.
However, when you manufacture your own goods, you have more control over every step of production. This gives you control over pricing, production timelines, and more.
Sourcing products from another manufacturer is a bit simpler. You simply place orders for the products you want to sell, so all you need is a place to store products and process the orders. While this process is more straightforward, it gives you significantly less control since your role becomes more of an intermediary.
Neither of these options is inherently better or worse, so it is important to take some to consider which makes the most sense for your business.
The next step is to create an online storefront to display your products. There are a few directions that wholesalers can go when it comes to this step. You can create a storefront on your own site, an e-commerce marketplace, or both.
Building an online storefront on your own site gives you control over your branding and how your products are presented. It allows your products to be presented without ads or suggestions for items from other sellers. However, there is no guaranteed traffic to an independent storefront.
E-commerce marketplaces, on the other hand, are valuable because they have built-in traffic from warm leads. We will discuss some of the additional benefits of using an e-commerce marketplace later along in this post.
It is wise to create storefronts on both your own site and on an online storefront so that you can take advantage of the benefits of both methods.
Once your products are listed, and your storefront is live, it is time to promote your products to your target audience.
Promoting your products is very important because you could have the greatest offer in the world, but if your target audience doesn’t know about your offer, then you won’t make any sales.
Digital marketing is a great place to start your promotions, but you can also promote your products amongst your network, at tradeshows, or even with traditional marketing.
Now that you have a better understanding of how to sell wholesale machinery online, let’s review some of the top tips for starting this sort of business.
A B2B e-commerce marketplace is a website where wholesale suppliers can list their products so wholesale buyers can browse the listings to source the items that they need. It brings more traffic to your storefront than you’d achieve with only your own site.
Alibaba.com, for example, is a B2B marketplace with over 40 million active buyers. This platform is trusted amongst B2B buyers, which means that people come to this platform ready to buy.
Not only does a B2B e-commerce marketplace provide a channel to generate leads, but it can provide a variety of other tools that enhance a machinery wholesaler’s experience.
The most powerful B2B e-commerce marketplaces provide many additional tools for sellers, such as logistics, customizable storefronts, access to special promotional events, and more. Some platforms come with hands-on support for wholesale distributors, which is another major plus.
Digital marketing is an important part of promoting your machinery products. However, as a machinery wholesaler, your target audience is likely pretty unique.
Machinery wholesalers should experiment with different digital marketing methods to find what works best for their target audience. Here are a few digital marketing methods that are worth checking out:
Try out different techniques to see what gets you in front of your target audience. As you develop your go-to-market strategy, get creative. Test out different visuals and copy to find what connects best with your ideal buyer.
As you experiment with marketing, leverage data in your decision-making. Track your analytics on any platforms that you publish on to see what people respond best to.
Operating a wholesale business, especially one that sells machinery, can be made easier with strategic partnerships.
Partnerships can lead to new sales channels, support in different areas of your business, and more. These relationships can be formal or informal, but what matters most is that all parties receive some sort of benefit from the arrangement. For example, if one of your partners brings you leads, pay them some sort of commission or provide another sort of bonus.
Building professional relationships like this can come in handy throughout the life of your business. You never know who could open a door for you.
Trade shows are a great way to meet other professionals. This can be great for connecting with prospective buyers and meeting with other leaders within your professional space.
Virtual and in-person trade shows are both great options. Virtual trade shows are more accessible to many business owners, making it possible to connect with people from around the world. In-person trade shows, however, offer unbeatable face-to-face interactions, which are great for building professional relationships.
Client retention should be another priority for machinery wholesalers. That is because it is cheaper to retain clients than it is to find new ones.4
You can retain clients by meeting and exceeding your buyers’ expectations in every deal and interaction. Come through on every promise you make to ensure that your buyers have the best experience possible.
Plus, providing great customer service is another surefire way to retain clients, but we will discuss that more later.
Automation can help machinery wholesalers in many ways. It can optimize your processes, free up your time, and save money.
A few things that online machinery wholesalers can automate include sales pipeline management, inventory management, lead generation, and bookkeeping. We encourage you to look into the different tools and software available to serve your unique needs.
Remember how we mentioned the importance of client retention? One of the best ways to retain your customers is to offer great customer service.
Some ways that you can prioritize customer service include:
You can assess how helpful and effective your customer service is by asking customers to fill out surveys about their experience with your company.
When you think about B2B trade, you probably think of trading in bulk or wholesaling. In most cases, this is true. However, with B2B machinery trade, it is likely that many buyers will require a quantity that is much fewer than what would be considered a “bulk” purchase.
Depending on your target audience, it may be good to offer tiered pricing. This will give true wholesale buyers the best bang for their buck while also making it make sense to sell quantities closer to a retail quantity.
Typically the wholesale price is much lower than the retail price, so you can create a scale that stretches between the two.
Alibaba.com is an online marketplace where B2B buyers and sellers can connect. It is a great resource for those who are looking to expand their wholesale machinery businesses with the help of the internet.
Some of the powerful selling tools on Alibaba.com include Trade Assurance, automatic translations, listing promotions, special seller designations, communication management, and more.
Open a seller account on Alibaba.com to get your online wholesale machinery business up and running in no time.