Customer order management and fulfillment is a major component of successful supply chains - for both large and small businesses alike. With the plethora of communication tools available in the 21st century, it’s no wonder that businesses are dealing with a growing range of communication and transactional challenges.
Capgemeni identifies three challenges that modern businesses deal with in order management and fulfillment:
- An explosion of order and delivery channels
- The complexity of global supply chains
- The rising expectations of customers and consumers
Technology is a great way for business owners to manage and manoeuvre an increasingly complex business landscape. Skype, phone, email, and face-to-face meetings are all great ways to communicate with your wholesale customers - but when it comes to managing sales admin, ensuring uniformity across all these different channels can quickly turn into a nightmare.
One way to change this is to introduce an online ordering system for your B2B customers. This way, your wholesale customers can create orders online directly, based on terms that your sales people have preemptively set. Not only will this save valuable time for your sales team, it also helps managers oversee the final stage of the sales process and ensure that all specifications for individual customers are met - thus minimising the risk of leaving out important details for each order.
Although this has been the trend with B2C firms for some time, the demand for a smooth online experience is beginning to manifest in the B2B world. It combines two practices that typically define a B2B firm’s relationship with its wholesale clients.
For most B2B customers, there is still a strong preference to deal with real people - buying from a firm with bad customer service is a no-go for many wholesale businesses, as any problems that pop up in the order fulfillment process can directly impact their bottom line.
This system allows businesses to integrate two important aspects of running a successful B2B firm. Here are 5 ways that online order management and fulfillment can improve your wholesale business.
1. Save valuable time
Every minute your sales team spends on admin is another minute they could spend on nurturing leads and closing deals. Over the phone ordering is a time consuming process. By incorporating an online ordering system into your wholesale business, your sales team can spend more time on selling, and less time on general admin such as inputting sales orders into your system.
2. Minimise room for human error
With sales coming in through a multitude of different channels, it can be easy to confuse orders that come in, particularly if customers are dealt with through a range of different channels - phone, email, etc. With an online ordering system, wholesale customers have direct access to information about your current stock levels - just like any other shopping cart system that B2C eCommerce sites would have.
This encourages transparency in the sales process, and allows your wholesale customers to have constant access to their order information, both historical and present.
3. Consolidate real-time information across multiple channels
With multiple sales people working a range of different sales channels, it’s important that internal information is shared in real time. The last thing you want is for one batch of stock to be promised to two different clients! Because dealing with wholesale clients involve much larger volumes, having real-time access to current stock levels is essential, particularly if the client makes his or her ordering decision days or even weeks after their last conversation with a sales person.
4. Customisable experience for each client
There are few things that can substitute the feeling of a personal touch. Knowing that your business partner is building a relationship with you, as opposed to focusing on a short-term transaction, can ensure repeat business, the lifeblood of any successful firm.
A good online ordering system will allow salespeople to customise the order fulfillment experience for each individual customer. Setting preemptive discounts for instance, will allow the client to instantly see the amount they expect to pay upon placing the order. A really good system will also allow for post-order adjustments, as flexibility is key to running a successful business.
5. Increased transparency between the business and each client
For many businesses, transparency lays the foundation for trust. As businesses become increasingly complex, it's integral that wholesalers maximise transparency and share information with firms they work with at different points of the supply chain.
An effective online ordering system produces more than just an electronic invoice - it is a point of communications that wholesalers should take full advantage of during the entire order management and fulfillment process.
TradeGecko’s wholesale online ordering add-on seamlessly integrates your wholesale business with your online retail business. With integrations with Shopify, WooCommerce, Amazon, Xero, and many more, our online ordering system will allow your wholesale customers the same impeccable online experience that they have come to expect. In addition, our iOS mobile sales app allows your sales staff access to TradeGecko data on-the-go - place orders, update customer details, product catalog all without internet connection.