B2B 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 – especially when it comes to online ordering systems for businesses.
This article has been updated February 2020.
There are many challenges that modern businesses deal with in order management and fulfillment:
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 business’ 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 ensures that all specifications for individual customers are met - thus minimizing 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 too. Salesforce’s State of the Connected Customer report predicts that by this year 75% of B2B buyers will expect companies to anticipate their needs and make relevant suggestions – so personalized order fulfillment is an important consideration for B2C and B2B businesses alike.
Simply put, online order fulfillment for wholesale businesses works in the same way it does for retail customers: it empowers the B2B customer to place business orders online at any time, typically via a B2B eCommerce store.
Here are 5 ways that online order management and fulfillment can improve your wholesale business.
Every minute your B2B 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 for your business, your sales team can spend more time on selling, and less time on general admin, such as inputting sales orders into your system.
With sales coming in through multiple sales 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, text 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.
With multiple salespeople 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 customers! Because dealing with wholesale customers involves 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. Using a B2B eCommerce platform to automate internal communications improves the speed and accuracy of doing business.
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 sophisticated online ordering system will allow salespeople to customize 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. According to the Salesforce State of the Connected Customer Report, B2B buyers expect companies to make great strides in technology that simplifies sales and service – which means forward-thinking wholesales businesses need to be thinking about how to provide a better, more personalized experience today using B2B online order fulfillment technology.
For many businesses, transparency lays the foundation for trust. As businesses become increasingly complex, it's integral that wholesalers maximize transparency and share information with firms they work with at different points along the supply chain.
An effective online ordering system produces more than just an electronic invoice - it is a point of communication that wholesalers should take full advantage of during the entire order management and fulfillment process.
TradeGecko’s wholesale online ordering system seamlessly integrates your wholesale business with your online retail business. With integrations such as Shopify, WooCommerce, Amazon, Xero, Quickbooks, and many more, your wholesale customers can have the same impeccable online experience that they have come to expect from the B2C sphere. In addition, our iOS mobile sales app allows your sales staff the ability to place orders, update customer details, and access product catalogs on-the-go, all without needing an internet connection.
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