The Key to Creating an Omni-Channel Experience in the Distribution Industry
Published: March 07, 2016
Wholesale distributors have been through the ringer the past few years as sales pass through an evolution from single to multi-channel to a true omni-channel approach. Customers no longer wait for a sales person to call them to place an order. The environment has changed so that the customer has more power in researching what they need and then ultimately placing that order online all on their own. Distributors that can embrace these changes are able to strengthen customer relationships, optimize the supply chain and improve both productivity and profitability. On the other hand, distributors that can't keep up with the pace of change may soon find themselves replaced.
Connect the Moving Parts with an Integrated Management Solution
So what's the key to providing seamless, omni-channel operations that blend retail, wholesale and eCommerce operations? Connecting all of the moving parts of your business with an integrated management solution to centralize your data. The more accessible the right data is to employees and customers, the more successful you will be. For example, customers can visit your website to find product specifications, pricing and shipping schedules and either place new orders or track existing ones... all on their own. Putting the power in their hands equals amazing time savings for you. Similarly, procurement can track inventory in real-time as it's purchased by customers online or in a store. Armed with product movement, you can make strategic inventory decisions that save money, reduce needless overstocking and avoid stock-outs.
When systems and data are connected:
- Sales orders can be converted into a purchase order, and later into an invoice.
- You can electronically accept payments for delivered products, as well as send payments to suppliers or vendors.
The time you can save by automating this data-sharing improves productivity, data integrity and shaves time throughout the entire sales cycle. Better yet, you can improve customer service with this same data. Regardless of how detailed your website and marketing materials may be, customers will call with questions. Sales representatives and customer services teams can easily open a customer account and have access to data needed to respond, without putting the customer on hold. Such prompt response shows superior customer service that can lead to long-term loyalty.
Create your own Omni-Channel Experience
Create the omni-channel experience that impresses your customers and streamlines business operations. Download this complimentary white paper, "The Continuing Evolution of Wholesale Distribution" and contact Tribridge for guidance with deploying the technology needed to develop strong omni-channel distribution operations.
Matt McNulty is the Senior Director for Consumer & Industrial Products at Tribridge, Cloud Solution Provider for Consumer & Industrial Products.