In today’s digital economy, it pays to use best-in-class software to help you grow your wholesale distribution business. Companies slow to adopt technology will struggle to obtain and retain customers, both leading drivers of growth. Companies that adopt technology will surpass those that don’t.
Leading companies are using technology to drive growth. According to Harvard Business School, “Leading digital companies generate better gross margins, better earnings and better net income than organizations in the bottom quarter of digital adopters. Leaders post a three-year average gross margin of 55 percent, compared to just 37 percent for digital laggards.”
With B2B eCommerce on course to hit $1.18 trillion in sales by 2021, the time is now for wholesale distributors to get ahead of the competition with the help of technology. To help you get there, we’ll outline seven ways technology can help you grow your wholesale distribution business in this post.
7 Ways Technology Benefits your Wholesale Distribution Business
1. Use inventory management software
By tightly managing your stock with inventory management software, you can improve your cash flow, inventory turns and margins. Such software tracks inventory in real time and can update levels across multiple channels of business and warehouses. By showing customers what inventory is available on your website, you provide the transparency that they seek in doing business with you. If you don’t display real-time inventory levels when a buyer is shopping on your website, you might easily lose that customer.
2. Create your own B2B portal
A password-protected B2B portal can greatly enhance your sales volume. By giving customers the ability to self-serve their own needs, such as grid ordering and the ability to pay invoices, you make it easy for customers to do business with you. A B2B portal also makes it easy for customers to view their order history, pay invoices and view credit limits. Customers can order on their terms and view their custom price levels within your portal. The more that you can make the buyer’s experience like the consumer one, the better your customer repurchase rates, which also helps to increase sales.
3. Use a CRM
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is the go-to, cloud-based software of choice for collecting prospect and customer data. However, today’s modern CRMs are also central to providing a strong customer experience. By centralizing data for customer-facing teams, you make it easier for your teams to resolve customer issues.
A CRM also helps your sales teams track their pipeline, which can help you improve your demand forecasts. By viewing forthcoming sales, you can make the adjustments needed to shore up inventory levels. Essentially, your demand forecasts can help you walk that fine line between ordering too much or having too little on hand.
4. Automate drop shipping
Rather than order and stock thousands of items, you can grow your business by utilizing drop shipping. Drop shipping doesn’t require that you stock your offerings. Instead, your supplier inventories those goods and ships them to your customer for you. You never have to handle the product, but you get the sale. This method is a win-win for companies that have limited cash flow or need to grow their customer base before stocking many of their own products. Automatically drop ship with the help of inventory management software.
5. List in multiple marketplaces
Look for inventory management software that makes it easy to sell and list in multiple marketplaces. Instead of manually entering your listings in every relevant marketplace, like eBay, Etsy or Amazon, your inventory management software should help you list in multiple marketplaces within minutes versus the hours it may take you if done manually and separately.
6. Use best-in-class integrations
Your inventory management software should also integrate with other key applications. For example, there are best-in-class payment processing applications, like CardConnect, that can plug into your inventory management software of choice. These integrations take the hard work out of accepting payments and utilize providers that do the heavy lifting for you. There are also shipping applications, like ShipStation, that make it easy to offer shipping options when buyers are checking out. These two areas are key to your survival and success as a wholesale distributor.
7. Get the intelligent reporting you need
Last but not least is reporting. Your inventory management software should allow you to customize and run the types of reports that matter to your business. It's critical that every business track everything from inventory to promotions to sales pipeline. Companies that monitor their business health through their inventory management software have a much stronger chance for survival.
If you’d like to learn how Systum’s platform can help you grow your wholesale distribution business, fill out the form below.