With quarantines, self-isolation and social distancing measures rolled out across the globe, we’re feeling the social and economic effects of the current pandemic. Here are three tips on how your B2B company can survive by doing business through the cloud.
Tip 1: Let regular customers self-service
During the Covid-19 outbreak your suppliers might take longer to deliver stock or you might be inundated with customer questions, orders and even cancellations.
Lighten the load on your staff by enabling self-service where possible. This frees your staff up to deal with more complex matters, such as processing changes or finding alternative suppliers, instead of answering frequently asked questions.
The Unleashed B2B eCommerce store allows you to update prices, stock on hand and product details in Unleashed. This information will flow through automatically to the B2B store so there’s no need to waste time updating multiple platforms. In turn, your customers will be able to log in and see what’s available in real-time.
Spending less time taking orders by phone or email, and answering simple queries will allow you to focus on more pressing matters. Australian paint supplier Montana Colors, for instance, previously transformed their business using the B2B store and self-service.
Effectively your online B2B store acts as a 24/7 salesperson for your customers. They’ll still be able to access customer-exclusive stock and prices, without having to meet a salesperson – especially useful when social distancing measures make this impossible.
Tip 2: Use the cloud for social distancing
If there’s one thing that’s certain about the immediate future it’s that cloud services will play a big part in how we all do things for the next while. Consider if the following could be rolled out in your business.
Conduct sales meetings over Zoom or Google hangouts
Are your sales team able to work remotely? Ensure your team are familiar with the software and can access all their files remotely. Aside from still being able to conduct business in a quarantine situation, you may find your transport costs and even carbon emissions look healthier too.
You wouldn’t be the only business telecommuting during the Covid-19 outbreak – take a look at the share price of Zoom Video Communications, which Investor’s Business Daily is calling “one of the few stocks so far immune to the coronavirus stock market crash”.
You don’t need to fork out for a best-in-breed option either. If your team is small and you don’t want to pay for video chat apps, FaceTime, Skype and WhatsApp are all available free of charge.
Set up a virtual storefront
Social distancing is putting a dampener on face-to-face sales but that shouldn’t stop you. Consider setting up an eCommerce platform like Shopify to allow you to keep the sales rolling in without your team being on the road.
Read our article How to set up an online store for your business in one week.
Don’t let social distancing stop you from making sales and closing deals with an Unleashed B2B eCommerce Store
More tips from Unleashed
We’ve written on the many benefits of cloud-based software before. Using the right tools for the job will allow your business to keep running, albeit at a lower capacity, as you manage supply chain risks and business challenges.
And if you’re stuck on archaic software, here’s a free guide to moving from legacy software for a more robust, cloud-based solution.
Tip 3: Automate inventory management and sales processes
You don’t need to be in your warehouse to manage it. When your inventory management software detects you’re low on stock, it can set up an alert that allows you to quickly place an order with your supplier.
Barcode scanners are the backbone of a less physically intensive inventory management system. And digital sales channels use recurring order (standing order) features so that B2B customers can place frequent orders quickly, easily – and remotely.
For many businesses, enabling automation saves costs, improves customer experience and drives sales. It can also improve their ability to respond to adverse events. This is likely to smooth out lead times and make it easier to optimise inventory management.
Follow Unleashed Software on LinkedIn for more business advice and strategies to get through Covid-19
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.