Wholesale businesses have come a long way over the decades with their advertising and reach. No longer does a retailer consult thick, glossy product manuals. Restocking their retail outlet is as simple as sitting back at their laptop and connecting to the wholesaler on the opposite site of the world directly, with up-to-date information about stock availability and instant quotes for their specific order quantities. But how, specifically, does eCommerce shape the future of wholesale?
Removing the human component
Possibly the largest impact eCommerce has on the business world is the degree of automation it affords. Activities that historically were carried out by sales reps and customer care specialists can now be achieved by a single, manual input by the customer, and then processing by the eCommerce software all the way through to when the product arrives on the client’s doorstep. Not only are tasks suddenly a lot quicker and more efficient with automation, but also there is significantly less room for transcription errors which can cost the company greatly both financially, in time and in reputation.
Separated by one large land mass and two oceans?
eCommerce has achieved what retailers used to only dream about. Ordering from a company on the opposite side of the world as if their store front was right next door. With the global reach eCommerce has created, there has been a dramatic increase in competition for market places, which drives down prices and ultimately plays into the hands of the retailer purchasing wholesale inventory stock. There are several bonuses of ordering wholesale straight from the supplier, namely removing the middleman, which saves ‘middleman fees’, and sourcing products directly from the country of manufacture, which promotes authenticity.
The eCommerce sector has, of course, been facilitated by more efficient and reasonable shipping options with the increase in air cargo, such that it is not necessarily cheaper to buy from the company down the road as opposed to the one in Norway for example, which involves a complex freight route.
More efficient portrayal of information
Despite rapport and human connection being extremely important components for success in business, removing the sales rep and replacing him with a website of listed products with all associated manufacture and component information, does have its advantages. Customers and sales reps often have limited time available, which can equate to needs not being completely understood or not all products being considered by the customer. A website can portray several thousand product listings in an easy-to-read format where the customer can quickly sort and filter for their specific requirements such as price and composition. Additionally, all aspects of the sale can be consolidated into one webpage such as previous order history, payment details and tracking information. Removing barriers to ordering, which is essentially what eCommerce achieves, has a huge impact on customer experience and increased sales.
Significant wholesale cost savings
To convince those on the fence regarding eCommerce, here are some alarming figures. Market Dynamics conducted a survey of 203 large companies and found that the average human contact time spent on the manual processing of just one order from receipt to archiving was 51.4 hours. How many companies can afford to spend that amount of time and money on a single order when, to be competitive, there is a need to drive ordering costs down and achieve faster processing times?
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.