Digital transformation in the wholesale sector is growing every day. With the rise of the digital marketplace, the importance of data to improve processes and the unrelenting advances in technology, you’ll be left behind if you don’t take note.
But if you’re still clinging to old processes and resistant to change, we totally understand. Digital transformation might sound overwhelming. But the key word here is transformation – change doesn’t just happen overnight. Preparing yourself, mapping out those crucial first steps and taking your time getting there is to be expected in such a process.
Sceptical about stepping into the digital realm? Below, we’ll show you how digital transformation can make your teams’ everyday processes and workflows more efficient and productive and inform your digital transformation strategy in the process.
What is digital transformation?
Digital transformation might seem like a challenging process, but it’s a straightforward one to define. Essentially, it is the integration of innovative digital technologies into every aspect of your business, in order to optimise the way your business operates, and then use these changes to deliver value to your customers.
The benefits of digital transformation
Clearer autonomy over stock management
A wholesale business that has to deal with huge quantities of stock knows all too well that there is plenty of room for error. Without stock visibility, you’re going to struggle to stay on top of how much stock you have remaining, which products aren’t selling and what you need to re-order to meet demand. And this is where human errors can slip through the cracks.
Using digital tools to automate your stock management can benefit you in all manner of different ways, shoring up the mistakes that may be costing you dearly right now.
Take inventory tracking, for example. Done in real time, you can reduce counting errors, save on time that you can spend elsewhere and better analyse any discrepancies and anomalies you encounter.
Digitally managing your inventory also provides up-to-date visibility into your inventory levels, so you know exactly which products you have in at any point in time. And crucially, it automatically updates your stock count with every sale.
Helping your warehouse team on the ground
A labour-intensive part of the order fulfilment process, order picking is another area that can be improved through digital transformation.
With the right wholesale software solution, keeping track of customer orders and generating picking lists that can then be pushed straight to your warehouse team is a breeze. Similarly, orders can be grouped to a single picker too. As well as making the order picking process more accurate and efficient, it makes things a lot more cost- and time-effective.
Digital transformation also makes your pickers’ jobs a lot less difficult too. Like manual stock management, order picking can be prone to human error. By taking the digital approach, however, it’s possible to assign pickers the best routes, and supply them with photos to ensure they’re picking the right items, both of which improve accuracy while cutting down on picking time.
The knock-on effect of this improved picking is a concurrent uptick in customer satisfaction. By cutting down on missing or incorrect orders – and the subsequent returns and exchanges – the greater accuracy and speedier delivery of your orders will be rewarded with happier, more loyal customers.
And there are a number of software applications and third-party platforms available today to aid your warehouse and logistics. That includes mobile warehouse solutions, transport schedulers, and remote tools that allow you to access stock information so your warehouse team can keep track of stock levels, outstanding orders and stock KPIs.
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Equips trade counters with real-time data
If you’re still relying on manual processes at your trade counter, then your customers can expect slower interactions and service, which can lead to frustrations on both sides. Through the use of a fully integrated trade counter system, however, you can speed things up with just a press or two of a few buttons – and gain some notable benefits as a result.
For one, your staff can access live, up-to-date stock information and answer customer stock queries on the spot – no need to doubt the information they are receiving or worry that everything has been updated. Plus, you can improve their negotiation skills at the point of sale.
Sales reps can access information that will allow them to discuss a price with the customer. Access to cost price, margin, discount levels with the ability to perform ‘what if’s’ on the fly can result in very effective negotiations even when customer facing. Sales reps can review their previous quotes, orders and deliveries, and then identify and target opportunities based on this prior information.
This software can also help with upselling. If a customer’s original choice is no longer in stock, then your trade counter software can flag up alternatives and special offers. This also works with complementary selling. In instances where one product is usually bought with another, your system will inform sales staff to offer these complementary products upon payment.
From a customer satisfaction standpoint, your trade counter software can drastically cut down on the time it takes to pay for or return goods. Likewise, by setting up a loyalty scheme with your software, you can reward customer loyalty with discounts and special offers.
Optimising your financial department
Your business’ financial department can also benefit from digital transformation. With the right software, you can better control your business finances, including margins, profitability, credit control, reporting and more.
Intact iQ Financials does just that. Head here for more details on how it can help your business.
Digital transformation: A step towards ecommerce?
Digital transformation, when implemented correctly, has the power to change your warehouse or bricks-and-mortar store for the better. And when a wholesale business becomes more digitally minded, then the next logical step for them could well be a move into the world of e-commerce.
This is not only because digital transformation has an endpoint, but because e-commerce solutions can often be integrated into wholesale distribution ERP software. Take Intact Cliqx. Designed for both B2B and B2C ecommerce sites, it fully integrates into your Intact system, providing a vast range of benefits for your business.
For starters, integrating your new web store to your back-office system takes no time at all. That means you can get up and running far quicker than if you were to use a third-party provider.
Once it’s up and running, Intact Cliqx lets online orders appear in your Intact system in real time, so they can be picked, packed and shipped as soon as possible. What’s more, this ecommerce solution also uses the same stock information and pricing detail as your core Intact business system, so you’ll always have full visibility of your stock, on- and offline.
For more insights on how digital transformation can benefit your business, read up on how we helped AVD Fencing Supplies realise their expansion plans using Intact iQ in our case study here.
Need future-proof solutions to a rapidly moving digital marketplace? Intact iQ’s custom-fit ERP capabilities get your business ready for whatever comes its way. Head to our dedicated page or get in touch with us today for more information.