Thirty years ago, Amazon didn’t exist, the World Wide Web was still a twinkle in Tim Berners-Lee’s eye, and nobody (except maybe a few science fiction authors) could have possibly predicted the effect that ecommerce websites and online sales systems would have on the world.
Today, with a single click of a button (or even a sentence or two shouted at Alexa), customers around the world can order anything from a book to groceries to bags of cat food to a new pair of shoes.
What does this have to do with you and your business? What does this mean for wholesalers, distributors, and manufacturers?
It has more to do with you than you think.
When Amazon first came out, it was a revolution within a revolution — ecommerce was thriving and people were learning the amazing benefits of being able to buy and sell things online.
Then Amazon came along and blew everyone away with what it could do.
Today, this is a modern miracle that we all view as a baseline — it’s no big deal to simply hop online and order a sandwich, or a mattress, or a new car.
People have come to expect this functionality in the B2C landscape, and that expectation has bled over into their business life.
When it’s not there in their B2B dealings, they tend not to react well.
Today’s B2B customer expects manufacturers, distributors, and wholesalers to have an online order entry system
The truth is, as a society, we’ve been spoiled rotten by the idea of being able to order products online — but we’re not doing this out of laziness.
It simply works better.
It’s faster, it’s more efficient, and best of all, it doesn’t have to involve anyone but the customer!
This is the real benefit to businesses — no longer do you have to keep an army of sales representatives near computers and phones, constantly taking calls, emails, or faxes from customers, constantly entering data from orders…
And constantly finding opportunity after opportunity to make a small mistake, screw up an order, and cause a minor disaster down the road.
And it’s not just all on your employees — sure, they could make some mistakes when inputting an order, back in the day, but often the customers were just as bad, and mistakes could simply come from poor communication, even a bad phone connection.
Add in all the time wasted by incomplete orders, many of which would get left in Quickooks, and it was simply a cluttered mess.
Some folks are still operating that way, and it makes me cringe just to think about it.
There’s a better way — an online order entry system makes life easier for both you and your customers (and sales reps too!)
Online order entry systems are the new norm — and B2B customers have come to expect them just as B2C customers have for some time.
The truth is, your customers don’t always want to have to work with a rep. They don’t always want to have to send a series of emails or faxes, they don’t always want to have to pick up the phone.
They generally have enough work as it is, you know, running their business.
And, as easy as you might make the process for them, there’s simply nothing easier than being able to jump online, order some products, send in the order, and then being able to get right back to work.
It makes life smooth and easy for your customers. As long as they have access to a customer portal, like Now Commerce provides, this becomes a simple matter for them.
But having this capability makes life easier for you too, the manufacturer, the distributor, the wholesaler. You no longer have to worry about one of your employees accidentally making a mistake via email or over the phone on a recurring order, or worse, getting involved in some silly misunderstanding with a long-time customer and souring the relationship.
In fact, with a system like we provide, you may not have to bring on new staff ifof your customers are able to make their orders themselves, if those orders can be automatically entered into QuickBooks, if those same orders can automatically go out to your warehouse, you may just find yourself feeling a little lonely in an office emptied of data-entry employees and sales staff.
This is not a bad problem to have, especially if you’re a family-owned business with a team who just wants to get home on time.
What about your sales reps? They benefit too
An online order entry system makes life easier for your reps too. They’re able to easily access real-time pricing information and inventory levels while out in the field — all without having to bother you or your employees at the home office with a phone call.
This also means your reps can be more effective in the field. They don’t have to leave your customers in the lurch while they check on inventory or price data, and they can always feel confident that those levels are accurate.
And on your side, you have incredible levels of control over what prices, inventory, and customers those reps have access to. The same goes for your customers who order through the online portal — you can set minimum purchases, prices, and even what inventory they are and aren’t able to see.
We know that switching to a new online order entry system can take a bit of getting used to, which is why we’ll pair you with a dedicated account manager, just to be sure you’re getting exactly what you need out of Now Commerce.
Ready to see how Now Commerce can benefit your business?
The only way to know if Now Commerce is going to work for you is to try it out yourself.