When the holiday season is here, and as a supplier, you’re probably already deep in the weeds as your customers start stocking up in preparation for the biggest shopping days of the year. You need to be prepared so that you can get your books as far into the black as possible before the end of the fiscal year.
Now, depending on what industry you’re in and who your customers are, what the holiday season means for you can vary. On the side that supplies or distributes to retailers, this is the middle of the busiest time of year for you. If you’re a restaurant supplier or in a similar industry that sees a slow down when the major holidays come around, you’re probably seeing some downtime.
In either case, order management software is something you’re probably going to want to consider implementing soon (if you haven’t done so already).
Order Management Software — If You’re in the Off-Season, Take Advantage Now
If your customers are doing most of their sales and business during the summer months, you’re probably well into the off-season by now. Anywhere except California, for example, things like surfing and water sports are slowing down or disappearing. All over the US, it’s common for restaurants to experience a dip in foot traffic as people visit family for major holidays.
All that freed-up time can seem like a burden, especially if you have seasonal layoffs and built-up administrative work that you now must deal with. However, the truth is, there is no better time to upgrade your systems or your technology than when you have a little time on your hands.
Most online ordering software — that is, the ecommerce software that you can implement to allow your customers to input their orders entirely online — has a bit of a learning curve.
Though some of these systems can certainly be learned even when you’re deep in your busy season, the savvy business owner is going to take advantage of that down time try something new. You’ll need time to implement the software, train your office team on how to use that software, and help customers to understand how the new technology works.
Nothing can be as frustrating, when the season is in full swing, as attempting to get new tech in place, only to learn that there are a few bugs to work out. The last thing you want is for frazzled, busy, hectic customers to feel overburdened by a new ordering system.
Though some online ordering software can be overly complicated, most aren’t that difficult to pick up, especially for your customers. Customer portals are designed, by their very nature, to be streamlined and customized, to encourage customers to make new and repeat orders often, and in a timely manner.
But what if you’re in the middle of the holiday season right now? What if things are really ramping up? Does it make sense to try to put a new system into place when customers are already comfortable with what they have?
Order Management Software — It May Still Be Worth Your Time During the Holiday Crush
The truth is, we’re still a month or so out from the real holiday crush. If the holiday season is when you’re making the most sales, even if things are busy now, it’s only going to get worse from here on out.
The last thing you need is a cumbersome order management system to slow down the ordering process for your customers.
Now I know what you’re thinking, “Implementing a brand-new system is just going to take way too much time and effort! We just don’t have the time to put something like that in place.”
For some online order management systems or ecommerce systems, this is true. Set up requires a great deal of time and effort, and when you’re deep in “holiday mode,” it’s usually the last thing on your mind.
But not all systems are like this. More importantly, adding new order management software may actually make life easier for your customers.
At the end of the day, businesses — all businesses — are here to benefit their customers. If your customers are going to be ramping up their orders, or are already ramping up their orders, and they’ve always had to rely on the old way of doing things, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to give them an extra option.
The truth is, with the right software (one that comes with dedicated, customizable customer portals), learning how to make orders online, even while the season is ramping up, doesn’t have to be a huge hassle.
If you started today, depending on the order management software you choose, you might be able to be up and running well before the big rush.
At the end of the day, your job as a supplier is to keep product moving in the door for your customers. When the season is hectic, giving your customers an additional option that your competitors are offering, might just be the thing that keeps them working with you…
Instead of bailing after the season is over, because of their frustration with the old way of doing things.
Try Now Commerce Out Free
Now Commerce integrates with QuickBooks Desktop and allows you to give your customers a dedicated, customizable online ordering portal. It also provides a sales rep portal and can even be used to send orders to a warehouse.
In short, it makes your life, and the life of your customers, easier.
That’s a win/win.
Try it out free, on us — click the button below to learn more about how you can get a free trial and get set up in only a few hours.