QuickBooks is a powerful piece of software, but, like all pieces of software, it has limits. This is nothing against QuickBooks — far from it. QuickBooks does what it does very well, it’s designed to take care of very specific tasks, and it doesn’t make the mistake that many pieces of software have made over the years by trying to be something it’s not.
However, that does mean that most businesses who are using QuickBooks can find themselves in a bit of a bind.
As our world has become more and more technologically advanced, manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors are increasingly finding themselves using many different pieces of software to handle various business processes.
For example, it’s not uncommon for a distributor or manufacturer to need QuickBooks, an outside warehouse, and an ecommerce website for B2C.
I don’t have to tell you that this is a mountain of moving parts. There’s a lot of data flying through the air — inventory information, shipping information, payment information, pricing information — and this information often has to be transferred from one system to another with nothing more than the copy-and-paste function.
Which can make life tough on you and tough on your employees.
But of course, it gets worse, doesn’t it?
Customers and Sales Reps Have Changing Expectations When It Comes to B2B Orders
For good or for ill, we live in the age of the internet, and it has spoiled us rotten.
While phone, fax, and email were once the preferred way for manufacturers, distributors, and wholesalers to do business, things have changed.
While these three pieces of technology were also the main ways in which customers not only made their orders, but checked in on their orders (and made additional orders in the future), things have changed.
In the Age of Amazon, people just expect to be able to order online.
What does this mean in practice? You already know the answer to that question because you’re doing it every day — it means you (or your employees) spend an extraordinary amount of time hand-entering data into various pieces of software.
Either that, or you’re spending an unreasonable amount of time transferring data from one system to the next to the next.
Obviously, this has drawbacks. A steady stream of orders from your reps and B2C website to QuickBooks to your warehousewould be ideal — it would reduce the chance for errors if information was entered automatically, and the same could be said for adding a customer portal into the mix.
One of the Main Benefits of Providing a Customer Portal Is the Ability to Reduce Errors
As long as your customer is doing things right, of course.
But that’s the beauty of products like Now Commerce. Now Commerce allows you to streamline the ordering process while simultaneously having orders from your customers, orders which are entered online, moved into QuickBooks virtually automatically.
But it really does go beyond this. No matter who is providing the software, when it comes to QuickBooks, a customer portal is going to reduce errors. This is because if it’s set up properly for each customer, a customer portal is going to limit what the customer can and can’t do, ensuring that they’re not making orders that you’re not able to fulfill.
For instance, it is often the case that manufacturers want their customers to order in bulk, and those orders may need to come in specific quantities. It is also often the case that a distributor or a wholesaler is going to work out a specific price for one customer but a different price for another. If a customer portal is set up properly, it’s simply not going to allow orders that don’t fit price or quantity restrictions.
Another problem that often crops up, and this applies not to just your customers but to sales reps as well, is the ordering of a product that isn’t in stock.
This can be a huge pain, especially if a sales rep has to backtrack on a deal they thought was complete. If your customer portal or sales rep portal is integrated with QuickBooks, with data regularly syncing , it becomes much, much harder for an accidental order of a product that’s not in stock to slip through and cause a mess.
When It Comes to QuickBooks and Wholesale, A Customer Portal Just Makes Good Business Sense
I’ll end with this — although adding a customer portal and getting QuickBooks synched up with your various pieces of software is going to save you time, save you money, and even allow you to reduce staffing costs by reducing the need for data entry, that’s not the best reason for a manufacturer, distributor, or wholesaler to consider adding one.
The main reason — the most important reason — is customer service, customer experience, and customer retention.
Giving your customers the ability to make orders on their own, without having to get someone on the phone or send an email, keeps customers happy in the long run.
Of course, there are many other strategies to keep customers happy, but this is the base — most of your customers, especially when you’ve completed the onboarding process and gotten them set up, just don’t need you that much. They need to be able to make their orders and get them processed in a timely manner, and many of them need to be able to pass this responsibility off to someone else, an employee who will manage it for them.
Of course, the only way to know if this is the right fit for your business is to try it out.
Want to try it yourself?
The only way to know if Now Commerce is going to work for you is to try it out yourself.