5 ways to improve your customers' experience with digital wholesale solutions
Discover how digital mobile tools can help you to improve your customer experience in your wholesale business.
Rapid developments in technology, changing customer expectations, and the influence of multinational ecommerce giants are forcing wholesalers to re-evaluate operations. The growth of technology allows customers to connect with suppliers located anywhere in the world. It has also allowed the most innovative businesses to streamline operations to increase productivity and offer new services – keeping them ahead of their competition.
Prioritising technology as part of the overall business strategy is a key way that wholesalers can stay relevant – and competitive. Digital solutions are cloud based and deliver multiple business benefits including:
- Cost effectiveness
- Enhancement of existing systems
- Easy implementation
Offering digital solutions attracts and retains customers as they prefer to use mobile and ecommerce channels. These solutions increase convenience for customers, enabling a faster and more accurate service. Use technology to give customers what they want, and you can boost loyalty, grow sales and increase market share.
How? Your customers may represent a retail or foodservice business – but they are still people. 82% of business buyers say that personalised customer care directly influences loyalty. If your wholesale business can personalise offers and services, it stands a much better chance of bringing customers back.
How to improve the customer experience across every channel
A consistent customer experience across multiple channels can only be delivered effectively using integrated wholesale solutions, including digital mobile apps. But what are the elements required to make that happen?
1. Web ordering functionality
In the consumer marketplace, online ordering has become second nature – and customers now expect similar functionality from their wholesalers. By adding web ordering functionality to their website, wholesalers empower their customers to place orders 24/7, without having to wait for a sales rep.
Customers can also carry out key self-service account functions – checking order status, printing invoices, placing repeat orders etc – at their convenience. This also helps to reduce your own administrative overheads and operating costs without compromising the quality of service offered.
2. Mobile customer app
How do you ensure your products are never out of reach? By enabling access to them on your customer’s smartphone with an ordering app.
Using the app, your customers can place orders wherever they are. This allows them to build a real-time shopping list as they carry out a stock check at their premises and to complete the order immediately. Hugely convenient, this always-available tool ensures they never miss anything from their order again – and you continue to register healthy sales too.
3. Accurate deliveries
In many wholesale operations delivery can be a weak point in the overall customer experience. To manage the delivery process efficiently, equip drivers with electronic proof of delivery (ePOD) technology.
In this way you can capture proof of successful delivery in real time, avoiding potential disputes with the customer. You also empower your driver to capture customer feedback and suggestions, or to submit order corrections immediately. When everything is online, there is no risk of crucial paperwork or customer information being lost in transit. The whole delivery process is automated so tasks are streamlined, simplified, and cheaper.
4. Customer and stock data in the field
Staff can work more efficiently away from the office and increase their productivity with 24/7 access to key information. Mobile CRM solutions provide access to customer and stock information empowering staff to host better client meetings, resolve complaints, manage returns, provide quotations, invoices or statements that the customer requests.
Staff can also capture additional information such as details of the meeting, feedback and delivery preferences, to help you gain the kind of data that enriches understanding of each customer and tailor service to their specific needs.
5. Complete mobile sales tools
As well as understanding customers and managing their requirements, field sales teams also need tools to capture orders. Equipped with a wireless barcode scanner, your van sales rep can see up-to-date information on pricing and stock availability – and take an order instantly as required.
Because the process is online, orders can be processed efficiently, reducing the administrative overhead of each transaction. You should also ensure that the van sales tool allows field sales reps to take payments, creating a seamless, efficient experience for customers.
Technology at every level of the business
At the heart of every great customer experience is data availability. By providing staff with access to key, real-time information, you can increase accuracy and efficiency in all your operations, both in and out of the office.
Moving forward, wholesalers need to implement a digital-first strategy and implement systems that improve data availability – to customers and reps alike. Putting these systems in place allows you to better serve customers, to increase operational efficiency, and to develop innovative new ways of doing business. Otherwise wholesalers risk losing customers to competitors who are willing to embrace technology at every level of their organisation.
- Web ordering allows customers to buy stock and manage their account at their convenience.
- Mobile apps put your stock in the pockets of your customers, making it easier and faster for them to place orders.
- Automating the delivery process reduces admin overheads and increases customer satisfaction with an accurate and efficient delivery service.
- Mobile CRM ensures your field sales reps are fully informed about customer requirements and are better able to serve their needs.
- Use technology to improve field sales operations with fast access to real-time information.
Topics: Wholesale Distribution Solutions