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Supply Savvy

Specialized News for Distributors
November 2010
 

INSIDE

Put Your Business on the Web
Make Flu Work for You
Upcoming Events
Supply Results
You Can Say That Again

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

Trade Meetings

 

IA Show
Irrigation Association, December 5-7 in Phoenix, Booth 848
www.irrigation.org

NAFEM Show
North American Foodservice Equipment Manufacturers, February 10-12, 2011 in Orlando, Booth 3902
www.nafem.org

FEDA Convention
Foodservice Equipment Distributors Association, March 30-April 3, 2011 in Phoenix, Table Top display



Webinars

E-Commerce Best Practices

Collection Methods that Work

Contact ADS Solutions for Webinar details.

 

 

You Can Say That Again

"Great thoughts match and inspire heroic deeds."


- Theodore Roosevelt, U.S. President, 1913.

 

ABOUT ADS SOLUTIONS

Long-Term Solutions for Distribution

 

ADS Solutions Advantage software has been helping distributors run their businesses for more than 25 years.

Our fully integrated distribution accounting system helps wholesalers everywhere they deal with customers, vendors, inventory, and personnel. The programs complement the best practices of the distribution industry.

ADS Solutions is committed to the lasting success of our customers and the greater distribution industry. Contact ADS Solutions with suggestions or questions about this e-newsletter.

 

 

 
The Best Way to put your Business on the Web

 

We've all seen of the success of B2C (business to consumer) e-commerce companies like Amazon and eBay, but B2B (business to business) e-commerce is actually growing at a faster rate. When B2B is done right, a small expenditure can reap unlimited sales orders.

 

How can you avoid the pitfalls of an expensive, time-consuming custom-designed e-commerce site? What can you do to avoid the bland one-size-fits-all "shopping cart" programs that make up most do-it-yourself options? Follow these simple guidelines.

 

Avoid custom-designed and cookie-cutter sites:

  • Additional expensive programming is always needed to work with the distribution software you use to place orders and manage inventory.
  • Unless the site is integrated with your distribution package, you'll need to re-enter or import orders into your distribution system. What a waste of time.
  • These options can't offer real-time inventory, customer-specific pricing, or other features that set your company apart from the rest.

Invest in e-commerce that leverages the power of your back-end distribution software:

  • You won't need to reengineer your business processes.
  • Your staff won't need re-training.
  • Customers can check bill payment, order status, and easily re-order from past invoices. 

Keep it simple:

  • Demand easy product look up methods, through a product index, advanced search features, importing from past invoices, etc. Your customers will certainly expect it.
  • Give capable customers all the tools they need, but limit customers who should not finalize orders without staff assistance. 

Expect the same capabilities of your e-commerce site as you have in your distribution software:

  • Customer-specific pricing. Each customer should receive the same pricing as if they called to place an order. This encourages orders placed without involving your staff's time.
  • Centralize billing so e-commerce becomes a valuable tool for customers with multiple shipping locations to monitor orders placed by branch or warehouse staffers.
  • Show product use rate (calculated from order history) and offer reorder recommendations to spur sales.

Use the power of the Internet:

  • Send automated e-mail registration, order, and shipping confirmations.
  • Offer special incentive pricing for buying on the e-commerce site.
  • Show your customers what you are selling through numerous images. Your B2B ecommerce should use the same images as your back-end distribution software.
  • Provide links to specifications, MSDS, manufacturer sites, and more - the same ones in your back-end distribution software - so there is no extra effort from you.
  • Off-site sales people can place orders and check status for all their customers giving them the same tools they would have in the office.


The key getting the most functionality is to find a distribution with an integrated e-commerce package. Once you've decided to build e-commerce capability, consider having your e-commerce engine accommodate not only your current wholesale customers, but also retail customers. Look for an integrated e-commerce package that can give you the equivalent of "over the counter" sales to the public.

 
Make Flu Work for You

It's flu season. You've seen the announcements and advertisements for flu shots. If you sell sanitary or office supplies, why not increase worker readiness and advertise your products at the same time?

According to the Center for Prevention and Health Services, the flu indirectly costs employers more than $75 million/year in missed work and other indirect costs like healthcare.

Customers will appreciate hand sanitizer at the sales counter. Provide anti-bacterial disposable wipes for your staff to clean keyboards and workstations.

Run a seasonal special on facial tissues. Take advantage of features in your distribution business software to apply an additional discount percentage or a quantity break for a limited period.

You might prevent illness in your own workers and you'll demonstrate the need for your products at the same time.

 

Before considering diversification, small wholesalers should concentrate on growing the core business to a stable and prosperous place. Diversification should not be seen as a way to plug holes in operating efficiencies. The cost of integrating processes and functions for unlike business segments oftentimes outweighs any estimated benefits.

Information from Journal of Managerial Issues.