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5 trends disrupting the traditional wholesale distribution model

Multichannel Distribution Specialists

Integrating Wholesale Distribution alongside In-Store, Online and Machine-to-Machine to let today's multichannel businesses increase efficiency and reduce costs while achieving flexible and agile control of the supply chain.

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Archive for March 2014

Sports & leisure distribution and merchandising benefit from integrating CRM, ERP and e-commerce

28th March 2014

CRM in sports & leisure marketing

Sports & leisure marketing has embraced Customer Relationship Management (CRM) as an essential tool for communicating with sports team fans and leisure enthusiasts. Database driven email marketing systems and integrated social media tools have made an enormous impact.

This innovative use of CRM technology has been highly influential in driving revenue. Twitter has opened a direct and immediate channel to allow fans and players to interact in ways that have not been possible before. During the recession, sport and leisure has proved very resilient when compared to other segments of the entertainment market that rely on discretionary consumer spending.

ERP and e-commerce for merchandising

Database linked systems are able to do far more than just provide a communications platform through which to communicate with customers. When CRM is linked to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and e-commerce it enables a joined up and efficient approach to distribution and merchandising.

NetSuite cloud-based ERP, CRM and e-commerce is an integrated approach to database driven system, providing sports equipment and merchandising wholesale distribution companies with a highly effective business platform.

Leading sports and leisure companies Motocaddy and BCE partnering with BlueBridge One

In the sports and leisure market, NetSuite is highly flexible and supports a variety of business models and omnichannel configurations.

Leading electric golf trolley brand Motocaddy is a global company operating a business model that uses different channel mixes in different territories. Motocaddy also operates a direct after-sales service for warranty and out-of-warranty repairs powered by NetSuite. To find out more about how BlueBridge One helps power this success, click here to see ‘Closer to a whole in one for Motocaddy’.

BCE is the leading distributor of products for billiards related cue sports and is the owner of Riley, the world leading snooker brand. To find out more about how BCE partners with BlueBridge One to serve a global distribution channel and a direct channel take a look at ‘Modernising the game for BCE (Distributors).

A single real-time view of merchandising and wholesale distribution operations with NetSuite

NetSuite provides control and visibility in managing merchandising and distribution operations. The system provides an end-to-end solution that brings together customer management, website sales, transactions, order processing, fulfilment, and delivery; inventory management, accounting,  reporting and after sales service, all in one system.

BlueBridge One is a highly experienced NetSuite Solution Provider that works with clients to ensure that NetSuite is implemented  to meet the specific needs of their business.  Please click here to register for a FREE 14 day trial of NetSuite.

3 Key Analytics that determine the growth of your e-commerce site

28th March 2014

Number of visitors to a site is the first statistic that any online retailer looks at. But there are two other key statistics that are critical.

Looking at your site analytics dashboard - be it Google analytics or any other tool - can be a daunting exercise given the vast amount of data and measurements available.

There are three key statistics that should be measured regularly and are very good indicators on how well your e-commerce business is performing:

1. Visitor Numbers

2. Conversion Rate

3. Average Order Value

The goal for every e-commerce site is to increase online sales. So you might be asking why is sales missing from the above measures? The reason is that the combination of the above three will determine online sales. Every time a visit results to a buy, a conversion has taken place. In other words you have made a sale. The amount of that sale is determined by the Average Order Value.

When devising a marketing strategy and trying to grow online sales, these three measurements are key to understanding how different aspects of your site are performing:

1. Visitor Numbers

The most obvious statistic to start with. Of course it all starts with getting more visitors to your site. However there are many techniques available for better targeting of your online marketing campaigns that result in more relevant traffic.

When looking at visitor numbers it is important to distinguish between visitors, visits, and page views.

A visitor is one person who can make a number of visits to a site. For example one visit in the morning and then another visit in the afternoon. During each visit that person views a number of pages which is tracked as page views. Number of pages per visit is also important when it comes to measuring user engagement.

2. Conversion Rate

More visitors doesn’t necessarily mean more sales. What determines sales is what percentage of your site visitors are converting to buyers.

Conversion rate is the best indicator on how well targeted your marketing campaigns are. A successful marketing campaign is targeted for the right target audience. If you have done customer profiling and understand the profile of your best customers then a marketing campaign can be targeted towards that audience. Driving more of the right visitors to your website means better conversion. Pay Per Click advertising such as Google AdWords or Facebook advertising allows targeting your ads for the right search terms or audience profile.

3. Average Order Value (AOV)

A visitor places an order on your site, but how large is the order? If you do a good job of cross selling, related product recommendations, and promotional offers, then the size of the orders is likely to increase. Hence this is a key statistic to keep a close eye on. Many site improvement and product placing factors can effect this figure.

AOV = total sales revenue divided by total number of sales

Keep in mind the same customer could initiate multiple transactions; AOV determines sales per order, not sales per customer.

In general terms, AOV can help you understand whether customers tend to order more expensive or less expensive products or how many products they tend to order.

This figure can have varied importance based on the website strategy. Also the importance of the AOV can vary between first time buyers and returning customers. For example if your returning customers tend to place larger orders then it makes sense to focus on converting first time buyers on small orders.

Is 2014 the year to focus on tablets?

11th March 2014

According to eMarketer’s latest forecasts Tablet commerce will triple this year to reach £4.74 billion ($7.52 billion) and take 10.4% of total UK retail ecommerce sales. In comparison with the overall mobile commerce growth, which is forecast to double, indications are clear that tablets are growing the fastest in the mobile landscape.

For the first time, more m-commerce sales will occur on tablets than smartphones, with tablets expected to account for 58% of all retail m-commerce sales in the UK, vs. a 40.5% share occurring on smartphones.

33% of tablet owners use their device to shop online, while recent research by Adobe shows that tablet users actually spend twice as much as smartphone users when purchasing through their device.

These statistics highlight the importance for retailers of ensuring they have a complete and intuitive tablet-enabled experience.

2014 is the year many retail decision makers are faced with questions about where to focus their multi-channel budget? Should the focus be on smartphones or tablets? Is responsive design the all in one solution or will investing in a dedicated tablet app be the best investment? The pros and cons of responsive design were explored in more detail in my previous article.

Whilst the mobile device scene and shoppers behaviour across multiple channels is changing rapidly, retailers are playing catch up.

Very few retailers are taking full advantage of the opportunity to extend sales to mobile and tablet platforms. Implementation varies greatly by device. For example, there is much more optimisation for smartphones.

A recent study by the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB) found that while 74% of the top 50 retailers in the UK now have a mobile-optimised site, only 8% have one optimised for tablets.

I the past 12 months we have seen many new types of tablets with different screen sizes come to market. Not long ago the iPad was the only dominant tablet, but that is changing now. In most cases the tablet screen sizes makes it possible to browse standard desktop websites with relative ease, but best user experience can only be achieved with a mix of responsive and bespoke tablet site design, which can adapt to different screen sizes.

The main trend adopted by large retailers so far has been to redirect users to a mobile version of a site when the site is accessed from a smartphone but still show the desktop version when the site is accessed from a tablet. Adoptive design would mean that the mobile version of the site is responsive, adapting to the larger screen size when viewing on a tablet.

However, a unique tablet experience can only be achieved by a site that is designed specifically for tablets or an app. The iPad is still by far the most commonly used tablet and hence would be the obvious first choice when developing an app. App development requires significant investment but is the only option that provides full control over the user interface and access to all native functions of devices such as an iPad.

Making effective use of NetSuite Global Search

6th March 2014

The effective use of the NetSuite Global Seach function is an important element in the day to day use of NetSuite. Most Users know how to use the Global Search function and use it on a daily basis. However most Users are not aware of some of the special characters that they could use as part of the search string to help filter down the results of the search into a more manageable list.

Below are some of the lesser known special characters to help you when performing a Global Search from your NetSuite dashboard:

Special Characters Use Example Result
: or
^
Used to narrow searches down to a specific record type e.g. Leads only le:dental or
cu:dental
Would return a list of leads or customers containing the keyword "dental"
OR or
space or
-
Used to separate keywords north OR south or
north south or
north - south
Would return records containing either "north" or "south"
+ Used to include inactive records cu:dental+ Would return a list of leads or customers containing the keyword "dental" including inactive customer records
" " Used to include exact text matches only for keywords and record types

cu:"ABC Dental" or

"customer":XYZ

cu:"ABC Dental" would only return a list of customers with the name "ABC Dental"
% Used as a wildcard in numeric searches inv:202% Would return a list of invoices starting with 202 e.g. 20210, 20211, 20212 etc.
:: Used to show search results in a new tab or window inv::202% Would return the same list of invoices starting with 202 e.g. 20210, 20211, 20212 etc. but in a new window

Notes

1. If you have enabled the Global Search Customer Prefix Includes Leads and Prospect at Home > Set Preferences then as an example cu: would return all leads, prospects and customers instead of only customers. The same would be true for using pr: for prospects and le: for leads.

2. To always include inactive records in your Global Search results, go to Home > Set Preferences, click the Reporting/Search subtab, and check the Include Inactives in Global and Quick Search box.

Understanding omnichannel and making it work for wholesale distribution

3rd March 2014

It’s a changed world: Say hello to omnichannel

The world is multichannel. Or so we once thought. It turns out to have evolved and is now actually omnichannel.

The digital age and the Internet exploded the traditional channel ‘cartel’ of broadcast advertising, print media advertising, direct mail and PR. Early on the Internet was seen as a single channel. However, technology development led to the proliferation of the other digital channels that are now multiplexed within it. E-commerce; email; social media; online ads; AdWords; affiliate advertising are some obvious ones. And it’s not just the power to communicate. It is also the ability to make a purchase.

One way to look at the channels is as a list of menu items. Depending on your market sector you choose the items you need, assemble them in the most appropriate way and structure activity across the channels to reach your targets. This is often referred to as an integrated approach and is widely accepted as a cornerstone of successful marketing.

Taking multichannel to the next level

Omnichannel takes this concept to the next level, emphasising the need for a strategic and joined up approach. Omni-channel reinforces and supports joined up communications across the different routes through which customers touch your brand.

For those retailing and e-tailing fashion and lifestyle goods, embracing an omnichannel approach helps to meld the 4Ps - product, place price and promotion - to create more seamless customer experiences.

One of the ways that seamless customer experiences are enabled is through fulfilment. Accurate stock reporting; slick payment, shipping and delivery operations; smart after sales service for warranty or out of warranty maintenance and repairs. This is all part of the omnichannel. It puts the customer at the centre and this is pivotal in shaping the positive customer experiences that drive loyalty and advocacy and which ultimately contribute to increased sales.

Adapt to omnichannel and disruptive change with NetSuite and BlueBridge One

More and more we see technology’s power to be a facilitator of disruptive change. This upsets established business processes. The traditional supply chain model of manufacturer-wholesaler-distributor-retailer is a good example of this. With smart technology a manufacturer can deal directly with end-user customers. And so can wholesale distributors.

NetSuite allows fast growing and mid-size wholesale distributors to add comprehensive omnichannel capability to their existing business model through a fully integrated business suite that includes the advanced SuiteCommerce engine and Retail Anywhere. BlueBridge One is a UK based NetSuite solution provider able to provide your customers with a full Ominchannel experience using either NetSuite's SuiteCommerce Advanced or SuiteCommerce Mid-market platforms. Please click here to register for a FREE 14 day trial of NetSuite.

One key consideration of omnichannel is the continuing growth of mobile. NetSuite cloud-based ERP and SuiteCommerce powers a great shopping experience on any internet connected device. In any language, currency or business model, NetSuite ERP and SuiteCommerce enable wholesale distribution businesses to adapt to world altered by disruptive technology and embrace the omnichannel.

NetSuite Version 2014.1 - New features for Service Companies

3rd March 2014

As discussed last month NetSuite Version 2014.1 is currently being rolled-out and all customers are expected to be on the new version by mid-April. Last month we reviewed some of the new functionality available to product distribution companies. This month we look at some of the new features that are specifically applicable to SERVICE companies.

Release 2014.1 of NetSuite incorporates a number of new features related specifically to service based companies. If you are a service company then the following are some of the new enhancements that may be of interest to you:

1. Project Profitability

In previous versions only estimated project profitability was available. With the new Job Costing feature enabled you can calculate costs for labour based on tracked time, and account for those costs directly in your general ledger. There is now also a new P&L sub tab on the project record itself displaying the real-time current revenue, cost, profit, and margin for your project.

Additionally the new Project Budgeting feature enables you to set cost and billing budgets for project labour and expenses at both the project and task level.

New reports available for project reporting are:

  • Project Cost Budget vs. Actual
  • Project Billing Budget vs. Actual
  • Project Task Cost Budget vs. Actual
  • Project Task Billing Budget vs. Actual
  • Project Profitability

2. Resource Allocations

You now have the ability to allocate resources to projects based on availability, skill sets, and other criteria. After a resource has been allocated, or reserved to a project, a project manager may then decide to assign that resource to a specific task. There is a new graphical resource allocations chart that provides visual management of your resource allocations with the ability to edit existing allocations and create new allocations directly from the chart. There is a also a new SuiteFlow approval process for approving of resource allocations.

3. Resource Skill Sets

You are now able to add information to employee and vendor records about skills and expertise and then search that employee database for the best matched project resource.

4. Advanced Project Templates

New project templates enable you to create project records for projects your business performs repeatedly. You can also now create a project template from and existing project. Previously you could only copy an existing project and then modify it.

5. Project Dashboard

Similar to your main Home dashboard, you can now access a project dashboard with information specific to an individual project. Previously, this information was only available on several different tabs and sub tabs within the project record.

6. Time Sheets

The new Time sheets feature enables you to track time in bulk using time sheets rather than individual time entries. If you track time for projects, cases, tasks, or events you can now use time sheets to submit a whole week's worth of time at one time. Previously, time entries had to be recorded by a single date and the weekly time sheet option did not permit editing of time entries.

Next month we will look at some of the new general features unrelated to specific sectors only.