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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 2015

How will Amazon Business impact multichannel wholesale expectations in 2016?

15th December 2015

The B2B buying experience will demand B2C standards

In October 2015, Amazon announced the launch of a new digital platform, designed to penetrate the wholesale market – Amazon Business. An extension of its former project, Amazon Supply, Amazon Business is an online marketplace offering companies the opportunity to buy goods at wholesale prices through the e-tail giant directly.

Amazon Business will shape the wholesale market in more ways than one. At a fundamental level, it will give retailers greater opportunity to buy goods online, as many wholesalers do not currently offer an ecommerce service. So this in itself will raise the game for B2B purchasing and distribution over the next 12 months.

For those that are trading online at present, this new platform is likely to gather momentum into 2016, and it will have repercussions for the wholesale and distribution strategies of multichannel businesses. Amazon will use all of its consumer experience – and its key lessons learned from Amazon Supply – to create a more responsive, B2C-like journey for B2B buyers. This, in turn, will put pressure on other wholesalers to create a similar approach.

Replicating the traits of a B2C transaction can be challenging in the wholesale world, but it’s by no means insurmountable with the right processes and technology in place. For example, clear communications are a huge part of delivering to expectations. B2B audiences are no different to the end consumer; they should be provided with a transparency at all times, and that means being able to share the availability of product quantities, order dispatch and arrival dates, and any issues that may impact fulfilment.

There also must be capabilities for multichannel wholesale businesses to implement a level of personalisation suitable for their customers. For instance, the pricing structure may differ from client to client, whilst there may be purchasers who require regular re-orders, which they wish to automate.

Responding efficiently to these varying demands relies on being able to streamline core business processes through technology, to reduce labour-intensive tasks and free personnel to concentrate on customer service. This will also benefit coordination across the supply chain, as everyone involved needs a clear depiction of order requirements at all times.

By making the end-to-end journey quicker, slicker and easily viewable by all those involved, in 2016 multichannel wholesale and distribution companies will be able to give their customers the same, optimised journey as they are used to experiencing as a retail shopper.

Enhance multichannel wholesale with BlueBridge One

To address the customer experience challenges of modern multichannel wholesale, many companies are investing in technology such as NetSuite to coordinate and improve key process – and rightly so.

However, every business, although adhering to general best business practices, has their own specific needs. That’s why wholesale distribution organisations hoping to grow their revenue in 2016 need the support of a partner who understands their trading environment and the disruptive trends affecting them, who can help them optimise NetSuite’s cloud based business management platform to take advantage of evolving trends in this sector.

BlueBridge One has extensive experience in helping B2B companies innovate their business through investment in cloud technology. From implementation best practice to automating manual processes, we can help organisations increase revenue and improve customer satisfaction levels without significantly adding to staffing costs.

Click here to talk to us.

How to impress multichannel shoppers in 2016

8th December 2015

Delivering on promise will be imperative

2016 is just around the corner, and with it fresh opportunities for multichannel retail and wholesale businesses. But with market competition tougher than ever, and customer expectations exceptionally high, how can companies maximise their growth plans for the year ahead?

One major challenge that will face the retail sector next year is making seamless multichannel shopping a reality. For some time now, the industry has talked of a consistent customer experience in all channels, but many retail organisations are still struggling to make that a reality – especially Tier 2, 3 and 4 businesses.

Even in Tier 1, there’s been innovation and investment made over the last 12 months in impressive customer-facing technology, such as digital display advertising and iBeacons, when shopper satisfaction levels are yet to be optimised.

Getting it right in 2016 comes down to one simple to say but difficult to deliver statement: get the customer what they want, when and where they want it. Naturally, that customer should be engaging with businesses across multiple channels and touch points, but even the most sophisticated digital outreach will fall flat if companies can’t get orders to them in the manner requested.

In order to deliver on their promise over the next 12 months, retail organisations need to look inwards, to analyse where improvements need to be made in their current processes, and invest in the technology that can make those changes.

For example, there are many processes in the end-to-end journey – from wholesale right through to fulfilment – that can be automated, at least in part. Moving away from manual processes not only reduces the margin for error; it speeds up the time to customer as well.

Moving to a system capable of automating wholesale, distribution and multichannel capabilities has another significant benefit: bringing all retail operations under a single solution. Too many customer service errors occur at present because key decision makers within the business can’t see either how the customer is behaving in all channels, or where their stock is available throughout the life cycle.

Gaining a single view of all business operations on one platform is essential to serving shoppers consistently wherever they interact. And if this system is cloud-based, multichannel businesses can easily connect new devices to the network, to share critical trading insights across stores, distribution centres and other strategic hubs.

It’s clear that change in 2016 will start from within, however many retail organisations are yet to invest in the back-end technology to support their growth, because they’re unsure what their company requirements are – and getting the solution wrong is a costly mistake. Therefore, next year, we are likely to see more retailers than ever turn to business solution providers for support, to ensure they not only select the right systems, but that they’re implemented in a way that drives profitability.

Optimise your multichannel operations with BlueBridge One

Meeting customer expectations in 2016 will rely on the integration of channels and processes, to enable the transparency and flexibility necessary to adapt to customer demands.

BlueBridge One can support multichannel businesses with this integration process. As an expert NetSuite ERP solutions provider, we understand how to tailor out-of-the-box functionality to the individual needs of each business, to get them up and running rapidly.

More than that, our experienced NetSuite implementation team cause minimum disruption to day-to-day running – so retail businesses can stay focussed on delivering their customer promise.

How can your business avoid Christmas click-and-collect chaos?

30th November 2015

2015 will be click-and-collect's biggest Christmas

Over the past 2-3 years we've seen the popularity of click-and-collect grow exponentially, to the point where the UK has become one of the leading pioneers of the ‘order online, collect in store’ model across the world.

The Christmas period in particular seems to generate a surge in click-and-collect orders – 39% used the service last year alone - and this has obvious benefits for multi-channel businesses. For starters, it's cheaper than home delivery, and logistically it's less hassle to co-ordinate.

Secondly, the average click-and-collect customer spends up to 53% more than the value of their original order when they arrive in-store to pick it up, according to store management solution, Collectec. There's a huge opportunity here to drive impulse purchasing, and to increase upsell on complementary items.

However, in-store collection services are not immune to the pressures of multi-channel trading, and Christmas time can push these pressures to breaking point. For example, in businesses utilising multiple channels, bricks-and-mortar has to take on a complex role serving all touch points – online and offline.

So rather than just being a place for generating sales, today's store has to handle complex customer enquiries, place in-store orders for online delivery, serve as a distribution centre for stock not available at the warehouse, and of course become a collection point for online orders.

This is fine in theory, but it relies on the workforce being able to multi-task between hugely varied requirements – usually at a moment's notice. Locating and processing a click-and-collect order is not necessarily a quick task, and can have a knock-on effect on those who've arrived straight at the store to make their purchase.

During the festive period, both store footfall and online activity soars. This creates a situation in which eCommerce is actively driving traffic towards an already saturated bricks-and-mortar environment, which can easily result in a compromised customer experience.

Rather than let the store descend into chaos, companies need to look at better ways to streamline customer requirements. For example, they may want to consider a separate point of sale for click-and-collect customers. Another effective tactic is to have a single checkout but make one member of staff a 'click-and-collect' ambassador, and give them the technology to swiftly handle orders.

Creating a richer, more effective customer experience this Christmas

Point of sale capabilities are incredibly important here, as sales associates need to have detailed access to customer information to handle click-and-collect enquiries efficiently. They must be able to look up an item, locate it, call for it if necessary and process payment – or fill customers in on the order's status if the item hasn't arrived. If the Point of Sale is integrated with customer data, they even have the capacity to recommend further products based on their buying history prior to that particular order.

But the most important factor is that they can deal with every aspect of redeeming a click-and-collect order using a single device, and process it quickly so as not to slow down the queue of shoppers waiting to make purchases the traditional way.

Just one additional point worth noting; click-and-collect is no longer solely the domain of consumer channels. Increasingly, multi-channel companies are implementing click-and-collect strategies within their wholesale strategies as well. Given the need for smooth service during the Christmas holiday trading, many of these same lessons from the store can apply to the B2B environment.

Serving multi-channel customers this Christmas with BlueBridge One

Meeting customer needs however and wherever people shop means having a single version of the truth across all channels. BlueBridge One is a leading implementation partner for NetSuite multi-channel commerce solutions, at both wholesale and retail level.

We join up companies' touchpoints and technologies to create data-driven connected experiences, including streamlining fulfilment processes such as click-and-collect. Find out how we can help you make multi-channel more efficient, and improve the customer experience this Christmas.

Could Black Friday and Cyber Monday come back to haunt multichannel businesses?

23rd November 2015

The hidden perils of Black Friday

The Black Friday and Cyber Monday bar keeps rising. Previous estimates of £1billion sales have now been increased to £2billion – but have the retail and wholesale industries stopped to consider the impact of huge commerce spikes on pre-Christmas sales overall?

Having discussed how multichannel businesses can run Black Friday in a previous post, we now want to explore the ramifications of early season promotions on festive trading as a whole.

Changes in Christmas shopping behaviour have placed new stresses on retail; goods must be supplied to consumers quicker and more responsively. However, whilst multichannel businesses have the front-end capabilities to market and sell these goods, they don't necessarily have the infrastructure to complete the orders.

One of the main difficulties is that retailers are using manual systems based around spreadsheets for order management and inventory control. The labour intensive nature of these processes means it's difficult to adapt to the demands of seasonal commerce spikes.

To truly embrace the new model of shopping pre-Christmas, wholesale, distribution and multichannel companies need to embrace a true ERP solution that can manage end-to-end processes efficiently, to streamline costs.

By creating operational efficiency, businesses can not only overcome the reduced profit margins that promotions such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday entail, they can create a lean workflow that will serve retailers throughout the festive trading period.

This is particularly important during December, when the excitement of discounted marketing initiatives like Black Friday have worn off, and customers are entering the store or shopping online with specific requests.

At this point, consumers won't just settle for a good deal; they want the item they require, delivered when and where they want it. Here, again, infrastructure plays a critical role. For all the trappings of marketing, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and that means getting the product to the customer in a timely manner.

What makes this challenge all the more complex around Christmas time is stock availability. Events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday may generate headline sales, but they also create a spike in returns. According to predictive intelligence firm Clear Returns, there's an average time lag of 15-21 days between an item being purchased and it being sent back.

This means that unwanted products from early seasonal promotions are landing back within multichannel retailers' systems mid-December – just when operations are geared towards sending goods out. As a result, there is a possible situation in which goods that customers want pre-Christmas are sitting in the warehouse, but as far as the shopper is aware they are unavailable to purchase.

In this instance, a cloud-based ERP system is invaluable, as it addresses inventory availability across the business. This means any stock that can be released is visible to all retail channels, so even with limited availability, goods can still be dispatched to eager purchasers.

How to survive festive trading peaks with BlueBridge One

At a time when every minute counts, your business needs an ERP solution it can rely on across all channels, to streamline processes and deliver what consumers crave.

As an experienced NetSuite ERP solutions provider BlueBridge One has the expertise to optimise your system, and provide invaluable support during critical trading periods.

Find out more about our commerce solutions, and the support we can offer you during festive trading peaks.

Black Friday 2015: Lessons for multichannel businesses

2nd November 2015

Black Friday pre-Christmas frenzy

The pre-Christmas shopping frenzy that is Black Friday is almost upon us again. Black Friday 2015 is on the 27th November. As multichannel businesses prepare to maximise on the opportunity, consider some of the things didn’t go quite as well as they should have last year:

  • Website overload
    • Many retailers experienced website problems as millions of shoppers tried to grab a bargain for delivery or for click and collect. Some of the websites of larger businesses were simply unable to process the volume of incoming requests in real-time.
  • Inventory
    • Many customers placed web orders for discounted goods which were erroneously displayed as in stock.
  • Fulfilment – click and collect
    • Tesco is one retailer that experienced severe problems with click and collect orders. Amongst other problems, customers encountered long delays at collection points and were sent erroneous emails that orders were ready to collect.
  • Fulfilment – deliveries
    • Many next day deliveries failed with customer services unable to provide answers about order status. M&S was criticised on social media as disappointed customers went on to have orders for similar products fulfilled on time by rivals Next and John Lewis.
  • Instore safety
    • Everyone loves a bargain, but the hype around Black Friday seems to bring out the worst in some people. Competition for limited stock turned ugly with security losing control as customers wrestled with each other.
  • Converting tripled numbers of web visitors into growth
    • Argos had 13.5 million visitors, three times as many as it had on Black Friday in 2013. The four-day 2014 event drove a 45 per cent rise in like-for-like sales. However, overall growth for the 18 weeks to 3 January 2015 was just 0.1 per cent.

Black Friday: Trial by consumer frenzy

Black Friday is just about the most arduous challenge that could be designed to test the multichannel capabilities of a business. Thankfully, most businesses in the mid-market won’t have to deal with the volumes seen by big brands and national chains. However, multichannel operations of mid-market businesses still need to link up properly.

Connect the dots of multichannel with BlueBridge One

BlueBridge One lets today’s wholesale and distribution businesses to connect the dots of multichannel. Wholesale, In-store, Online and M2M are elements that need to be integrated. BlueBridge One is an expert at developing NetSuite as an ERP and e-commerce platform for wholesale distributors that need to accommodate consumers, retailers and channel partners.

Click here to download our free guide ‘Creating B2C multichannel e-commerce experiences for business customers’ which discusses the role of technology in helping wholesale distribution to more effectively service the needs of customer.

Free guide: Creating B2C multichannel e-commerce experiences for business customers

15th October 2015

Delivering e-commerce experiences B2B and B2C customers expect

The time of ‘Internet 1.0’ seems like a very long time ago. The velocity of change has been irresistible and in less than 20 years e-commerce has become an immense force for change. It has transformed behaviour by altering our shopping habits. It has also helped shape the physical world by creating massive warehousing, distribution and delivery centres as well as causing a tectonic and disruptive shift in the high street.

In order to get the high quality e-commerce we enjoy today, e-commerce giants have been pioneers in delivering great online B2C shopping experiences. Larger B2B companies, such as trade distribution channel businesses have followed the lead. However, the puzzle for many smaller and mid-market wholesale distributors is how to deliver the first-class online e-commerce experiences that both B2B and B2C customers now expect.

Technology capabilities and B2B user case examples

The free guide ‘Creating B2C multichannel e-commerce experiences for business customers’ discusses some key technology capabilities that support SME wholesale distribution businesses in delivering the e-commerce experiences expected by all customers. The guide contains a number of user case scenarios that show how the needs of B2B customers can be better met with technology integration.

Some points covered in the guide include:

  • Managing inventory in multiple online stores from one centrally maintained catalogue
  • Online store and back-office business system integration on a single platform
  • The importance of integration across all channels to obtain a single customer view

Better multichannel e-commerce with BlueBridge One

‘Creating B2C multichannel e-commerce experiences for business customers’ helps wholesale distribution businesses to better meet the expectations B2B buyers to have the same great e-commerce experiences as B2C customers. Whether serving consumers, retailers, channel partners or end user businesses, it provides useful information that helps you to more effectively service the needs of all customer types.

Click here to download the free guide.

Disruptive entrepreneurs wanted: NetSuite Cloud Event, London, 6 October 2015

23rd September 2015

Disruptive entrepreneurs invited to attend

Since 1998 NetSuite has been disrupting the conventional wisdom of expensive on-premise ERP and it continues to be an agent for change with its powerful, agile and flexible cloud-based solution.

Disruptive and entrepreneurially minded business leaders are invited to attend a knowledge sharing and networking event at the Emirates Stadium, London where NetSuite CEO and Zach Nelson and Co-Founder, CTO & Chairman Evan Goldberg are the lead speakers.

Why attend NetSuite Cloud Event, London?

The aim of the event is to provide:

  • A knowledge sharing opportunity enabling attendees to learn:
    • How companies are thriving in the new economy despite the unprecedented velocity of change their businesses face
    • Insights from industry experts and some of the fastest-growing, most progressive companies using NetSuite to modernise their operations and provide a superior customer experience
  • A networking opportunity at the conclusion of the formal programme
    • A great opportunity to network with other industry and disruptive leaders at the cocktail reception
  • Attendees learn about the success BlueBridge One clients such as multichannel luxury boutique brand Orlebar Brown is achieving across its instore, e-commerce and warehouse operations

Register to attend, learn and network with NetSuite and BlueBridge One

Scheduled for just three hours including networking, the NetSuite Cloud Event promises to be highly efficient and provide insights into NetSuite's future product strategy and direction, market insights from Brian Solis (Author of “The End of Business As Usual”) and how NetSuite is currently empowering businesses growth.

Please note, space is extremely limited, and all registrations may not be accommodated. To avoid disappointment reserve your space now, it’s not to be missed.

What: NetSuite Cloud Event
When: Tuesday, 6 October, 2015, 3:30 p.m. (registration opens at 2:30 p.m.)
Where: Emirates Stadium, Hornsey Road, London, N7 7AJ

Please click here to register for the event

M2M: A relative of smart machines and Artificial Intelligence

17th September 2015

The buzz of smart machines

Autonomous machines with the power to self-determine their actions are the stuff of nightmarish sci-fi. However, there is a significant buzz around smart machines, robots and Artificial Intelligence (AI) at the moment. And with good reason – big progress has been made in recent years. Whilst you may wonder what this has to do with your multichannel business, smart machines and AI are making their way to a warehouse near you!

For some, the term ‘Unmanned Aerial Vehicle’ (UAV) or ‘drone’ used to mean remotely-piloted military surveillance and attack aircraft. With the coming of cheap radio-controlled 4 rotor copters, and the intention of Amazon to ultimately test similarly designed unpiloted delivery drones, our ideas of what drones may be capable of has shifted.

However, a drone that delivers a parcel by flying from A to B by using GPS data and navigating obstacles without being a hazard is one thing. A truly autonomous machine with the ability to make decisions outside of the narrow confines of a very specific purpose is something else entirely, and it requires a ‘significant leap’.

Deployment of smart machines makes economic sense

One of the big reasons for the surge of interest is we are in the midst of the ‘significant leap’ and it has enabled smart machines to reach a pivotal stage of development. Smart machines can be thought of as an intermediate step on the road to AI. Driven by exponential rates in the increase of computing power, the current generation of smart machines is at the point where practical widespread deployment makes economic sense.

Quite simply the total cost of ownership means it is cheaper to invest in a smart machine than it is to pay a human worker. This is cause for concern among some. There is a widely held view that many job roles in some sectors will disappear within 10 to 20 years. Among them are:

  • Robot factory workers to replace between 30-90 percent of human jobs
  • Journalism machines to automate creation of news stories based on data and statistics
  • Clinical functions such as patient diagnosis from analysing medical imaging
  • Transport jobs such as taxi, PSV and truck and train drivers and pilots
  • Catering and hospitality jobs such as waiters and bar staff

M2M and wholesale distribution

M2M technology is related, and it carries much less of a perceived threat to the jobs of human workers. It can be looked on as one of the simplest ways of applying smart machine technology. M2M is a feedback mechanism, providing the capability to monitor a machine. M2M is one strand behind the Internet of Things (IoT), where domestic and industrial appliances or systems can be connected to, monitored and controlled over the internet.

One B2B application of M2M is to monitor stock levels in warehouse SKU bins to automate re-ordering. Another is connected dispensing machines that enable vending of specialised consumable items to workers in industrial facilities, allowing identification of employee usage levels and enabling timely re-stocking of the machine.

Wireless networking technology with cellular services or the LAN means M2M monitored vending installation is simple. They support 24 hour availability for production environments operating shifts and offer a far more efficient solution than operating manned central stores.

The benefits of M2M for wholesale distribution from BlueBridge One

BlueBridge One is an expert in delivering the benefits of M2M technology. We are able to integrate M2M as part of a total NetSuite solution for our wholesale distribution customers. Whether it’s monitoring SKU levels in warehouse bins or in a production facility vending machines, we enable automated stock control processes to ensure you run your business more efficiently while providing improved levels of customer service.

The week commencing 14 September 2015 the BBC is running a series of broadcast and online reports to report the latest progress around AI and its economic and social implications. Click here to take a look at ‘Intelligent Machines: The jobs robots will steal first’ at bbc.co.uk which provides links to other elements of the series.

Do you understand your customers well enough to maximise lifetime value?

25th August 2015

Understanding customer preferences across multichannel operations

Does your business understand its customers well enough to maximise lifetime customer value across its multichannel operations?

Multichannel provides the opportunity to better engage your customers and maximise their lifetime value. However, to do this you really need to ensure you understand their preferences. Are they click and collect advocates, or do they prefer to browse instore and then order for delivery?

Understanding customers isn’t all about how they undertake purchasing activity. It also covers their messaging preferences. Do they respond better to email or SMS text? Yet another aspect is to understand their use of hardware platforms. Do they prefer a laptop or PC or do they use tablets and smartphones?

Customer data collection

Any strategy to maximise lifetime customer value through engagement needs to be supported by the ability to extract and analyse data collected across all your multichannel customer touchpoints. This topic area is covered in our free guide ‘8 steps to help re-invent your wholesale distribution business’.

Once you have analysed and extracted intelligence on customer preferences, you then need to be able to apply it. The ability to present dynamic custom webpages based on the individual purchase history of each customer, or using the preferred communication method when you want to promote a special offer is often a critical consideration. Above all, the need is to integrate all activity across sales and communication channels, generating more customer data to help refine the individual profiles and fine tune sales and communication activity in the future.

Maximising lifetime customer value with BlueBridge One

The free guide ‘8 steps to help re-invent your wholesale distribution business’ helps to optimise multichannel operations, enabling you to maximise lifetime customer value. The guide contains ideas on how to review key areas of operations to help create more efficiency and build better success.

These ideas may be considered collectively or used individually to help address an area that may be of particular concern.

Some points covered in the guide include:

  • Branding and creating awareness in marketplaces where you are not recognised
  • The right channels for reaching and obtaining a better understanding of customers
  • Key considerations for choosing technology and a technology partner

Click here to download the free guide.

Is your wholesale distribution business agile enough to be competitive?

15th July 2015

Fast moving and competitive

The world of business is fast moving. Is your business agile enough to be competitive?

A lot of people talk about business agility. But what does this really mean for wholesale distribution in the multichannel age? Certainly the overarching strategic rationale for making your business agile is to enable rapid response to sudden change in the operating environment. In WD multichannel (MC) it means a lot more than this strategic definition though.

An agile multichannel company requires unified wholesale, in-store, ecommerce and M2M operations. All elements such as order processing, invoice generation, fulfilment, inventory management and procurement all need to be fully integrated. Plus in order to drive effective digital marketing campaigns it is also essential that all your employees also have a real-time 360 degree view of all your customer and inventory data. All this needs the latest up-to-the-second metrics. Yesterday’s stock data is of no use to today’s visitors to your online store! And it does nothing for the user experience or your reputation, the online social proof.

Real-time metrics and true agility

Underpinning agility is the need to be able to obtain real-time data to understand the position of your business end-to-end on-demand. This is one of the points covered in our free guide ‘8 steps to help re-invent your wholesale distribution business’.

Building agility in core business operations is one thing; supporting it in peripheral areas is another matter entirely. For example, it’s difficult to fulfil orders overnight express if your inventory has only just left China on a slow steaming ocean freight service with a transit time of 40 days to Northern Europe. True business agility enabled by real-time metrics lets you factor this in by automating re-ordering at the right time to help you avoid out of stock situations of popular lines.

Help for wholesale businesses to succeed in the multichannel age from BlueBridge One

The free guide ‘8 steps to help re-invent your wholesale distribution business’ helps to optimise operations in the age of multichannel. The guide contains ideas on how to review key areas of operations to help create more efficiency and build better success.

These ideas may be considered collectively or used individually to help address an area that may be of particular concern.

Some points covered in the guide include:

  • Branding and creating awareness in marketplaces where you are not recognised
  • The right channels for reaching and obtaining a better understanding of customers
  • Key considerations for choosing technology and a technology partner

Click here to download the free guide.

Free guide: 8 steps to help re-invent your wholesale distribution business

10th July 2015

Multiple touchpoints, multichannel and omnichannel

The last 15 years or so has seen the rate of change in business accelerate faster than at any other time since commerce began. Digital technologies and the Internet have been key change drivers. For some wholesale and distribution businesses there is a need to re-invent because the operating environment is much more complex. On one side, there is sourcing inventory from across a globalised manufacturing base and the complexities that brings in ensuring an on time, reliable supply chain that allows to meet or even better customer expectations.

On the other side sit wholesale, in-store, e-commerce and digital communications technologies that have facilitated the multichannel business model. Businesses are now able to target multiple sets of customers through the different channels or ‘touchpoints’ the business possesses. Today’s customers want the option of shopping in-store or online using the digital portal of their choice. The B2C customer expectation is for a true omnichannel shopping experience. The challenges for business are now to meet this requirement by providing multiple touchpoints through which the same customer can shop and communicate with them.

Optimising wholesale in the age of multichannel

Against this background of complexity and competitive pressure, many wholesale and distribution businesses are well positioned to meet the challenges. The free guide ‘8 steps to help re-invent your wholesale distribution business’ discusses some steps you can take to optimise your business to prosper in the age of multichannel and true omnichannel environments.

Some points covered in the guide include:

  • Branding and creating awareness in marketplaces where you are not recognised
  • The right channels for reaching and obtaining a better understanding of customers
  • Key considerations for choosing technology and a technology partner

Help to re-invent your wholesale business from BlueBridge One

‘8 steps to help re-invent your wholesale distribution business’ helps businesses to better understand some of the key factors that determine success in the multichannel age. Whether you are looking to fine tune your existing multichannel processes and technologies, or looking to move from a manual process using spreadsheets and other disconnected technologies, download the guide free to get a better understanding.

Click here to download the free guide.

5-Star Award identifies BlueBridge One as leading UK NetSuite solutions provider

20th May 2015

BlueBridge One awarded a 5 star award

SuiteWorld event, San Jose, 4 - 6 May 2015

Earlier this month saw the SuiteWorld 2015 conference, an expo for NetSuite’s global solution provider community. The extensive network of NetSuite developers and partners is crucial to helping enterprises of all sizes realise the benefits of cloud computing; enabling them to increase productivity, reduce costs, and streamline operations. The event saw around 7,500 delegates attend.

This took place at the San Jose convention centre in southern California and essentially takes the shape of an intensive two-and-a-half day download on all things NetSuite. Many of the seminars focus on learning about the latest and greatest in cloud business applications, as well as giving a heads up on the roadmap for the technology out to 2020.

The Number One choice for UK & EMEA multichannel businesses

The event sees the hand out of ‘silverware’ in the shape of NetSuite Developer Awards and NetSuite Partner Awards.

This year BlueBridge One is proud to announce it was recognised for outstanding performance with a NetSuite 5-Star Award. This builds on our previous award achievements. BlueBridge One is one of two UK solution providers to be recognised with a NetSuite 5-Star Award in 2015. This provides evidence of our commitment to UK & EMEA multichannel businesses that want to benefit from cloud-based ERP and related applications.

What does the BlueBridge One 5-Star Award really mean?

The NetSuite 5-Star Award is given for achieving outstanding performance during 2014. But what does the NetSuite 5-Star Award really mean for our existing customers, or businesses considering how best to meet today’s multichannel challenges?

It means that BlueBridge One is providing the most thorough approach to solution consultancy, design and implementation, the key steps that drive success.

However, with BlueBridge One it doesn’t just stop once we have implemented the solution. Our outstanding commitment to customer care is a result of identifying that customer retention is the key long-term to our success, and remains, the single most important contributing factor to generating our growth. With BlueBridge One you can be sure you have our full attention whenever you need support or ongoing development to meet the needs of your business.

To find out more talk to us.

Quality of BlueBridge One solutions underscored by commitment to NetSuite consultant certification

19th March 2015

BlueBridge One, the first UK based NetSuite Solution Provider to sign-up continues to show leadership and a commitment to delivering outstanding value to customers. Consultants at the solution provider have successfully completed 6 certifications. The company, headquartered in Weybridge, Surrey, which also maintains a wider EMEA presence in Gauteng, South Africa, has another 4 certifications in progress, with consultants having completed the initial phase.

Jon Ryan, BlueBridge One Managing Director, says: “While certification has been around for a while in the US it has only recently started to gain momentum in the UK. There is little doubt that certification is a key differentiator. Not only does it demonstrate our commitment to NetSuite as an ERP platform, the expertise it guarantees helps to underscore the excellence and quality of our business solutions.”

BlueBridge One specialises in partnering with multichannel distribution businesses to bring together their wholesale, in-store, online and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) operations. Jon Ryan says: “There are two parts to certification. One is about ensuring consultants have a thorough grounding in the cloud-based architecture that supports NetSuite. The other focuses on the features and functionality of the software.”

By design, passing the tests to achieve certification is not easy. Jon Ryan says: “If it were easy, then it would be of low value in helping to differentiate consultant skills and the quality standards of NetSuite system integrators. All existing and prospective companies using the NetSuite ERP platform, including wholesale distribution businesses, should make sure they establish a Partner’s certification credentials and use this information in making a value judgement of the quality of expertise and service they are likely to receive.”

7 smart ideas to drive growth in your multichannel distribution business

18th February 2015

Succeed and grow in a multichannel world

The spirit of entrepreneurship is a great business driver, and never more so than in wholesale distribution. Innovation is also an important factor in driving businesses forward. Our free guide '7 smart ideas to grow your multichannel distribution business' helps innovative entrepreneurs to succeed and grow in the multichannel age.

The guide helps wholesale distribution companies to gain a better understanding of the range of options open to them to improve business operations and achieve growth. Multichannel is more than a buzzword. It’s a new business model, and it continues to evolve. Not everyone really understands how the elements fit together and work together efficiently.

Range of options to improve multichannel business operations

A better understanding is the first step. Once a company gets up to speed it can then start thinking about the design of a strategy. There are a number of elements that need to be brought together. Broadly speaking these make operations more efficient and provide marketing enablement. Implementing multichannel requires a strategic approach to technology as well as marketing.

Technology links everything from supply chain to e-commerce, CRM and channel strategies. Some of the areas covered in the guide are marketing and channel integration, expanding into different product ranges and tax efficiency. The guide gives wholesale distributors something really useful. It could provide ideas for improving specific areas of interest or it could serve as a platform for reviewing the entire business process behind distribution operations in a world where many successful companies are leveraging multichannel.

Achieve growth in 2015 with BlueBridge One

Reading the guide helps entrepreneurially minded wholesale distribution businesses to seize on a range of opportunities to move forward. The guide provides ideas for reaching new customers and territories, developing new markets and modifying business practice.

To find out more about how wholesale distribution multichannel businesses can leverage multichannel to achieve growth simply download '7 smart ideas to grow your multichannel distribution business' free of charge. We would be very happy to discuss applying any aspect of the guide to your business to improve your operational processes.

Click here to download the free guide

Wholesale distribution: Is M2M in your multichannel plans for 2015?

5th January 2015

M2M shaping retail

M2M (Machine to Machine) communication is set to be the 'next big thing' and shape the fortunes of many businesses operating supply chains. Many retail businesses have already prepared or are gearing up to leverage M2M for competitive advantage.

The clear conclusion that can be drawn from the increasing interest in M2M is that any business that does not move to ensure it is ready to embrace this innovation could get left behind. One of the biggest areas of growth in M2M for retailers is to understand more about the shopping habits of customers and apply analytical outputs to inform their efforts to increase profitability.

Data sets, privacy and M2M in multichannel businesses

Data analytics of M2M data may well yield substantial information to support this aim. However, there is currently one major obstacle that could reduce the benefit. Privacy issues may limit the ability to take advantage of the Big Data trend of bringing discrete information silos together to yield intelligence.

An example of this might be for retailers to overlay their data with information from a Mobile Network Operator (MNO) in order to extract geographical intelligence, such as understanding how far shoppers might be willing to travel to make purchases. For businesses dependent on retail this could be a bit of a problem and severely limit their ability to succeed in an M2M world.

Multichannel businesses with strong eCommerce and trade & consumer channels as well as retail interests will also encounter the same issue. However, the channel diversity within their businesses means they are not overly exposed to retail risk downstream or hampered by the inability to leverage Big Data to improve their understanding of how to drive retail sales.

Get more from M2M in 2015 with BlueBridge One

If you are in wholesale distribution, whatever plans you have in the pipeline for 2015, make sure M2M is near the top of your development agenda. For true multichannel businesses the real benefit of M2M is upstream and downstream where it is going to be highly influential in shaping the efficiency of supply chain operations.

To find out more about how wholesale distribution multichannel businesses can leverage M2M contact BlueBridge One today. We join the dots to integrate wholesale, in-store, eCommerce and M2M with NetSuite ERP to enable more efficient supply chain operations. You can click here to take a FREE trial of NetSuite.