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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 November 2016

How to make your business a multi-channel success story

24th November 2016

Every business has a story to tell. In fact, if you’re a wholesale distributor looking to gain new customers, explore different sales outlets and expand into other territories, you might just be ready to start a new chapter. But how can you scale your operations to a multi-channel level?

Let BlueBridge One tell you a tale of our own. Adapted from our white paper, ‘Lessons to learn on the journey to growth’, this account demonstrates how one fictional brand realized their potential from wholesale B2B distributor to multi-channel B2C retailer.

Soap for Sale is a cosmetics business that started life as a single location wholesale distributor. Soap was sold on a B2B basis to select retailers who would then display the soap in their stores or on their websites, perhaps branded under their own name.

The B2B service expanded, with the company developing a self-service ecommerce portal which allowed retailers to buy stock as and when they required it. To meet this growing wholesale demand, Soap for Sale required additional warehouse space, both locally, and internationally; it could choose between owning its own warehouse locations or utilising 3PL services in order to serve customers in new territories.

With the ongoing success of Soap for Sale, its founders were no longer content with supplying soap just to third parties and decided to also sell directly to customers. They developed their own branded products, and sold to the visitors of their website via an ecommerce store. They also used third party market places to reach more customers, such as Amazon and Etsy.

As their B2C offering became more popular and brand awareness grew, Soap for Sale secured space within the physical outlets of larger retailers, opening concessions in various locations. Products were selling well in physical outlets, and Soap for Sale understood that they could benefit from opening their own retail stores. Over time, new branches launched throughout the country as the model proved itself.

Along the way, the brand faced issues with administrative processes, inventory management and logistics as demand increased, but Soap for Sale adapted to become a true multi-channel distributor. They eventually distributed goods to wholesale buyers, via the internet, through concession spaces and in their own bricks and mortar shops.

Growing your wholesale business into a multi-channel operation doesn’t have to be a work of fiction. Our white paper entitled ‘Wholesale to multi-channel: lessons to learn on the journey to growth’ expands on this fictional account to outline some of the real life challenges you can expect to face along the way, and how they can be overcome with the use of the correct business management solutions.

BlueBridge One can turn your plans into a reality.

If you’re ready to develop your multi-channel strategy, we can help. Visit BlueBridge One online to see how business management software can help you to scale your processes, manage your back office activities, integrate systems and improve working efficiencies.

Point of sale features to improve your in-store experience

18th November 2016

With so many distractions surrounding us all, retailers are having to work harder and smarter to keep customers engaged in-store. Whether we have our heads down browsing our smart phone while in the queue, or we’re skipping the crowds altogether to order online from the comfort of our sofa, retail outlets find themselves facing the challenge of how to make the in-store experience more inviting, more efficient, and more cohesive.

Making sure that customers enjoy high levels of service, and that in-store concepts are interesting and involving are key ways to ensure that shoppers come back time and time again to a retail space. Here, BlueBridge One provides some ways to improve the in-store experience for browsers and buyers alike:

Transactions via mobile POS

With tablets and smart devices increasingly being used upon the shop floor, consider implementing the ability to process transactions upon them. Whilst they are already being used to present information to the customer and showcase stock, buyers are often then sent to wait in line to make their purchase. Being able to complete the entire purchase, from pitch to payment with the same member of staff who has helped them using the tablet, saves waiting time, reduces bottlenecks at till points and doesn’t interrupt the customer’s experience.

Get interactive

Encourage visitors to really connect with your brand while they’re within your premises by offering interactive activities. Providing the tools for ‘selfie taking’ and social sharing can offer a fun and memorable dressing room experience, while setting up competitions can offer talking points, rouse interest and present opportunities for capturing all important data for future marketing activities.

In-store events

Give customers more than they expected when they visit your retail outlet by holding in-store events. Whether these are flash discount days, sampling of product testers, celebrity guests, or talks and workshops, providing treats and entertainment will add value to the customer’s trip to your premises, and have them returning to find out what’s happening next.

Increase efficiencies

A sure way to promote brand loyalty is through great customer service. While we all love the convenience of shopping online, visiting a store offers the personal approach of knowledgeable and friendly sales staff. Ensure that waiting times are short, both to be attended to and to make a payment, and promote the best levels of customer care and attention throughout your organisation.

Great retailing, offline and online.

If you’d like to know more about offering the best customer experience in-store or via your e-commerce platforms, or how to build a cohesive multi-channel strategy for your brand, we can help. Visit BlueBridge One online to see how Enterprise Resource Planning software can help you to increase customer engagement, manage your business processes and back office activities, be more productive on the shop floor, and improve working efficiencies.

Do you need some advice?

Request a call back from one of our consultants today and we’ll be happy to help.

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The journey from wholesale distributor to multi-channel business: how is it done?

9th November 2016

The journey from wholesale distributor to multi-channel business: how is it done?

For modern brands, keeping up with the demands of digitally connected and commercially aware consumers is a priority. Those beginning life as wholesale distributors are ultimately looking to operate as multi-channel businesses in order to fulfil customer needs both online and in-store.

But how can wholesale distributors grow their operations to reach the stage where they are also offering ecommerce and bricks and mortar retailing?

Let’s take a look at some of the steps likely to be involved in this journey, and some of the challenges that may be faced along the way:

  • Wholesale distributor sells products to B2B customers from a single location
  • Increase in B2B customers call for introduction of ecommerce portal and additional warehouse space
  • Business begins selling directly to B2C customers via ecommerce, using their own website, and third party market places such as Etsy and Amazon
  • Increased order volume and demand for stock needs to be managed
  • Concessions may be opened in the stores of other larger name brands
  • Pressure may be put on administrative processes and working efficiencies
  • When demand for products increases, the brand may decide to open their own bricks and mortar stores, progressing into new locations as and when successful
  • Disparate and duplicate customer data may be obtained from multiple sources
  • Business works hard to provide a cohesive customer experience across their website, chain of store, marketing communications and social media presence

If you’d like to know more about progressing your business in this way, our white paper entitled ‘Wholesale to multi-channel: lessons to learn on the journey to growth’ gives a comprehensive account of expanding your distribution enterprise. You’ll learn how to follow this model and how to overcome common challenges.

BlueBridge One can help you on your journey.

If you’re struggling with the demands that come with growing your distribution operation into a full multi-channel business, we can help. Visit BlueBridge One online to see how business management software can help you to increase customer engagement, manage your business processes and back office activities, integrate systems and improve working efficiencies.

Do you want to adopt a multi-channel approach to selling?

Then download our white paper now for tools to help you expand your operation.

Download now ›