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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 July 2017

5 ways for multichannel distributors to improve service inspired by Amazon

26th July 2017

Testing the market with new ideas

Amazon offers a lot of services, however, this is no accident and the internet giant is no accidental empire. Amazon was not a tech triumph that came about because some geek got lucky in his dad’s garage!

Amazon is restless and always seems to be testing the market with a new idea. Some - take drone delivery for example - are truly innovative. Others, such as Fresh (grocery delivery) show it flexing its muscles, trying to leverage the brand and disrupt markets and steal market share from companies that have become complacent and take customers for granted (we can all think of examples of companies like those…).

We looked at one overarching element of its business strategy in a previous blog, ‘Lesson from Amazon: Never stop seeking opportunities to disrupt’. Here we look at some of Amazon’s specific services to see what we can learn from those.

1. Giving premium service with Amazon Prime

Introduced in 2005, Amazon Prime offers next day delivery for members paying an annual subscription fee. In some territories it provides music and video streaming services. As well as the subscription fee this makes it ‘easier’ to order from Amazon and garners loyalty.

How might your business model be modified to roll in uplifted delivery and complementary premium services for a fee?

2. Making it easy with Amazon Prime Wardrobe

Buying fashion and clothing online has always come with the downside of returning unsuitable items. Amazon Prime Wardrobe sweetens the pill by letting members try clothes on before buying and then return them for free. It’s in beta in the US but it looks certain go global in all the developed economies.

How could you make it easier for your multichannel customers to buy from you, especially where there is an unknown (like will it fit) in the purchase?

3. Style policing with Amazon Echo Look

Worried about whether your outfit matches and want to avoid making a fashion faux pas? The Echo look is an Alexa (Amazon’s Artificial Intelligence voice avatar) driven camera and speaker device that can photograph and video your outfit and provide advice and sense check your choice of dress. Bad hair days might be a bit trickier…

How could you offer advice and notes about your products through technology?

4. Discounting products with Amazon Warehouse Deals

Amazon Warehouse Deals are how the online shopping giant disposes of SKUs that it wants to offer at reduced prices. They might be brand new, returned or those that otherwise can’t be sold as brand new.

How might you present an offer for shifting lines that you want to run down quickly, or for returned and unpackaged items?

5. Slimming operations with Fulfilled by Amazon

Fulfilled by Amazon is simply Amazon using its infrastructure, staffing and capacity to deliver 3rd Part Logistics (3PL) services to companies that sell through Amazon Marketplace.

How could you utilise overcapacity and sweat the assets in your business to generate additional revenue?

Exploit opportunities and disrupt markets with BlueBridge One

Whatever ideas you have for introducing new service offers and driving growth, its more than likely you’ll need to leverage technology. ERP is critical to the efficiency of multichannel distributors and the best solutions are flexible and adaptable.

BlueBridge One is a NetSuite 5-Star Award winning system integrator that provides the services to adapt NetSuite ERP to deliver new service offers for your business. If you’ve got a great idea for a new service that you want to move forward with, why not talk to us?

To see how our cloud ERP solutions could help you set up new service offers inspired by Amazon (or anyone else!), simply get in touch today.

Click here for the blog ‘Lesson from Amazon: Never stop seeking opportunities to disrupt’.

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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9 trends and 3 strategic considerations showing the way forward in distribution and multichannel

19th July 2017

Insights for wholesale and multichannel businesses

Keynote speaker R “Ray” Wang, Principal Analyst and CEO of Constellation Research at SuiteWorld 17 earlier this year provided some interesting insights. They highlight the need for wholesale distributors and multichannel businesses to make sure they keep up with new technology and continually review what they do and how they are doing it.

The choice is to adapt, or fall into decline, fail or get swallowed…

Firstly, referencing the US Fortune 500, Mr Wang noted that 52 percent of companies in the Fortune 500 have either gone bankrupt, been acquired or merged or fallen off the list since 2000. He stated these organisations failed to respond quickly to the change.

Consider how this period over the last 17 years or so, incorporates the 2001 dotcom bubble and the overheated market relating to technology stocks and shares; it becomes clear that the failure to respond to change illustrates the deeply disruptive effect which new technology may have.

Nine trends happening right now

Secondly, Mr Wang identified nine trends that he sees happening right now which reflect new realities of business models.

1. Shift from product margins to services margins

  • Leveraging value added services to improve profitability

2. Develop post sale business models

  • Designing after sales services to drive growth

3. Invest in direct to consumer

  • Cutting out middlemen in the channel to increase margins

4. Forecast precision demand

  • Better inventory management to be Just in Time

5. Move back to domestic production

  • Repatriating manufacturing to local facilities

6. Maximising equipment value

  • Sweating assets to maximising cost/benefit analysis

7. Streamline order to cash

  • Reduce drag on cash inflows from sales

8. Increase automation and robotics

  • AI-enabled software automation and robot devices

9. Improving uptime and optimization

  • Greater systems resilience and more efficient processes

Key considerations for succeeding in a multichannel mobile world

There are a few unifying principles that link these trends and which serve as key considerations for distribution businesses already pursuing a multichannel strategy, or those planning to diversify operations and execute one.

1. Investing in the right technology

  • Make sure the right systems are in place to execute the strategy that incorporates these trends

2. Aiming to achieve operational excellence

  • Appropriate technology should be able to support efficient supply chain operations and the supporting workflows

3. Providing seamless mobile and multichannel

  • For end users customers and channel partners, as well as internal teams and departments, systems should provide seamless experiences

Execute your business strategy more effectively with BlueBridge One

Do you worry that the ERP technology in your business doesn’t perform well, is too costly and doesn’t provide value, or simply past its sell buy date?

BlueBridge One specialises in integrating NetSuite ERP to provide the flexibility, agility and capability today’s distributors and multichannel businesses need. To sustain growth or to re-boot operational processes and workflows, we have worked with 100’s of businesses, enabling them to adapt and succeed as technology disrupts markets and creates opportunities.

To see how our cloud ERP solutions help you execute a business strategy that incorporates the key considerations that link the nine trends, simply get in touch today.

Click here for the article ‘Full Speed to Next: SuiteWorld Reveals the Future for Manufacturers and Distributors’ at

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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New BlueBridge One guide looks at tough questions to help wholesale distributors be more resilient in the face of disruptive change

19th July 2017

For immediate release and publication: July 2017

BlueBridge One has released a new guide, ‘Disrupted trading relationships: Gain competitive advantage from disruptive change’. This is aimed at helping wholesale distribution firms to navigate the choppy waters that are brought about by disruptive events.

Today’s operating environment may be characterised as uncertain and this is due to disruption brought about by events in politics, business and society which cause rapid change. Issues for businesses may be precipitated by specific events, such as the UK’s Brexit vote, or reflect more generalised phenomena, such as rapid currency fluctuations for currencies across the globe.

The guide sketches the background to disruptive events and then provides a snapshot of how many wholesale distributors use technologies to manage processes. It then goes on to pose a series of questions to help business owners and senior managers understand how the best ERP technologies ease and may even overcome the problems that sometimes arise from sudden changes to the operating environment.

Partnering with customers to deliver the full benefit of NetSuite, BlueBridge One has seen some customers tackle change issues more easily. Others have been able to pursue strategies of turning disruptive change in to competitive advantage. The guide has been developed to explain and bring the benefit of these experiences to potential new customers that do not have NetSuite, or those with NetSuite that are looking to engage with a new partner.

The guide aims to steer WD through the logic and value of making sure they have systems that are adaptable, flexible and supported by responsive technology partners.

Download link for the guide: ‘Disrupted trading relationships: Gain competitive advantage from disruptive change.’

A leading partner for the industry’s leading ERP business software

BlueBridge One has been a leading NetSuite solution provider since 2003, when it was the first UK and EMEA appointed partner. Over a decade later, having grown substantially to include a multi-disciplinary team of experienced NetSuite certified consultants, we continue to help customers successfully grow their businesses on the NetSuite platform.


Managing Director: Jon Ryan
Phone: +44 1932 300000

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Lesson from Amazon: Never stop seeking opportunities to disrupt

4th July 2017

Love it or hate it, you can’t ignore Amazon!

Love it or hate it, Amazon is a company which you just can’t afford to ignore. From its simple beginning of selling books online in 1994, to today’s global domination of online product sales, and massive compute capacity supporting its data centre web services offer, the story of Amazon is truly compelling. Never more so than if you are an entrepreneur and owner, or the manager of a product distribution business.

There are many lessons that can be learned from Amazon’s success. Sure, it receives its share of negative MSM (Main Stream Media) coverage and social comment, but this reflects the level of success which the company enjoys.

It might be easy when you happen to have got in on the ground floor and are now generating a net income of over $2bn and have assets of more than $83bn with which to support endless market research, invest heavily in innovation and attract top talent. Perhaps it is harder when you have more limited resources at your disposal?

What can we learn from Amazon?

However, just because you run a smaller operation, it doesn’t mean you can’t learn from Amazon’s success and translate the lessons to make your multichannel distribution business more prosperous.

Among the 25 or so main products and services of listed by Wikipedia many are familiar, some because they have attracted a lot of attention. All of the list below is prefixed with ‘Amazon’…

  • Prime - same day/next day delivery
  • Video - video on demand
  • Fresh - groceries and perishable produce
  • Local - daily deals limited by geography
  • Platinum MasterCard - credit card facility
  • Vouchers - gifts and prizes
  • Drive - online cloud data storage service
  • Studios - programming and original video content

If Amazon didn’t invent Black Friday, who did? Is the prospect of drone deliveries really likely, or is it just pie carrying robots in the sky?

We could go on, but you get the picture. So, what can we make of it all and learn?

  • First and foremost, Amazon is a technology company, and it goes without saying that its outstanding tech is absolutely pivotal to its success.
  • Secondly, Amazon is absolutely relentless in the way it explores for new opportunities, and being disruptive clearly plays a key part in its strategy.
  • Thirdly, Amazon has no respect for the status quo; if you are an established business, especially one that is complacent, it is likely to consider muscling in on your action.

Exploit opportunities and disrupt markets with BlueBridge One

If you want to disrupt the marketplaces in which you compete or exploit new markets and opportunities like Amazon, have you got the right technology tools?

BlueBridge One is a NetSuite 5-Star Award winning system integrator that specialises in partnering with product distribution businesses. Many distribution businesses with which we work find they are better able to disrupt markets and exploit opportunities once they have the right technology tools at their disposal.

To see how our cloud ERP solutions can help you apply the lesson of Amazon to your multichannel product distribution business, simply get in touch today.

Do you need some advice?

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

Talk to us ›