2017 looks set to be the year when wholesale distribution businesses will have to work harder than ever to retain existing clients and win new custom. This is due to disruptive competitors emerging into the marketplace, customer expectations being raised by revolutionary new formats for shopping and delivery, and political and economic uncertainty affecting consumer confidence. With so much choice, and the ability to shop around the clock from any device, attracting and holding on to increasingly unpredictable customers is an uphill struggle.
As such, wholesale distributors are moving their focus away from product, and onto customer service, exceeding shopping and order fulfilment standards in order to differentiate their offering. To help you achieve this, BlueBridge One has compiled the following 3 ways for you to put the customer at the heart of your multi-channel operation.
Today’s digitally savvy spenders are constantly connected, and the immediacy of our online world has led to a perceived need for urgency in all things. Delivery of goods is no exception – we now want to shop where and went we want, and we want the process of browsing to ownership to take as little time as possible. To fulfil this expectation, retailers and wholesale distributors are reviewing their delivery capabilities, offering next day, same day, or even within the hour drop offs. Improving workflow and inventory management efficiencies will also upgrade the standard and pace of order fulfilment before dispatch.
For multi-channel distributors, it is vital that the customer journey is cohesive across a number of different outlets and platforms. Whether visiting you in-store, buying online, or connecting with your brand via social media, selling through a variety of mediums means that your brand messages and levels of service need to be consistent wherever a buyer interacts with you. The best multi-channel distributors have one customer record no matter what touch point the customer uses (talk to us for more information on this).
Mobile search queries now overtake those undertaken at a desktop, and according to a prediction by Gartner, by 2018, 5% of customer service enquiries will be initiated using a smart device. Customer service departments need to be operating from mobile-friendly inbound channels, offering digital services such as live chat, to meet the demand for advice and guidance from the palm of our hands.
Ultimately, wholesale distributors need to invest time and money into understanding the changing requirements of their target market, and invest in an improved level of order fulfilment and customer care – or face being left behind in favour of a competitor who can better meet these expectations and provide greater levels of customer satisfaction.
Knowing that your end-to-end business processes are operating as efficiently as they can be, and that your systems and processes are up to date will allow your wholesale distribution business to meet and exceed customer expectations. Implementing leading business management software will help you to stay in control and maximise your potential – to find out how BlueBridge One can guide you through the use of NetSuite to reach your business goals, talk to us.