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How a fast-growing south african distributor solved the e-commerce challenge on NetSuite

There are many challenges distribution companies face, but one topic of conversation refuses to quieten down. Delivering B2C online customer experiences in a B2B environment. With the evergreen threat of Amazon Business (read our recent blog post here on that) showing no signs of slowing down, it is key that distribution companies of any type must become truly agile and deliver on customer expectations (whilst keeping an eye on pricing and the bottom line).

Your clients come to you for products, but also for excellent customer experiences. Your staff and sales representatives deliver every time, but if your sales portal doesn't it will result in lost business. Having an ERP platform which offers customers multiple "channels" for doing business with you is becoming more important. Also being able to leverage all the client data across channels, financial spend and buying habits, all stored in your ERP system will not only give you the competitive edge but also enable you to quickly respond to threats or opportunities in real time. Without this insight, it's tough to future proof your organisation against varying factors.

South African customer Solarpop took notice and as a result, have emerged as the leading distribution company of children's board games across Africa. They recognised that they must adapt quickly to the changing landscape and put customer expectations at the heart of what they do. In order to do this, they had to deliver an e-commerce platform that seamlessly links to their inventory, financials and CRM system.

Watch this video which shows you how Solarpop scaled up faster than they ever expected by accessing the power of NetSuite.

"NetSuite Suite Commerce Advanced is a new channel for us to deal with our customers. It was a way for our retailers to experience dealing with Solarpop as if they were shopping on an online B2C platform. In month three already, 49% of our business was done on our new eCommerce platform" - Fabio Salvador - CEO Solarpop

Solarpop first came to BlueBridge One as a result of a merger of 3 separate legal entities that merged into one. This was driven by the need to consolidate operations across their entities. Solarpop is based at 2 locations in Cape Town and one in Gauteng and its customer base is primarily companies in the retail space. Originally most of their items were warehoused in a 3rd party warehouse.

During 2018 all stock was moved to an in-house warehouse, using handheld devices for barcode scanning on pick/pack/shipping forms. Migrating across to handheld scanning devices with the help of RF Smart (another useful app used to extend the capability of NetSuite) created a number of key benefits along with the overall use of NetSuite:

  • - With all stock managed from the in-house warehouse, Solarpop provided consignment stock to larger B2B customers, greatly reducing lag time between selling stock and new orders arriving. Solarpop now reacts faster to market demand than their competitors
  • - Solarpop staff have real-time updates for stock levels and ability to react to promotions via the website
  • - Handheld devices used in the warehouse when packing and shipping orders provide real-time visibility of stock levels
  • - Being able to have real-time updates on stock levels, customer orders and purchase orders - allowing management to be proactive with business decisions
  • - Integrated eCommerce website allowed Solarpop ability to transition a large portion of B2B customers to online ordering. Customers have real-time visibility of prices, available stock, immediate access to orders/invoices/statements history. Previously customers ordering was completed via telephone & email and was a slow and manual process and very much open to human error. It was also a laborious process to share up to date pricing and without data, they were unable to make decision-based on future pricing structures

"For me BlueBridge One made a huge difference in terms of us being ready to go and trade with the NetSuite platform on day one" - Fabio Salvador

Oracle NetSuite is the worlds number one cloud business software vendor. Their comprehensive business suite for growing businesses encompasses ERP, CRM, and ecommerce and helps thousands of wholesale distribution organisations streamline and run their entire business in the cloud. Gartner named NetSuite a Leader in the Magic Quadrant for Cloud Core Financial Management Suites for Midsize, Large and Global Enterprises. What does this mean?

  • - NetSuite is one of only three solutions listed in the Leaders quadrant.
  • - NetSuite is the only Leader that serves businesses of all sizes across all major regions.>
  • - NetSuite has more customers using cloud financials than any other solution in the quadrant.

If you are considering NetSuite, then talk to us. Our job at BlueBridge One is to make sure NetSuite meets the specific needs of each organisation. We tinker, tailor and tweak this powerful platform until you have the configuration exactly how you need it. If you would like to learn how we can help your company scale up faster than ever before then get in touch at sales@bluebridgeone.com. Alternatively, you can cut to the chase and talk to a NetSuite expert. We offer a free 20 minute ERP sanity check where we learn from you where your gaps are and review if you ready to make the move to NetSuite.

"We have a philosophy at BlueBridge that our customers should think big, start small and act fast" - Channing McDonald, Global Services Director, BlueBridge One.

Finally, if you prefer to do your research under the radar then download this free 'survival kit' on how distributors can overcome the Amazon effect.

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