Industry Revolution 4.0 is happening now and businesses that do not cope with the changes will lack behind their respective competitors. Smart machine tools, advanced software & robotics are changing the way humans work and are focused on creating more efficient jobs for them rather than reducing the number of jobs.
While digitisation & overall equipment effectiveness are going to be necessities for manufacturers, it isn’t difficult to upskill and modernise the way your wholesale business works. And going forward in this article we are going to help you out with the same, helping you with strategies, tips, and tools to use so you can implement these modern ways to do your wholesale business.
No matter what products you sell, having an efficient management system for your company, strategising effective marketing & sales tactics, defining a well-structured distribution plan along with a good customer support system is important.
Trade fairs, also referred to as trade shows, are the best places to market your company to retailers & other customers. You can set up your booth and display your products for sale and can also use this exposure to form long-term connections with relevant industry people.
A major factor to consider when presenting your company is to think about your customer’s experience at the booth. Make sure you:
Have product catalogues ready at the call of the customer
Provide a good experience in the buying process
Establish trust & speed up order fulfilment
Ditching paper comes as the most crucial part of this entire process because that is where you will lead against your competitors. You will find out the best software tools to be used towards the end of the article.
One strategy you might consider focuses on your existing customers. A referral incentive offers existing clients an incentive, such as a discount on their next wholesale order, for referring your company to potential clients. This provides your company with the opportunity to further develop your relationships with existing clients.
Additionally, you can grow your client base as potential customers get in contact. Since the potential clients heard about your company from an existing client, they may already trust your services and the quality of your products, which can improve the likelihood of them becoming regular clients.
Today’s world lives & breathes on social media. They consume enough content on a daily basis and these social media platforms recommend content based on their interests. Having a good social media presence helps you reach these potential clients who you might not contact directly. These clients can be consumers as well as other businesses who might be interested in buying from you.
Consistent social media handles increase their follower presence and eventually gather an audience that is high potential customers. These customers also remain loyal to your brand because these are the ones who actually like your brand & products and will eventually keep buying from you in the longer run.
Your product catalogues will play a crucial role in presenting your products to your clients. But having a website can help you increase your reach to those clients who do not contact you directly but might be interested in buying your products.
These clients can directly search on the internet and find your products, eventually increasing your sales as well with an effective marketing method. You can list your products & company information, thus establishing trust as well.
Once you have created your website, your next task is to increase the reach of your website by ranking it higher on Google. Search engine marketing is one way to go about it but the most organic & efficient way to do this is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
To rank higher on google, you need to have all relevant keywords on your website and start with your efforts on content marketing. Writing blogs that help your target customers and add value for them has proven to be a boon for wholesalers in the past. A business that solves the problems of its customers will always attract customers to sell more than its competitors.
And along with content marketing, you can generate leads through newsletter signups and create a database of such leads. Here comes email marketing where you nurture this lead with value-adding content on emails and elaborate on how your product is the best solution for them.
While most of the above-mentioned strategies are organic, you can create paid advertising campaigns to increase your reach outside of the organic audience that you have set up.
Billboard & newspaper advertising has been there for years but now you have more efficient and trackable ways to run ads. Digital marketing ads on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, or even Twitter are sometimes cheaper and also give you insights on who are the people viewing & engaging with your ads. Moreover, these ads can be targeted to relevant customers so you do not waste your resources on an uninterested audience.
According to a recent report released by IT consulting giant Accenture, 86% of leading B2B companies surveyed are already offering their customers the option of ordering online. Only 14% are not.
As customers get used to the convenience of ordering online in their consumer lives, those expectations for 24/7 availability are increasing in their work lives. Businesses that are able to implement omnichannel strategies (by allowing customers to order from the sales rep, on the web, or on a mobile device) are already seeing returns. Those who do not take these steps will be left behind.
In addition to this, you can add your company information to industry directories. Industry directories are compilations of online resources that list several different companies in a specific industry. Most retailers use such directories and having a good presence on such platforms can help you stay ahead of the competition.
It's crucial for your retailers to offer your product to clients as you sell goods to them. The retailer can purchase more goods from you, the wholesaler when clients make purchases from the retailer. Adding goods that advertise your product to retail stores is one tactic. You might make marketing materials like posters or signage to get customers' attention. You can boost your sales to that specific retail customer by helping to promote the product in-store.
Building a devoted community of followers and consumers is not simple, and it requires money, just like getting new customers does. You can take advantage of the company's reputation by forming a wholesale collaboration with an established brand that is well-known in your market. This will help you get your goods in front of customers.
Your sales representatives are your eyes and ears on the ground. When presenting to your potential buyers, it’s important for them to have relevant information - product catalogues, inventory data & customising options, which are also easy to access.
Forward-thinking wholesalers, manufacturers, and distributors are understanding that in order to make sales in this day and age, sales reps need to add value to their sales conversations, not just go through the motions of writing down a reorder.
Companies are arming their sales reps with easy access to key information, like customer order history, most ordered items, and stock levels for each product. They’re also giving their sales reps digital catalogues with customer-specific pricing already built in so that reps don’t have to waste their time memorising data or looking up pricing. Instead, they can concentrate on what they’re actually there to do: sell.
All your customers aren’t the same. They have different mindsets, different interests, & different needs. A successful business optimises its offerings based on these different factors for its respective customers.
This problem can be solved with the concept of customer segmentation & territory management. Territory management is the process by which sellers prioritise and manage a group of customers and prospects, who are typically organised by segments (such as geography, industry, and need).
Such customer segmentation also helps your sales reps identify clients better and hence cater to their needs in the best possible way to close a higher number of deals.
Building long-term relationships with your customers and providing them with timely customer service will generate recurring sales for your business. According to studies, it can cost five times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. So it’s important to keep the customers you already have happy. One of the easiest ways to do this is by providing superior customer service.
To offer good customer support, it is crucial for your business to have an active team that caters to the needs along with efficient ways to implement communication with your customers.
At the end of the day, to improve your business be it marketing, distribution, or sales, all of this is to be done by your team. So the most crucial part of your wholesale business is to help your team implement these tips & tricks productively.
According to wholesale distributors, the biggest difficulty is inefficient order writing. There are still far too many wholesalers processing orders on dated clipboards and paper order forms. Some have made a half-step towards technology by employing Excel spreadsheets and PDF order forms, but these processes are just as labour-intensive as paper, if not more so.
Because mobile technology is so prevalent in our lives today, many prosperous wholesale distribution companies are utilising it to provide sales agents with access to customer data, product catalogues, and an order writing interface directly on their smartphones or tablets.
Along with this, tracking incoming/outgoing inventory, doing regular physical inventory counts, and coordinating your inventory levels with fluctuation in demand are all keys to deciding which inventory management strategies are right for your business.
There are numerous tools available in the market for you to optimise your business functions and making the right choice remains the most important part here.