Today, wholesale distributors are looking for ways to continue to protect their existing customer base, to hold or increase profit margins where possible, and to look for opportunities to grow their market presence through selling additional products and services to existing customers and by finding and attracting new customers with whom to do business.
One way in which distributors can continue to maintain existing customers and add new ones is by continually asking, “What can I do today to make it easier for my customers to do business with me?” What is it that customers are looking for in the first place?
Customers want to buy the products and services they need from their supplier. They don’t want to hear that their supplier can provide certain products from a given manufacturer’s product lines but can’t provide others because “we don’t stock those items.” They may even be looking for suppliers who are willing to place consignment inventory of certain high-moving or highly critical stock at the customer’s premises for easy consumption.
Customers want straight forward and accurate pricing. They also want to understand their suppliers’ ability to deliver the given products they’re looking to acquire in the time frame within which they need them.
Once they’re ready to place an order with their supplier, they want to be able to do so as efficiently as possible. They want to be able to minimize their work efforts while providing their supplier the precise information they need to be able to receive the products in the exact quantity they’ve ordered, and to be invoiced exactly what they expect for those products.
Customers want to be able to choose their preferred methods of placing orders – either via eCommerce, EDI, fax, email, or phone – and want to get back an accurate promise date from their suppliers the first time, every time. They likewise want to receive communications from their supplier in their preferred manner.
When the products they’re acquiring are delivered, customers want to receive the expected quantities on the date and time frame in which they were promised by the supplier. They may also want their suppliers to perform value-added services including applying correct product labeling and price marking of the products to the customer’s specifications.
Finally, customers want to work with suppliers who can resolve any issues that may arise when transacting business together in an expedient, professional manner with a first-time resolution. They also want their suppliers to take the data arising from problem resolution and make continuous improvements to minimize or eliminate the possibility of the given issue arising again in the future. They want their suppliers to make it easy for them to get the information they need in the manner in which they need it to be able to transact and analyze their on-going business.
The bottom line is that customers are looking to do business with suppliers who “say what they do, and do what they say – period.” Customers want to work with suppliers who are looking out for their customers’ best interests while continuing to grow their own businesses. By leveraging wholesale distribution software solutions, like TGI’s Enterprise 21, wholesale distributors can meet and exceed their customers’ precise expectations.