In these days of big boxes and super sellers, it’s not easy for small to medium sized distributors to thrive. according to
Small and medium sized distributors still have a lot to offer. There are areas where small, agile distributors can have the advantage. But, customizing the e-commerce experience is one of the most important competencies that distributors will need to stay in the game.
Here are some strategies to compete with the big players:
Play to your strengths
You are not the biggest, so you have to find areas where you can excel. Provide consistency across the demand-to-monetization cycle. Benefit from the precision and attention to detail that giants lack. Focus on exceptional customer service, order fulfillment, and tracking.
Provide exceptional service
When it comes to customer service, the smaller size gives you an advantage. You don’t have to worry about hundreds of thousands of orders; Therefore, you can devote time and attention to each transaction. Appreciate your customers and give them the attention they deserve. To do this, your employees need to understand your customers. Give them the tools to keep notes on a customer’s file, keep track of any past issues they’ve had, and note their preferences. Develop a general idea of who is outside the numbers they represent.
Expedited Shipping and Tracking
Shipping and handling should include much more than “Has it arrived?” You want to inspire confidence every step of the way. In the order-to-cash process, tracking should begin the moment the order is placed. With useful integrations and well-placed automation, you can track data links directly to your sales documents. Providing your customers a complete view of their requests keeps them in the loop and saves you having to collect information manually in the future.
Investing in mobile devices for delivery drivers is a worthwhile investment. Stay in touch with your drivers at any time, allowing continuous visibility of the location of your orders. With the right navigation tools, you can change lanes or drivers if needed.
Understand your distributions
Getting to know the details of your business means more than just understanding your day-to-day workflow. Having the tools to analyze the patterns of your operations can help you anticipate future demand and create thoughtful strategies for future growth.
Develop a strategy for storage layouts
Reevaluate your warehouse layout. Is it strategically set up? If not, your teams may be wasting valuable time and energy. Is each shelf designed for visibility and accessibility? Do you have your most popular products near the front, so they are easy to find? What was your motivation when you decided how many lanes you should have? Consider how your workers move in the warehouse, which areas are frustrating, and why. Use this information to determine if you need more efficient planning.
Watch what sells
You have to pay attention to demand trends. Have tools to run reports that identify your best-selling products. Knowing the products that move to and from your warehouse regularly, you can prioritize ordering those products and add some backups so you don’t run out.
It will help you to know which items are not being sold when you update your catalog. Don’t risk tripping over products that no one wants.
It may take some maneuvering, research and of course the right tools for you to compete with the big sellers, but you can succeed. Well-crafted operational strategies can make a big difference. Be persistent and forward. Improve your technology and practices, and you will eventually see significant changes that lead to growth and progress for your company.
As your operational outlook gets bigger and brighter, you’ll need a software solution that can keep up. You don’t want to override your system after a few years of implementation. Find a flexible and scalable solution that allows you to personalize how you manage the demand-to-cash cycle.
Now get back out there, and start worrying about these giants of the industry.
Founded in 2003 as SalesPad,
We help mid-market distributors gain unprecedented visibility into their distribution operations, improve and accelerate the customer-to-cash lifecycle, improve customer relationships, and enhance profitability.
If you would like to know what improved distribution technology and best practice guidelines can do for your small and medium-sized distribution business,