Technology in Wholesale Distribution | Solutions You Should be Following
Published on by Emma Knaley in Wholesale / Distribution
Technology is constantly evolving, and as a business, you must be ready to adapt to stay ahead of your competitors. In recent years, the Wholesale and Distribution industries have benefited greatly from the development of special technology that can increase productivity and customer experience. Many distributors see the opportunity to improve their technologies as necessary to help meet the growing needs of their customer bases.
Start with the customer journey
To start your technology implementation, businesses should take stock of their customer journey. There are five main stages of the customer journey that can be identified as follows:
Each of these stages can be automated or simplified with the use of new technology on the market. Many of these technologies are still in the early stages of adoption, so if implemented soon, your business will be ahead of the curve!
If you are struggling to get decision makers to consider your products when shopping, you may need to update how you present your products. You want the shopping process to be as easy as possible for the customer.
Several technologies that can help simplify the buying process include:
- Item Recognition – Item recognition software allows a customer to look up an item based on a photo. They can easily compare vendors and prices to find the one that best fits what they are looking for.
- AI-Driven Cross Selling – Artificial intelligence driven technology which allows you to send out more personalized ads or recommendations of products based on a customer’s shopping history.
- Voice Ordering – Implementation of voice ordering technology allows customers to query their smart device with verbal commands in order to place an order for your product to complete the purchase. This technology is especially beneficial for repeat customers or products a customer buys on a regular basis.
Making sure you can fulfill the order in a timely fashion can also be a challenge. There are several technologies available to help streamline the process of fulfillment and increase profits.
Two examples of softwares that help will fullfillment include:
- Warehouse Drones and Robots – Automated robots and drones can allow products to move around the warehouse faster to get ready to ship, and help your employess focus on more customer-driven activity.
- AI Machines for Inventory and Warehouse Operations – Artifical intelligence which helps better track what you have in inventory and notify you when you need to order more of any given product. Based on sales and other trends, it helps prevent overstocking and understocking.
As for the payment stage, Automated Order Processing/Invoicing is a recent technology that has already started being adopted by many distributors. This system automatically sends an invoice or charges the client when the order has been fulfilled. The process is automated but still generates the required reports for tracing and linking payments to their related orders to help maintain certain controls.
Technology can be a huge adjustment for any company, so start small. Find one stage in your business where you feel like there is room for improvement and see if there are any new technology systems that can help improve that area. Technology and data can also merge to create a more seamless and profitable process for buisnesses. As always, our team of wholesale and distribution pros are here to help! Contact us if you would like to learn more about technology implementation.