EDI is an fantastic method for orders
Retailers often use EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) to make recurring orders to wholesalers. It’s a brilliant method, because both wholesaler and retailer have a record of the order on their own system.
It doesn’t matter if the two systems are the same or not. As a wholesaler, your might use SAP and your retail customers might use Bespoke, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, or Sage etc. Regardless, the two systems both just ‘talk’, and record the order. The wholesaler can then get on with fulfilling the order, and delighting the retailer with more of their amazing products.
We know eCommerce is a massive and growing opportunity. We also know that as producers and brands, it can be difficult to attract people through eCommerce, especially for everyday goods. Some of the reasons are:
- People want to choose the products themselves from a local stockist. This is especially true for perishable goods with an expiry date like milk or cheese, or items which can vary slightly like fruit, vegetables, flowers, bread;
- People already have a routine around shopping for everyday goods. For example ‘we always go shopping every Sunday morning’, etc;
- People enjoy the shopping experience. It’s nice to go into a store and pick things.
In short, retail is awesome and provides a great sensory shopping experience to consumers. You can pick things up and touch, see, smell, feel them. You can choose the exact one that right for you (maybe you only ever buy green bananas) and it’s a great way to get the things you need.
Now let’s think about why we use sites like Amazon.com as consumers (even when we don’t buy there). We want to:
- Check a price;
- See what the product looks like, get more product information, read reviews;
- Search and browse for equivalent products within a product category;
- Find something we can’t find in our local stores.
eCommerce is brilliant and provides a great information-led shopping experience to consumers, especially to find out more information, discover new products, and find things that aren’t in the stores.
Everthying your customers need
Now think about your stockists and their journey for information. Can they easily access:
- Prices and skus;
- Detailed Product information, including information tailored for them;
- See what other items you have within a category;
- Find out more about items that they don’t order regularly from you.
For sure, you’ve sent them this information, perhaps on multiple occasions. Undoubtedly you already provide regular price lists, marketing material and samples to your stockists. You have a website with product descriptions and photos. Most important of all, you have a sales team whose job it is to promote and collaborate with your retailers on new offers and promotions. In short, you have all of the information the retailer needs. That said, can they access the most up to date information in one place when they need it?
Or do they have to contact you to get the information?
No more telepathy
Furthermore, when a retailer needs to purchase something new in one of your categories, do you rely on the retailer ‘knowing’ that you have that product, based on emails, samples, brochures etc that you sent them in the past? or Your sales team ‘knowing’ that the retailer is looking for a certain type of product?
With this in mind, please allow me to share a story:
Bertie and Chilled Ben’s
Bertie is a busy supermarket buyer in charge of chilled goods. Ben is a producer of chilled goods called ‘Chilled Ben’s’. He’s got great cheeses, fresh olives and spicy meats. Bertie always buys cheese from Chilled Ben’s. The orders come in nice and regular to Ben via the trusty automatic EDI.
Ben dearly wishes that Bertie would try Chilled Ben’s olives and meats. Unfortunately whenever Ben calls in to Bertie, he’s just got no time to talk or take a look. Ben even dropped in some marketing material and samples of Chilled Ben’s olives but heard nothing. He sent Bertie some mails to follow up about the olive range. To no avail!
One day, Bertie was looking for Chilled Ben’s Cheese SKUs and contacted Ben. Instead of Ben giving them to Bertie via phone or mail, Ben sent him logins to ‘Chilled Ben’s’ wholesale eCommerce portal. The next day, Chilled Ben’s got their first order of olives from Bertie via EDI. Within a month, Bertie become the top customer for Olives!
Wholesale eCommerce is amazon.com for your retailers
You can easily and affordably give your retailers the power to search your product range the same way you search amazon.com website. It can be easy to navigate, fast and informative.
Furthermore, it can be a one-stop-shop for tailored information that is specific to each retailer like prices, skus, product information, products, and product categories. This is protected by logins and security controls so that you control what information any one retailer can access.
When retailers log in to your online wholesale store, they see your products filled with information specific to them. In a nutshell, this is what wholesale eCommerce is about. Ensuring your stockists can access the information they need, when they need it, to make a buying decision.
In conclusion, I believe EDI and Wholesale eCommerce go together. Regardless of how orders are made, the more convenient you can make the stockists customer experience with you, the more they will want to do business with you. EDI needs a partner, something to provide convenient, ‘one-stop’, anytime access to your product range and product information. This can be easily set up via wholesale eCommerce.
To paraphrase (or perhaps butcher) a lovely poem: ‘Some Things Go Together’, by Charlotte Zolotow
Pairs of things that go together:
Pigeons with park,
Stars with dark,
Sand with sea,
and EDI with wholesale eCommerce.
Hats with heads,
Pillows with beds,
Sky with blue,
and EDI with wholesale eCommerce.
Any questions? Feel free to contact us.