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Unified omnichannel commerce platform helps wholesale distributors emerge stronger in post-COVID era

The global coronavirus pandemic has presented a myriad of challenges for wholesale distributors. Never before has there been such disruption affecting crucial operational elements, including the impact of restricted transport on the supply chain, changing customer behaviour causing demand volatility and inventory and procurement strategies being affected. Not forgetting the emergence of evolving working procedures such as remote working and social distancing measures in the workplace.

Technology is already playing a crucial role in the transformation of distribution business models, but these latest challenges require more than just a great software solution. A unified omnichannel platform – developed with specialist industry expertise – will provide wholesale distribution businesses with the heightened agility they need to emerge from this crisis more robustly. Firms should fully prepare to capitalise on the opportunities this ‘new normal’ brings, from seizing a more flexible and effective supply chain, to sustaining growth witnessed in online sales while managing stock smarter.

Effective omnichannel management is achieved with real-time, 360-degree business view

Omnichannel commerce was already a well-developed concept – with sales channels ranging from online sales directly from an e-commerce website, over the phone sales, email marketing or mobile point of sale. However, one real pain point for wholesale distributors is the effective management of all sales orders coming through different channels, or managing orders coming via various partners, and being ahead of the game in terms of stock.

The pandemic has caused a dramatic spike in online shopping – and not just in the grocery sector but also in those including home and garden, technology and outdoor/sporting goods; even many office supplies that you may assume were not required, have been in high demand due to home-schooling. This increased online demand is a great opportunity for wholesale distributors, but for those working with disparate business management systems, it also come with significant challenges. A unified platform offering a 360 degree view of the whole business, such as Oracle NetSuite’s Wholesale Distribution (NetSuite WD) edition – providing a streamlined approach to all sales orders – can play a significant part in meeting the needs of the omnichannel shopper with the provision of a modern commerce-led ERP solution.

Having all orders come into one place, regardless of which channel they came through, is a time and error saving solution at any time, but even more beneficial in today’s challenging and shifting climate. NetSuite’s WD facilitates effective management of sales, as a result of optimal visibility of all sales channels. At a time where the remote working solution may be prolonged or even become a permanent fixture, there is a real benefit for companies to be viewing ‘one version of the truth’ in real-time, wherever they are.

Capitalise on post-pandemic growth opportunities

NetSuite Wholesale Distribution edition allows businesses to capitalise on the growth in online sales with a range of features to help streamline processes and add revenue streams easily. These include expanding into new markets with multi-country and multi-site support from a single account, hosting both B2B and B2C web stores on the same platform, and selling through partners – as NetSuite offers native support for this, as well as a partner portal offering.

Real-time inventory and order management visibility provides the capability to offer a unified shopping experience – regardless of which sales channel the order has originated from. Furthermore, the Advanced Order Management solution allows for rule configuration for the definition of location of order supply according to desired parameters such as lead time or availability. With a unified view of merchandise data across all channels, customer promises can be delivered on. And, with a better view of inventory, wholesale distributors can negate big markdowns on excessive stock – an action that is often taken to free up cash from tired inventory.

As well as NetSuite’s WD making the sales transaction process much more efficient, the ability to pull a variety of functions such as CRM into the dashboard means personalisation can be employed: marketing can be based on preferences and purchase history. This is a recognised key driver in customer satisfaction and loyalty.

NetSuite’s Wholesale Distribution edition was developed by an innovative team with consultants covering sales, marketing, financial – a variety of professional services – to ensure wholesale distribution businesses can utilise the sophisticated features of a premier end-to-end cloud management system to the fullest potential. In addition to the advanced omnichannel capabilities, full financials and accounting, it offers out-of-the-box roles, reports and dashboards, and a singular instance of data across the business. Only with an ERP system offering such a sophisticated solution can distribution companies achieve the agility needed in this highly competitive landscape, to grow and seize the opportunities that lie ahead. Continual innovation is the key to keeping pace with customer expectations, and NetSuite’s WD solution facilitates this, providing a robust foundation for success in this new era.

If you’d like to find out more about Oracle NetSuite’s Wholesale Distribution package, visit our WD sector page where you can download a handbook about the many features and strategic opportunities the cloud solution affords. Alternatively, head to our contact page to speak with one of our experts.