From Manual to Automated: Moving to an Online Wholesale Order Portal

If you’re selling products wholesale to distributors or businesses, and you are taking orders manually today, you’re missing out on an opportunity to migrate to more efficient technology that can automate some tasks and simplify others. With that time and energy saved, you can invest in acquiring more customers and closing more business.

There are five key steps of moving to an online wholesale order portal:

  1. Replace Wholesale Contact Form with an Order Portal
  2. Migrate Sales Reps to Using Portal in the Field
  3. Educate Your Customers on the Online Portal’s Availability
  4. Make Order Status and History Available Within the Portal
  5. Leverage Sales Quotes and Draft Orders for Orders that Start Manually

Let’s review each step to launching a portal, and how it can benefit your business:

1. Replace Wholesale Contact Form with an Order Portal

Many businesses have an online presence today, and to encourage businesses to learn about their wholesale offerings, they’ll have a “Wholesale” or “Dealer” link somewhere, such as in their footer. On the other side of that link will be a page with a form asking questions about the business to set up sort of a call.

Usually the process that follows is manual, with some sort of order being placed over the phone, secured via email, through some sort of offline system, or through some other manual process. However, that same, form could be the registration form for an online order portal.

Such order portals offer a self-service method for distributors and dealers, but can be tied to a customer review process that requires approval before being allowed access. This can allow for things like Customer Group assignment for pricing bands, confirmation the customer is a good fit and/or should be allowed to make purchases, and ensure all required information is captured upfront.

2. Migrate Sales Reps to Using Portal in the Field

Once your order portal is online, you can move your sales reps and customer service team members to take orders through this system using the admin, or where available a mobile app that works both offline and online. By having your own team using it, email alerts, order information and more will now be generated as part of managing and processing orders through this portal.

For buyers, they’ll get detailed information of what’s going on, while providing awareness that such a system is in place.

3. Educate Your Customers on the Online Portal’s Availability

Once your self-service portal is available, letting your buyers know, and educating them about how to leverage it to place orders, can begin to take pressure off your sales and customer service team as full-service orders begin to shift to self-service ones.

Ninkasi Brewing Company created a video to introduce their distributors to Zoey when launching it as an order portal for them. Within short order, more than 95 percent of their distributors were leveraging Zoey to place orders on their own. Sales reps could use the data from the order portal to know who they should reach out to, and their orders were managed in Zoey as well.

4. Make Order Status and History Available Within the Portal

By having both sales-supported orders and self-service orders placed through the same portal, you can derive additional value for both yourself and your buyers by offering order history and status inside the portal.

For your accounts, they can see their order history, find items they previously purchased, know where things stand for their open orders, and get a sense for their buying patterns.

For your team, you can see who has placed orders lately and who hasn’t, your sales and customer service teams can be in alignment about what’s going on with various orders, and 

5. Leverage Sales Quotes and Draft Orders for Orders that Start Manually

Finally, an order portal doesn’t just have to be about order creation. You can also leverage it to create and manage Sales Quotes, which work as a draft order.

Some businesses have sales that tend to be a back and forth conversation. A salesperson or customer success team member will talk to a customer about their needs, create a Sales Quote with what they discussed, adjust it after some follow-up conversations, and then ultimately the account can transform the quote into a finalized order.

Having quotes living in the same order portal can highlight trends such as order close success rates, which customers are more likely to order again, and so forth, allowing optimization of your team’s time in pursuing accounts that are going to generate additional revenue.

See How Zoey’s Order Portal Can Support Your Business

Zoey offers a set of solutions, including a mobile sales app and an online eCommerce and order portal solution, both backed by Zoey’s unified web-based admin area. We can walk you through how we can take your business to the next level. Just click the button below to request a chat with our Customer Success Team:

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