Leveraging an Order Portal for Internal Customers

Many businesses with a retail network or franchises have a variety of scenarios to manage. The primary one relates to ensuring goods are in the right place to sell to the end consumer at the right time. Beyond that, there’s secondary pieces that are needed to be managed to keep the stores running smoothly.

Managing internal needs can be facilitated with an online order portal, which allows stores to log in, see what’s available to them, and place orders. Businesses can easily review and approve orders before fulfillment, as well as aggregate orders up to have a better sense of what their facilities are requiring.

Here are four ways a business can benefit from using an online order portal for internal use:

  1. Replenish store supplies
  2. Concentrate information in one spot
  3. Separate from your retail/consumer products
  4. Link to vendors/restricted access

1. Replenish store supplies

If you have a network of company-owned or franchised stores, you may have a variety of supplies you need to allow re-order of to keep the store running smoothly. This can include:

  • Literature, such as product or pricing brochures
  • Packaging, like bags or boxes that stores used to place purchased products inside
  • Cleaning supplies, bathroom supplies and other products that will get used regularly in the course of doing business
  • Other branded supplies that various franchises may be required to order as part of doing business

Even though many of these items have nothing to do with the actual inventory of product being sold in various locations, they can have a direct impact on the ability for stores and connected operations to successfully do business. As such, making it easy to request more supplies when things are running low can simplify work for both stores and the central offices.

Stores can also see what’s been ordered via an order history area, and be able to easily find the SKUs that matter through those screens, especially for items that need to get ordered and replenished on a regular basis.

2. Concentrate information in one spot

A major benefit to an order portal is bringing all of the requests into a single, unified management area. The central office is able to easily see usage patterns, order frequency and more to ensure that they can keep the warehouse supplied and stay ahead of store requirements.

Beyond reporting, order fulfillment itself becomes easier to manage, and if order approvals are required before fulfillment, order history and more can be reviewed in one spot to see if a location is over-ordering compared to other locations, allowing monitoring of waste and costs.

3. Separate from your retail/consumer products

On the other hand, having an order portal for your locations ensures that you’re not cluttering up your primary commerce tracking and management tools with data not connected to your primary consumer products.

Using the same eCommerce or ordering solution as for inventory of your core products could mean reporting confusion for your home office and less than ideal ordering scenarios for your stores and franchised locations. That smooth eCommerce and ordering experience you build for customers, or your inventory systems for product to keep your stores stocked, are generally designed for a different purpose.

Keeping your non-primary good separate from your consumer merchandise will allow the right teams access to the right information, without having to sift through information that’s not relatable to their job roles.

4. Link to vendors/restricted access

Finally, many products ordered for stores come from third party vendors. A business is not likely to sell their own cleaner, for instance. An order portal can allow businesses to grant access to the vendors fulfilling various parts of the order, and make it easier for them to see only the orders and products that matter to them.

Order portals can be configured to split orders based on which vendor is fulfilling the products. Data can be exported/imported, or send via API, to pass along the orders to the various fulfilling parties, and then can ingest tracking information for those who ordered to see when items have been shipped.

Zoey can get you up and running quickly

Getting started with an order portal doesn’t have to take long. Zoey’s Customer Success team can help you get up and running quickly, so you can begin to leverage the value an online order portal will bring to your business. Request a Demo of Zoey to see how we can help your business:

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