By Jennifer Rosvally, DDI System
Customers are the heart of your distribution business. Everything distributors hear revolves around being better connected to combat traditional competitive pressure, distributor consolidation, and encroaching online retailers. In today's marketplace, your customer relationships are tested by a wave of innovation and digital disruption. Still, distributors are being presented with enormous opportunities to leverage technology to help drive the ultimate customer experience.
The impact digital disruption is having on independent distributors is felt daily. Not only are online giants getting bigger, but they continue to threaten customer loyalty with lower prices and an amplified customer experience. For distributors, the need to differentiate their businesses is more important and harder to do than ever before.
Fortunately, at the same time, the data available to distributors can be leveraged to build meaningful relationships and provide the level of customer service clients demand. The challenge is for distributors to tap into systems they're using every day, like their ERP, to harness the customer insight they have available. This 'all-access' look at buying habits, profiles and customer trends shapes conversations that drive customer engagement and incite sales. Creating a true "account-based" customer experience is the new expectation to set distributors apart from any digital disruptions and competitors alike.
But how do you get the detailed access and customer reporting that can be used universally in your business? Well, there's add-on products of course. But they aren't necessarily "smart". Add-ons tend to work in a vacuum, making it difficult. if not impossible, for users to get the dashboards and insight they need the moment a customer is face-to-face.
A more reasonable approach, and one that extends beyond the counter transaction, is an end-to-end ERP solution. From a single source, a distributor can easily leverage analytics and tap into technology to oversee inventory, logistics, pricing, rebates and buying group integrations that drive efficiencies and expand margins. "So, what about those customer interactions?" you may be wondering. Well. imagine a transaction that brings the customer data, history, purchase pattern cycles, and even detailed notes about Mr. Customer right to the forefront so any user can see everything from one screen? That experience, is the one that will set you apart better than any online competitor.
In the end, the customer experience is the most impactful moment of truth. It is what continues to gain referrals and build businesses. Distributors focused on catering to their customers and ensuring that customer expectations are exceeded, will garner tremendous success. Selecting an ERP system with an embedded CRM simplifies this process tenfold by bridging the gap between operations and customer satisfaction.
To learn more about DDI System's end-to-end distribution software for Industrial, Safety and JanSan distributors, visit ddisystem.com.