The line between wholesale, retail and eCommerce continues to blur as more and more businesses are taking an omnichannel approach to selling product. Wholesale and distribution businesses now sell both B2B and B2C through eCommerce, marketplaces such as Amazon, at tradeshows and through retail brick and mortar stores. The ability for customers to purchase product through multiple channels allows your business to reach new markets and increase sales. As with any wholesale company in the industry of buying and selling inventory, those who also sell through retail channels require systems in place for managing product, receiving, picking, packing and shipping, accounting, order entry and processing, warehouse management and more. ERP software for wholesale retail management provides standard back-end inventory and accounting tools in addition to specialized features for the retail industry such as point of sale, CRM, warehouse management, eCommerce integration and more.
Point of Sale
Point of Sale (POS) refers to a physical check-out counter location where customers can purchase goods and services. For wholesale retail businesses, POS systems allow customers to place orders, submit payment and accept inventory while in-store. Although typically found in traditional retail brick and mortar stores, for wholesale businesses, POS is frequently used for front counter operations within a warehouse, for cash and carry type businesses, in showrooms or while exhibiting at tradeshows. Specialized features allow customers to pay on account and pay using multiple payment types and currencies.
Built-in customer relationship management (CRM) tools allow businesses to track customers, vendors and prospects. Employees can easily bring up customer accounts or create new ones when dealing with customers in-store. This allows tracking of communication, loyalty points, customer service requests and product returns.
Warehouse management functionality helps employees easily manage inventory for wholesale and retail orders. Proper bin and shelf locations allow employees to quickly fulfill orders and helps customers find product in-store. Inventory transfer features automate the process of moving product from one physical location to another to better serve customers in different geographical areas. This also accommodates the ability for customers to place orders online and then pick-up in-store.
Taking an omnichannel approach, wholesale retail businesses are also selling online through B2B portals, B2C websites powered by platforms such as Shopify, through marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon and through customer-specific portals. Whichever channels you work with, it is important that all information is synced and integrated in real-time across the business. This prevents inventory from being sold online that was just purchased from retail locations.
Sophisticated wholesale retail ERP software will also include other important tools for managing the business including landed cost tracking, secure credit card processing, mobile apps for sales reps and robust reporting. If your business decides to sell through new retail channels, make sure you dedicate the time to finding an industry-specific system. The distinction between POS software designed specifically for retail stores and POS ERP software designed for those that also sell wholesale is important, as although both may offer similar features, they are geared towards different markets.