Thousands of tech and digital marketing aficionados flocked to the Metro Toronto Convention Center over the past couple days (March 7-8) for this year's buzzed-about Dx3 Conference. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the two day expo is Canada’s largest digital marketing and retail event. Blue Link ERP exhibited at the show for the third year in a row.
Browsing the showroom floor, we noticed that the event had more of an intimate feeling this year with fewer exhibitors than the past two years we've exhibited and more focus on the many speaking sessions. The speaking sessions included big name keynotes such as Amazon who shared insights into how the retail giant has achieved tremendous growth by focusing on the customer experience. A keynote from Snapchat focused on the changing nature of "breakthrough" mobile advertising while Element AI spoke about how businesses can prepare for artificial intelligence integrations to achieve stronger results in the near future.
As always, the show boasted numerous interactive installations which always seem to be big draws with the crowd.
- Battleverse, who was part of the interactive lab aspect of the show turned heads with their large AR gaming booth.
- Kinetic Commerce showcased a fully-functional connected store with a series of apps that enabled visitors to experience first-hand how seamless the future of shopping is going be.
- Our favourite tech journalist and Dx3 regular, Amber Mac yet again interviewed exhibitors live on the show floor as part of her Canadian Tech Spotlight.
- Check out Blue Link's own CTO, Darren Myher's interview with the TV personality from last year's show! [WATCH]
- PayPal Canada, another regular at the show, once again hosted the start-up alley.
- Nudnik, a unisex children's clothing and accessories line won the Startup Pitch Competition.
There was certainly an underlying theme in the speaking sessions and the show in general of the changing consumer experience and what it means for businesses and marketers today. The evolution of the way consumers engage with brands and the journey they take from awareness to purchase was the center of discussion with a focus on the intertwining elements of the digital and physical shopping experiences.
This was also the topic of Blue Link's speaking session at the Censhare's Tech Talk stage. Our president and CEO, Mark Canes, gave a thought-provoking talk called “Leveraging Back-End Technology For eCommerce Success” which took a deep dive into the importance of an omnichannel experience, the importance of eCommerce and the role back-end software plays in achieving this goal.
We'd like to thank the Canshare Tech Talk stage and our special co-presenter and Blue Link customer Peter Smith of Daneson!
Check out the full presentation below:
Selling through multiple channels
From Amazon and Home Depot to Hudson Bay and Canada Goose, many businesses are realizing that they can be more profitable and remain competitive in today's market if they offer their customers more than one method of purchasing their products. According to Forbes, multi-channel shoppers spent $82 more on average than online-only shoppers, and $49 more on average than customers who only shopped in stores. Multi-channel shoppers also have a 30% higher lifetime value than those who shop using only one channel.
eCommerce is a necessity
eCommerce as a channel plays a big part in the multi-channel sales philosophy and is continuously changing the way customers shop. It is no longer just an added benefit to customers, but has become a necessity for both B2B and B2C retail/wholesale businesses in creating a seamless shopping experience.
B2B vs. B2C eCommerce
While there are key differences in B2B and B2C eCommerce such as order volume (B2B customers purchase in larger quantities), the way customers search for product (B2C usually search by product names whereas B2B search with product codes), and the need for B2B businesses to have customer specific accounts and pricing, wholesalers and distributors are starting to offer the same B2C experience to their customers with features like:
- Mobile-optimized websites.
- Ability for visitors to pick up product from a nearby store location or alternatively visit the store to see the product in person before deciding to purchase.
- Suggesting new products to visitors, displaying discounts and promotions, as well as sharing recommendations based on past orders.
- Ability to search by brand/vendor/category.
Omni channel experience
Whether you’re selling B2C, B2B or B2All, it’s important to think about eCommerce as part of the multi-channel system that is unified. Most businesses think that setting up a Shopify site and leaving it at that will help their business grow and expand into new markets but what happens after you set up shop? Is your eCommerce site in sync with the rest of your sales channels? How will you manage order entries from multiple channels? And, how do you know how much inventory to purchase and when? These fulfillment questions must be addressed in order to provide seamless shopping experiences for customers. Whether they're purchasing your products through eCommerce, EDI, in-store, through marketplaces, over the phone, through email, or any other form, they need access to up-to-date, accurate inventory information such as availability and pricing.
Benefits of a back-end ERP software
Integrating the proper back-end software such as an ERP system to your multichannel business model helps streamline redundant and manual processes to improve visibility and better manage inventory. Benefits include:
- All company data is stored and maintained in one database.
- Easily manage reports and analytics from one location.
- Reduce manual processes such as keying data into QuickBooks, and Excel and Shopify/Magento/Amazon and downloading spreadsheets of information - no more single-purpose software!
- Automation of data flows: orders from all channels show up in your ERP (including payment information – for example, pre-authorizations)
- Procurement- accurate insight into reorder levels – knowing how much inventory to buy and when.
- Automate printing of picking slips:
- Consolidated pick slips for one-off orders means more efficient picking.
- Picking that takes into account bin/shelf locations.
- Automated shipping notifications and updates to inventory information on eCommerce site.
About Blue Link Associates
Blue Link ERP provides integrated inventory and accounting ERP software for small-medium size businesses and is best suited for those in the wholesale and distribution industry. As an all-in-one system, we help businesses streamline and automate their processes by providing inventory management, accounting, order entry, warehouse management, and customer relationship management. In addition, Blue Link provides various optional components such as eCommerce integration, barcode scanning, POS, lot tracking and landed cost tracking, and can be customized in order to meet the specific needs of clients. Blue Link ERP is offered as both a hosted (cloud-based) and on-premises solution.
Want to get started with eCommerce but not sure where to start? Check out our eCommerce ERP Integration guide for more information.