Every wholesale and distribution business requires business management software to run operations – from receiving inventory to picking, packing and shipping product to then invoicing the customer and everything in between. For small and start-up businesses, introductory accounting software and a combination of manual processes and spreadsheets are frequently used. However, for large organizations with a high order volume, industry-specific software provides additional functionality to better manage operations. This is where salon and cosmetic distribution ERP software comes into play. Although salon and cosmetic distribution businesses operate similar to any wholesale and distribution company, subtle differences in processes require specific functionality. Distribution ERP software is designed to replace introductory and standalone solutions as an all-in-one system. ERP or Enterprise Resource Planning software includes functionality for inventory management, accounting, order entry and processing, warehouse management, contact management and more, and all information is maintained in a single database. Distribution ERP for the salon and cosmetic industry will have additional features to accommodate specific business processes such as the features below.
Point of Sale
Many salon and cosmetic distribution companies sell product through multiple sales channels, including some form of retail operation. This includes selling product through membership only brick and mortar locations, cash and carry storefronts within a warehouse space, and at tradeshows while interacting with customers. Whichever combination of retail sales strategy is in use; point-of-sale software helps process orders at the source. When built into distribution ERP software, information across all channels is maintained in a single database so that inventory, order and sales information is accurate and up-to-date. POS functionality enables businesses to place orders and process payments while with the customer and then inventory can be taken at the same time, or delivered at a later date.
CRM and Contact Management
Maintaining good relationships with customers is imperative to garner repeat business, find new customers and grow your company. Regular communication and the ability to easily look-up important customer information such as sales history, shipping preferences, and billing addresses will enable you to process orders and ship inventory more quickly. Built-in contact management functionality enables businesses to store customer and vendor information including bill-to and ship-to addresses, follow-up dates, customer-specific notes and more. With advanced CRM or customer relationship management functionality, employees can better manage lead and prospective customers. Look for features such as the ability to set next action dates, assign sales reps, record notes, look-up sales history, manage marketing lists, view sales dashboards etc. CRM functionality is great for sales reps on the road and in-house customer service teams.
Other notable functionality important to the salon and cosmetic distribution industry includes credit card processing, easy order entry and invoicing capabilities, landed cost tracking (freight, import fees, etc.) and warehouse management. To find the right solution for your business, start with distribution ERP software and then look for vendors who have experience working with other salon and cosmetic distribution businesses.