Why Old Methods are Costing You Millions
by Meghann Butcher, on Jun 6, 2019 7:11:45 AM
As technology continues to revolutionize consumer behavior, businesses are constantly implementing new methods to help serve their customers' needs. However, many manufacturers continue to run on archaic systems which poorly serve their buyers, and it’s costing them big bucks! In order to help the old dogs learn a few new tricks (and improve their bottom line), we want to break down the 4 costly methods and the solutions you can implement to get up to speed with the technology and better serve your buyer.
1. Delayed response time
We understand that there are many moving pieces throughout the supply chain and updates are constantly being made. However, relying on email or the phone to communicate changes and update orders can drastically delay your response time and hinder your brand’s reputation.
The truth is, consumers want instant gratification with their purchases, and buyers, in turn, are having similar demands. Buyers need answers for their customers, and a delayed response time can hinder their confidence to fill orders. The delay also leaves room for the competition to quickly come in and provide an answer, hurting the buyer’s perception of your brand.
Furthermore, believing that your buyers will hold out for the sake of brand loyalty is a declining case. McKinsey recently took a survey which found “that millennials tend to perceive newer brands as better and more innovative, and that more than 60 percent of Gen Z consumers are attracted to smaller “new” and “fun” brands.” Ultimately, the necessity of implementing technology which can answer questions for your buyer before they even ask is crucial to your sales and reputation.
RepSpark Solution: You work hard to serve your buyer and we want to help you protect your brand’s reputation. With our Customer Communication Hub, manufacturers have access to a proprietary CRM tool which allows brands to view, document, manage, and execute communications between management, sales reps, customer services and retail accounts. When you make updates, it is cascaded throughout the system and everyone is immediately aware of the changes the moment it is keyed into the system. Goodbye delayed communication and hello instant gratification!
2. Excessive printing of catalogs and line sheetsPrinting catalogs and line sheets may be one of the most costly items of all! The time it takes to organize these items, and the high cost of printing glossy catalogs with coordinating lines sheets is a serious investment of time and money that, increasingly, is not providing the benefit it once did. We live in a digital age where paper is becoming a thing of the past. Buyers now want the capability to zoom in on product details, play around with the assortment, and assemble a display on their computer for visual merchandising possibilities.
When you are able to make your catalogs and line sheets available digitally, you are able to save:
- The money it takes to print countless catalogs and line sheets
- The hours your marketing team spends on curating customer specific line sheets for key accounts
- Your sales representative from having to go to designers and ask for mock-up revisions
- Your designer from always altering and creating mock-ups for key accounts
- Buyers questioning which product segments can compare with last year’s sales
- Buyers from requesting ongoing paperwork of color runs, details and what customization options could look like
- Buyers from requesting multiple costly catalogs which would most likely be cut up so they can pick and choose their assortment
RepSpark Solution: With the Digital Catalog and Whiteboard option, you can bring this all online and save your company a large chunk of change! Not only are you able to curate customer specific catalogs, but all inventory is real time for buyers to plan out their orders. In addition, this feature gives sales representatives and buyers the flexibility to see what product customization can look like immediately, instead of waiting on designers to mock-up the requests. **Soon we will be launching a new product feature where buyers will be able to place their orders directly from the Digital Catalog.**
3. Ongoing customer service interactions
The frustrations of chasing down orders and finding out when they may arrive is a headache for anyone - especially your buyer. If a brand is unaware of the status of an order or has a delayed response to the customer, it creates ongoing interactions which cost time and negatively affect your brand’s reputation.
Ongoing customer service interactions bring high risks of:
- Updates being incorrectly communicated or managed improperly
- Unique products, inventory, and shipments being overlooked
- Confusing your customer with ongoing updates
- Bookings and retailers falling through the cracks
This is way too risky for your brand. Orders are precious cargo and technology is available to cut down on the labor costs and eliminate confusion and/or room for error.
RepSpark Solution: In recent CGS Supply Chain and ERP Trends Survey, the 2nd largest obstacle in the supply chain is fulfillment/logistics. Providing on-demand answers has become a best practice for order fulfillment and logistics. To keep your buyer’s orders accurate and eliminate the back and forth interactions, we offer Order Status and Reporting. With this feature, customers can quickly and easily check the status of their orders then also check on the performance of your products. We also offer Invoices and Package Tracking where buyers can view, email, and print invoices with images of the products they ordered. This ultimately decreases the customer service hours required to serve retailers by providing 24/7 access to package tracking and all live product information.
4. Failing to showcase the entire line to the buyer
Buyers want to be able to pick out the products that fit their target market. However, the printed catalogs can do a poor job at catering to each buyer's unique needs. Failing to comprehensively showcase the line in a way that serves the buyer fails to represent your brand well, and can cause missed sales.
RepSpark Solution: As a manufacturer you need to know your customer and you need to know what drives their sales. With our Meeting Prep for Intelligent Selling tool, sales representatives can pull key account information immediately and help buyers maximize their product assortment while enhancing their gross margins. With the Product Segmentation tool, sales reps can also create custom curated product assortments that make every retailer’s merchandise unique.
As technology and the demands of the consumer continue to evolve, manufacturers have a great opportunity to create an incredible experience for their customers by incorporating these new best practices. If you are interested in learning new tricks to enhance the value that your brand brings to the table, then schedule a free demo and save your brand millions!