One would think that E-Commerce is the way forward for anyone selling anything. Turns out this is not yet the case for Australian manufacturing and wholesale distribution sectors who currently hold only 10% of online E-Commerce presence.
I was sent an article about this “lag in E-Commerce adoption” from a colleague and asked myself, “why such a low take up?”
As it turns out, according to a Net Suite study on the matter, despite 75% of businesses in manufacturing and wholesale distribution displaying strong optimism regarding their prospects in growing the e-commerce channel, many are still unprepared to face the challenges.
Some of these challenges include the loss of direct relationships with B2B customers, system integration issues and feeling the pressure to lower online prices. This linking of customer orders to integrated systems is probably the key to success, reducing costs and increasing efficiency.
The Niche fashion software solution is a good example of this. Clients already on the Niche platform have access to a B2B and B2C module which fully integrates back into the ERP. Only a handful of systems can provide this service, and the advantage of Niche is that it caters specifically to any sort of company – suppliers, retailers, wholesalers, etc. – in the fashion industry.
Niche handles both Indent and Stock modes, which means that during a season the retailer can check and see what stock availability there is for any style without having to contact the supplier. Even though they are not speaking directly to a rep, there is the added convenience of browsing and placing orders at any time.
Although moving online does result in a loss of intimacy in dealing directly with the customer, face-to-face, both ends benefit from the growing time and cost-effective online presence. And what’s more, this service is almost as good as face-to-face with today’s video/chat/phone communication options! Say a retailer places an order. Once confirmed, this retailer can view the order before accepting, and call a sales person to obtain other relevant information before making a decision.
It really is just a matter of getting organized in the back-end, and arranging for efficient transfers of information between computer and multiple outlets (retail, wholesale, etc) on the internet. Once initial installation and integration barriers are surpassed, I believe the growth of an online E-Commerce presence for manufacturers, distributors and everyone else offering a product or service will be exponential. Just wait and see..