The holiday season is busy for individuals, organisations and businesses all around the world. With plenty of sales and a lot of opportunity for making profits, it’s a crucial time to cash in on. The right strategy, sales plan and effective marketing could translate into some hefty returns—which means that the pressure is intense.
Most businesses that are struggling to meet orders and demands coming their way, understand the tension of dealing with clients and fulfilling their needs. Shortages and being understocked and overwhelmed can cost them heavily, leading to a decline in their performance.
This is especially true for retailers who are most likely selling goods in the thousands around the holiday season, dealing with clients and suppliers simultaneously.
For suppliers, the pressure is different but pervasive nonetheless. It’s knowing that your client’s success is dependent on your performance and management strategies, thus affecting your future dealing with them.
The role of suppliers and wholesalers during the holiday season
In major developed countries across the globe, the holiday season, i.e., the tail end of December through to the new year, is nothing short of a pot of gold waiting to be found. Australia is no exception, even though it’s smack in the middle of summer down under.
With an increase in shopping and dining out as droves of people try to entertain and treat themselves and loved ones, retailers, and by extension wholesalers, are met with a sharp increase in demand for their services and products.
In times like this, it’s important that businesses cover their bases and work to provide the best possible customer care and service, working to not only retain old customers but to build new ones too.
For suppliers, the stakes are equally high, even though it might not be apparent, given that the success of their retail customers depends on them. It’s a true testament to the quality of services, organisation and preparedness of any wholesale business.
Some of the ways that wholesalers can focus on customer service and satisfaction before the holiday season, simultaneously benefitting themselves are:
Timing their services well
Timing is everything when it comes to business. Especially for wholesalers working through the holiday season, timing is crucial. Your retail customers are busy prepping for the holiday mad dash and influx of customers, whether it’s a restaurant preparing for holiday reservations or a small business preparing for the slew of Christmas cake orders and specials they sell.
Staying on top of your game as a supplier will allow your retail clients to rely on your services, knowing their raw materials and food supplies will be delivered in a timely and efficient manner. Reach out to them through early marketing—well before the holiday season—so that clients can begin communicating and the order placement process.
Not just to make a good impression, as a practice, this will help you avoid stress to cope with a bulk of orders the closer the holidays get.
In fact, early advertising and wholesale marketing can help attract newer clients as well, establishing your presence as a business in the industry. It’s similar logic to the one retail businesses apply year after year, knowing what a profitable season the holidays are.
Offering special deals, discounts for the holidays
In addition to opening orders early and reaching out to existing and potential clients, what gives you an edge is offering incentives and special offers in lieu of the holidays. With a range of discounts, specials, and deals during certain products or to special clients, you can remind them of their value to your business. This incentivisation is a great strategy to introduce new products to clients.
All in all, it’s an excellent way of getting more orders and targeting specific clients that you wish to retain or improve relationships with. OrderTron allows you to add special pricing and offers across clients and for specific clients as well.
This way you don’t need to lower rates or give discounts to every client, yet you get to incentivise specific ones. A consumer-driven approach applies for B2B businesses too, given that at the end of the day, given that they’re still a customer.
With early estimates and orders, you’ll have greater insight into the customers you’ll be focusing on, what their needs and demands are and much more. Your customers can place standing orders as well as special one-time orders through OrderTron, so you’ll know what’s in demand. Based on this information, you can work with your suppliers, manufacturers, dairy and agricultural farms. Your stocks can be optimised and maintained in order to meet the needs of your clients, avoiding the risk of shortages.
The OrderTron software helps you monitor stocks on your behalf, generating reports and letting you know when you run low. It will also help you prevent overstocking, which is another risk wholesalers run.
In the food and beverage industry, it’s especially wasteful and risky to overstock items or order too far in advance, given that a lot of products are perishable. Anticipate orders for the holiday season and manage inventory based on the insights you receive and prevent losses and dead stock. It’s a win-win.
Efficient order processing and management
Efficient order processing and management are mutually beneficial to you and your client both. With the incoming orders and overload of information, it’s much simpler for you and your client to use software like OrderTron. Orders are easily entered, processed and managed, with everything being digitised and updated in real-time.
There’s no room for miscommunication, miscalculation or error, seeing as how the system updates and processes information, messages and changes in stocks on the regular. Alerts, reminders, confirmations, are all easily sent through, making it much easier for you to handle more and larger orders.
Since you’re able to offer special holiday rates and items, the system will manage those for you as well. It’s a simple and convenient process that lets your clients know they can always rely on you and your services to come through.
Communication is the backbone of any business, whether you’re a retailer, wholesaler or a service-provider of any sort. Your customers are paying you good money and putting their trust in you to see them through a tough period and intense pressure.
If you’re unable to communicate with them or update them on time, it leaves them stressed and doubtful in your abilities. No client should be uncertain in your ability to meet their needs and requirements, but unfortunately, that’s what tends to happen with ineffective and incomplete communication.
As a business owner or manager, it’s understandable that communication—especially when it’s crunch time—is hard to keep track of, which is also why OrderTron is incredibly handy. Not only does it allow you to communicate with clients directly, but it also provides them with tracking and shipment updates, information regarding changes to the order and other important updates they need to know. It takes away the tension and burden of having to manually update clients and get back to them by handling it for you.
It’s tempting to tell your loyal customers that you’ll deliver early or bring a certain quantity of an item that’s already short on the market, or promising new clients that you offer rates lower than the market average.
A lot of wholesale suppliers fall into the trap of over-committing, which can lead to greater tension and issues in the long-run. Your clients might have very high expectations of you and the pressure is undeniable, but for an effective long-term business partnership, honesty is the key.
If you know that the holiday rush will prevent you from delivering a certain product before a particular date, or you’re aware that the prices for, let’s say sugar, will rise the closer the season gets, don’t offer what you can’t deliver. Letting them know early that fulfilling a particular order will be difficult/impossible in the given circumstances and being precise about what’s deliverable, is far better than failing to come through.
By failing to deliver, you seem unprofessional and greedy, wanting to rake in business without the capability to manage it. This drives away even the most loyal customers who are likely to feel neglected.
As a wholesaler, the unique advantage you have is of a small but profitable customer base and focusing on improving your service delivery to them is the key to a successful holiday season.
Make use of the potential holiday season offers and continue to improve customer satisfaction because it’s what will take your business further. Focusing on the quality of service, instead of the quantity of clients should be the way forward. Invest in OrderTron, the ideal order processing software for small businesses and food wholesalers. Learn more about it here.