A key innovation that’s been taking the food and beverage industry by storm, predictive ordering software utilises data on purchasing histories, including recurring orders and order frequencies, to execute purchase orders automatically. While predictive software does not execute orders on its own, it makes the ordering process significantly quicker, more convenient and streamlined. It opens the doors to previously unrealised cost benefits and negates the need for excessive human resources.
As e-commerce continues to grow at a rapid rate in the food sector, the demand in the market has risen exponentially. In 2018, the food and beverage market in Australia exported goods worth over $36 billion and generated revenues that amounted to over $350 billion. With the industry continuing its rapid growth, owners of food and beverage businesses are feeling the pressure of rising demand. The only way they can capitalise on these new opportunities is by coping with the rising demand. This is where predictive ordering comes in—it can help enterprises in the sector enhance business efficiently significantly.
When it comes to the efficacy and importance of predictive ordering, the following facts have been revealed by business surveys:
- 86% of all enterprises that used predictive analytics for two years reported enhanced ROIs across enterprise functions
- Around 37% of all businesses were planning to invest in predictive ordering capabilities and predictive analytics to enhance business capabilities.
Therefore, it’s clear that predictive ordering is the future of order processing automation and has a high potential in terms of enhancing efficiency.
Predictive Ordering: How Does It Work?
Let’s assume you have a customer who orders a set amount of goods periodically. This is where predictive ordering comes in—you can use it to create shopping lists that are specific to each customer. This will make placing orders easier for them and will enhance their shopping experience. All they have to do is select the option, and the user-end OMS will automatically place the order for them. The receipt creation, invoicing, and the mobilisation of resources to fulfil the order will be handled by the OMS at your end. In other words, the OMS will make sure that inventories are replenished accurately and on time, and the process is easy and streamlined.
Order Management Software & Predictive Ordering
Although inventory and order management software has been with us for a while now, the solutions have come a long way over the years. Many order management software, such as OrderTron, come with order history analytics and data tracking functions that can be used easily for automating and streamlining ordering processes. For instance, if you have a long-term
customer who makes the same order every month, you can use the OMS’s notifications function to either set up a notification for yourself, set up a notification that informs the customer it’s time to place the order or both. This way, the OMS doesn’t place the order itself but streamlines and simplifies order processing and management on both ends of the supply chain.
Once you’ve started pre-empting customer orders, you can offer them pre-set product packages to order from, and in turn, a better overall service. This would eliminate the need for the customer to customise their order periodically and eliminate the need for you to prepare those orders each time they’re placed. If a customer orders fifty units of a particular order at a specific time of the month, all you have to do is send out a pre-prepared package as soon as the client hit the “confirm order” button on the OMS.
Using Predictive Ordering Effectively
How you use predictive ordering depends on how your client circles are set up. Order management software systems allow business owners to categorise orders according to the contents of the order, the companies that are placing the orders, and the size of the order. OMS offers reporting tools that can also tell you the size of the orders a customer places, the frequency at which they place them, and where the orders are shipped to.
You can use the tools and data an OMS provides to categorise your order and automate them. The following are some metrics that can be used when it comes to implementing predictive ordering:
When they’re planning out their inventories, your customers place orders based on their storage capacity, the product’s shelf life, or how long their stocks will last. While there’s no uniform economic inventory level or a set timeline for inventory cycles, customers do have fixed economic inventory levels and a set inventory cycle.
By going through a customer’s order history, you can get a rough idea of the frequency at which they place an order, the time of the month they order, and if it’s the same supplies each time. When you have this information, you can set up notifications to be delivered to your clients beforehand. As you pre-empt the orders of your clients and remind them to restock, you’ll be better prepared to cater to their needs which will reduce the time it takes to ship the order.
With an OMS system like OrderTron, you can also categorise clients based on the type of products they typically order. Doing this will make automating their ordering processes much easier. For instance, let’s assume that you serve multiple grocery stores. Chances are that each store orders the same types of goods. An OMS will enable you to identify similarities across ordered products and identify inventory cycle lengths.
You can then filter out and categorise clients by the type of products each order and then set up notifications either for them or for yourself so that the orders are fulfilled in a timely manner.
The reports and analytic tools of an OMS also allow you to filter out clients based on their addresses. If a number of your customers operate in the same area, it may be possible to send reordering reminders and ship out their orders together at the same time.
Predictive Analytics: Marketing Potentials
Amazon, the e-commerce giant, has shown the world how predictive analytics should be used. It utilises a type of associative marketing wherein it suggests products that were purchased by shoppers looking similar products. To make it simple, if you order the same guitar as someone else, and the other shopper also buys some pick for the guitar, then Amazon will also suggest that you purchase the same picks for your guitar.
The software used by Amazon identifies the purchases of one customer to make similar suggestions to others to boost the chances of getting another sale through the website. You could use the same concept and model to boost sales of other products in your inventory. For instance, you can create customer categories based on the similarities in their order requirements and market niche. If two of your clients have similar purchasing habits, you could suggest products that one is buying to the other one. This will enhance the sale potential of all your products.
How Analytics and Predictive Ordering Help You
Analytics and predictive ordering can help food businesses in two separate areas:
- Enhancing marketing efficacy to boost revenue potentials
- Enhance order fulfilment efficiency
Enhancements in Order Fulfilment Processes
As the competition becomes tougher for all Australian food chain operators, the only parties who can facilitate efficiency improvements are the suppliers. As demand continues to rise and the number of customers continues to increase, it’s likely that the inventory cycles of restaurants and other food businesses will shrink, and they’ll have to order supplies more often. With OMS systems that automate order processing and documentation, enterprises can minimise the lead times that precede order fulfilment.
Once you’ve pre-empted client orders accurately and reminded them when it’s time to restock, you will become one of their preferred suppliers automatically. Predictive ordering through an order management system can help you build a reputation as a reliable retailer that keeps up with the needs of its clients.
In conclusion, predictive ordering will help you establish your authority as a premium service provider.
Enhancing Sales Revenue Potentials
Once you can accurately predict customer orders, you can gradually introduce your customers to newer products to enhance sales revenues and expand your market size. If you can accurately predict how your customers make buying decisions, you can use the insights to generate sales for other products. And just as how Amazon did it, you’ll improve your sales potentials through predictive ordering and analytics.
The Bottom Line
Analytics and predictive ordering provide food wholesalers and suppliers the ability to keep up with the increasing pace of the industry. When you can pre-empt the needs and requirements of your customers, you can deliver better services to them and thus increase your sales potentials.
Ordertron is an Order Management System that helps foodservice wholesalers and suppliers improve inventory management for improved business outcomes. Our Order Management Systems are designed for Food Service Suppliers and Small Businesses, with Android and Apple iPhone applications for clients. Get in touch with us for more information on their services or to take on their OMS for your business.