How Cin7 Omni’s order management system can be a game changer for wholesalers

Wholesalers stand between manufacturers and retailers, buying in great bulk from the first and selling in small quantities to the second. What these two sales entities have in common is inventory and the fact that they have to manage it well.

To do that, the right tools have to be in place. Today, these tools are the inventory control and order management systems. The functions carried out by these automated systems are the same for both entities, but for wholesalers, large quantities of goods have to be handled.

In this blog, we’re going to lay out the reasons why Cin7 Omni software is a good option for wholesalers when it comes to their inventory and order management.


How Cin7 Omni’s order management system helps a wholesaler

For a wholesaler, buying in bulk and selling in small quantities to several retailers involves everything that order management covers, from knowing what to buy from suppliers to delivering the items to retailers.

Cin7 Omni’s order management software takes care of every step in the process easily. That’s everything from tracking orders, invoices and purchase orders, to warehouse management, and shipping. Cin7 Omni also has integrations that will let a wholesaler track all its business transactions, minimize dead stock, use several different couriers for shipping, and accept payments in many currencies.

Here are some of the ways Cin7 Omni’s order management system can make a wholesale business run better:

1. Keep on top of sales to your retailers.

With Cin7 Omni, all your retail partners can be centralized on a single dashboard. Through this one hub, information about the goods ordered from manufacturing and importers on one side, and purchase orders received from retailers on the other can be recorded, tracked, and synced to inventory, all in real time.

Because this dashboard is the central control, it also displays the inventory in a warehouse. If there are several warehouses, the display makes it easy to move any of those goods from one facility to another with a few simple instructions. Knowing what’s in stock and where it’s stored at all times in real time will, in addition, prevent stockouts. As an added bonus, Cin7 Omni supports pre-orders and backorders.

2. Have all information about purchases and sales displayed in a simple format.

Any information Cin7 Omni is storing about inventory or order management can be brought up on the dashboard at any time, and it can be presented in as much or as little detail as is wanted. For instance, you could bring up everything about a particular order — order number, order date, name of retailer, payment method, shipping carrier, and so on — or you could bring up one or two of these identifiers. There’s also a filter that lets you display information in categories. These could be anything from outstanding invoices to unfilled purchase orders to what inventory is stored in a particular warehouse. If a category you want is missing, a custom feature that’s part of the system lets you add it.

In short, Cin7 Omni is a highly flexible system that puts you in the driving seat at all times, giving you the ability to pull up the data you want on the dashboard.

3. Speed up and simplify the order management process.

The mission-control dashboard that comes with Cin7 Omni does more than just display your data, it’s also the tool through which you can make additions or changes: Add details that help you identify orders like due dates, tags, comments, and instructions; confirm, cancel, export, and import bulk orders; create new orders and picklists; download and print invoices and shipping labels. Maybe most useful of all, with this system, you can process many different orders simultaneously.

4. Maintain total control of inventory.

Just as inventory is central to the wholesaler, inventory management keeps the business flowing smoothly and efficiently. An automated inventory management system will make sure you have the right amount of stock at all times for your company’s needs, doing this by setting triggers to go off at preset lows and sending out purchase orders for more when those levels are reached.

With Cin7 Omni, you can also handle any returns you may have. It can initiate a refund, if your returns policy allows for it, and can log the items back in your storage.

5. Sort out the best way to deliver your products.

When it comes time to ship out your retailers’ orders, Cin7 Omni has everything under control. Right from that same dashboard, you’re able to choose a delivery service that’s best for each company you’re delivering your products to, even if they’re in another country, and there are several courier services to choose from. Another feature of the automated system considers factors like price, discounts, package size, location, and delivery date.

6. Coordinate and communicate.

Keeping a good line of communication with the manufacturers and importers you deal with — your suppliers — is as important as maintaining inventory levels and getting orders out efficiently. Cin7 Omni lets you do that, giving real-time, up-to-date information on all your dealings with them as well as the other areas of your business. Because all this happens from your all-purpose dashboard, everything you do is coordinated and based on accurate information. It’s all designed to make your wholesale business run as smoothly and cost-efficiently as possible.

Wrapping up

We’ve shown how Cin7 Omni’s order management and inventory management systems can help you conduct your wholesale business at an optimum level.

To find out more, talk to one of our Cin7 Omni experts today.

Wholesaling 101: Challenges and growth strategies

To avoid running out of stock, retailers need to constantly replenish their inventory. But have you ever wondered where shop owners get their products?

Many retailers get their products from wholesalers — who play the crucial role of bridging the gap between manufacturers and retailers. Thanks to wholesalers, manufacturers don’t need to worry about distributing their products. Instead, retailers are able to get their products from one place.

Wholesalers are an indispensable part of the supply chain, and the global wholesale market is estimated to reach around $64 billion by 2025. So, just how important a wholesaler’s role is in the supply chain? If wholesalers can’t do their job correctly, both manufacturers and consumers suffer. In this article, we’ll go through common issues wholesalers face and practical strategies to overcome those challenges. Let’s dive right in!


What is wholesaling?

Wholesaling is a distribution model where businesses buy items in bulk from manufacturers or distributors and sell them to other companies. Wholesalers are able to acquire products cheaply because they only purchase in large quantities. Essentially, wholesalers are the middleman between manufacturers and retailers.

Although wholesalers and retailers are very closely related and perform similar functions, they are different from each other. The difference between wholesalers and retailers can be explained with three terms:

  • Quantity – Wholesalers purchase in large quantities from manufacturers, whereas retailers purchase in small amounts from wholesalers.
  • Purchase intent – Individuals who purchase from wholesalers resell those items at a higher price to their customers. Conversely, individuals who buy from retailers plan to use those items rather than sell them to someone else. Retailers – who purchase from wholesalers – are not consumers; instead, they resell to consumers.
  • Transaction type – Wholesalers are generally business to business sellers (B2B), whereas retailers are usually business to consumer (B2C).

Alibaba is the largest B2B marketplace, and you can find plenty of wholesalers selling their goods to retailers there. In the United States, Orangeshine is a popular online wholesaling marketplace that allows fashion wholesalers to sell products.


4 reasons why wholesalers are essential

Reason #1: Wholesalers support manufacturers and retailers

Wholesalers purchase products in bulk from manufacturers. They assemble products from various manufacturers and then sell them to multiple retailers by breaking them down into smaller quantities. This helps distribute products from manufacturers to retailers.

Reason #2: Wholesalers help store products

Manufacturers have limited storage space, and it’s not feasible for them to continue producing items if their storage space is full. Wholesalers solve this problem by purchasing inventory in bulk and storing it in their own warehouses. This helps manufacturers focus more on production and less on worrying about inventory storage.

By taking care of storage on their own, wholesalers facilitate the assembly of products from various manufacturers and safeguard them in one place.

Reason #3: Wholesalers stabilize supply and demand

Since there is time between the manufacturing and consumption of goods, there can be a mismatch between goods demanded and goods supplied. Wholesalers help in striking a balance between demand and supply. They are able to store products when demand is low, and then they can sell products when retailers’ demand rises.

Reason #4: Wholesalers take on risk

Wholesalers are responsible for transporting goods from their warehouses to various retailers. If there’s any damage during transit or storage, wholesalers take full responsibility and cover that loss.


Wholesale challenges and how to overcome them

Challenge #1: Cutting out the middleman

Manufacturers and retailers often try to streamline operations and cut out middlemen to increase profit margins. And in this example, the wholesaler is the middleman. By cutting out wholesalers, retailers can save money, and manufacturers can make more money.

Obviously, this is a concern to your existence as a wholesaler. In these situations, your solution might be dropping your prices, which in return would reduce your profit margin. While this might be a viable option for the short term, there will always be another wholesaler who’s willing to offer even lower prices than yours. At that point, you’re simply in a race to the bottom.

Rather than focusing on decreasing your margins, you should focus on increasing the value that you bring to the table. You should ask yourself, “How can I better serve my customers — other than lowering my prices?”

For example, you can help manufacturers take care of logistics and distribution. Bulk purchases can get you a discount from manufacturers, and retailers can benefit by purchasing from you instead of manufacturers.

However, manufacturers are now exploring ways to handle shipping and logistics of their products on their own to increase profit margins. Some retailers are even searching for ways to connect with wholesalers themselves to find a better deal directly.

To offer more value in this case, you should try to leverage your existing distribution network. You might be able to convince manufacturers that they would get better returns by working with you, rather than experimenting and trying to handle logistics on their own. By offering quicker delivery to retailers, you can prove that you provide better value.

As you deal with large amounts of stock, tracking can turn into a nightmare. That’s why it’s essential to invest in a good inventory management system that tracks inventory in real-time and automatically places purchase orders when stock is low. This, too, can be a differentiator.

Challenge #2: Slow shipping

Delays from wholesalers can lead to stockouts for retailers, which can reduce customer loyalty. Modern consumers are accustomed to 1-2 day delivery thanks to Amazon. This has, in turn, also raised the bar for wholesalers. Retailers now expect wholesalers to quickly deliver products so that they can serve their own impatient customers.

The challenge for wholesalers is not just shipping more quickly; in reality, it’s both shipping quicker and making fewer mistakes. Inaccurate delivery affects wholesalers’ reputation and often requires paying a fee.

Accurate delivery can be a great value add-on for savvy wholesalers. If you successfully provide quick and precise delivery, you’ll be able to convince retailers to buy from you.

This is exactly why it’s necessary to invest in good order management software. Barcode scanners can also be implemented to cut down on packing and picking errors, too. You can scan items at multiple stages, which further boosts accuracy and speed of processing.

Optimizing your warehouse helps reduce storage costs and speeds up inventory processing — which in turn, leads to faster shipping.

Challenge #3: Inventory damage

Damage to inventory is also another huge factor in a wholesaler’s performance. The core function of wholesaling lies in storing inventory and distributing it to retailers. Property damage is a serious threat to any wholesale business, and it can lead to huge losses in both value and ability to store products.

There are several ways stock can be damaged — fire, earthquakes, flooding, and more. Transit can also damage items due to heat, or if the ride is too bumpy. Mistakes from workers can lead to damages, too. This is exactly why it’s so important to constantly troubleshoot both equipment and machinery.

It also might be a good idea to get your property insured to help cover losses when natural disasters do occur. Plus, employee-related damages can be reduced by offering adequate training on products and their use.

Lastly, you should make sure to check product quality as soon as you receive them. This way, you’ll be able to detect damage and return products before they become inventory.

Challenge #4: Slow growth

Every business aspires to grow fast and constantly improve sales. Fostering relationships with your partners is a great way to help in accelerating the growth of your wholesaling businesses.

International expansion can also aid in getting more customers. When you focus on building contacts locally and internationally, you can expand your customer base. The COVID pandemic has proven the value of an online presence and international supply chains.

Challenge #5: Fines and penalties

In the early stages of their career, many wholesalers do whatever it takes to get contracts with manufacturers.

While having a contract certainly offers assurance, it can also backfire. If contract guidelines are not correctly adhered to, manufacturers can legally penalize wholesalers. And these penalties have to be paid, whether mistakes occurred accidentally or intentionally.

Therefore, rather than signing a contract hastily, you should first consult a lawyer and get a comprehensive understanding of all the terms and conditions mentioned in the agreement.

A lawyer’s cost when going over contracts is negligible compared to the amount that could be paid in the penalties. Only once you are fully aware of the terms should you proceed with the deal.

If you have any concerns about specific conditions, you should openly discuss and negotiate with your manufacturer. If your manufacturer refuses to negotiate, you can always go to another manufacturer who meets your demands. Remember that a signed contract is the foundation of your relationship with the manufacturer — so it should be carefully considered.

Challenge #6: Theft

Employee theft and shoplifting led to retail sector losses totaling $61.7 billion in 2019. The wholesaling business is not immune to theft, either. Since wholesalers deal with large quantities of goods, theft can compound quickly and lead to significant losses.

Theft can occur in warehouses and transit, so investing in security is necessary. You can install security cameras to monitor goods on your premises regularly. You should also consider arranging for staff to monitor goods when in transit and when unloading inventory.

Challenge #7: Inaccurate data

Wholesalers need to know exact quantities for goods purchased, goods sent to retailers, inventory in stock, and more. Storing information manually in ledgers can lead to human error and cause severe losses, which makes it challenging to get accurate information about current levels.

Real-time data helps when trying to meet the demands of manufacturers and retailers. A manual counting process simply isn’t good enough when dealing with massive numbers. Therefore, the best option is to invest in real-time inventory management solutions.

One solution is Radio Frequency Identification Tags (RFID), but they can cost up to $50 per unit. Still, RFIDs allow you to accurately track inventory without employees having to enter any data. Since wholesalers already operate on thin margins, implementing RFIDs might not make financial sense.

A cloud-based inventory management system does the same job and offers real-time information about inventory without being as expensive. Plus, It also helps create a dashboard and generate reports to get important information at a glance. This allows you to make data-driven decision-making.


Grow by focusing on value instead of price

Wholesalers are an important part of supply chains — but they can’t get complacent about upgrading business practices. As retailers explore technological advancements like ecommerce stores, wholesalers must also upgrade their systems and processes to keep up with new challenges.

Ultimately, to survive in the long run, wholesalers need to focus more on delivering value, and less on lowering prices. That’s where Cin7 can help separate savvy wholesalers from their competition. Get in touch with the Cin7 experts to learn more about how we can help you with automation, data collection, and more.


Accelerate B2B wholesale selling with built-in EDI

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI): The electronic exchange of business information using a standardized format; a process which allows one company to send order information to another company electronically rather than by paper or email.

The top 30 retailers in the US, UK and Australia will buy over 2 trillion dollars of products from their suppliers this year. Are you getting your fair share of these purchases? Do you have the EDI technology to be a great supplier to these retailers?

Imagine if Walmart wants to order $100,000 of products from you. Which type of supplier are you? Type 1 or Type 2?

Type 1 suppliers – You’ve adopted a robust inventory and order management system that has a built-in EDI connection direct to Walmart. When Walmart needs to order from you, the purchase order is immediately received electronically by you for fulfillment because the required commercial documents have been coordinated between both parties ahead of time. And, as an added bonus, your inventory system has a seamless, bi-directional integration with your accounting software, so all of the appropriate journal entries are made and your stock count has been updated, all in real time. Supplier type 1 has a fully automated sales workflow designed to sell fast and scale over time.

Or, are you type 2?  The Walmart procurement rep has to manually complete your required form fields by navigating a PDF purchase order template, double check it for accuracy, and email it to you. Then your employee has to email the procurement rep several times to clarify the order details before manually entering the PO information into an Excel spreadsheet, accounting system or inventory tracker without making any mistakes. 4 or 5 days later, the order is ready to be fulfilled. As you may already know, Walmart will stop doing business with Type 2 sellers after their first experience. So, there are very few type 2 sellers left in the world.

Wholesalers and distributors who sell products in bulk to retailers have a vested interest in streamlining the sales process as much as possible by leveraging the latest advances in transactional sales automation.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is the electronic exchange of business information using a standardized format; a process which allows one company to send information to another company electronically rather than by paper or email.

EDI software provides built-in templates that are used to establish unified field formats before transferring data between vendor and retailer systems, making repeat orders a snap.

EDI is an asynchronous data transfer technology that uses a file-based, batch transfer model. The standardization levels for EDIs have matured and been accepted almost universally. Experienced EDI providers maintain these standards and customize them to meet industry-specific requirements.

Adopting an inventory and order management software solution that integrates seamlessly with accounting software like QuickBooks or Xero and that offers a full service, built-in EDI capability with hundreds of major retailers is the key to quickly growing a flourishing wholesale distribution operation.

The benefits of EDI to wholesalers and their retail customers are numerous.

  1. Retailers who can predictably work with distributors that reliably fulfill electronic sales transactions will order more products, more often, engendering loyalty for years to come.
  2. Wholesale sellers that offer electronic order processing and retailers who take advantage of it can both cut staffing costs.
  3. EDI shortens the initial sales transaction, shaving days of admin work off of fulfillment time that may already be delayed due to supply chain disruptions.
  4. Electronic order processing reduces incidents of human error resulting from manual data entry and paper-based record keeping.

Wholesale sellers that choose inventory software with hundreds of pre-built EDI connections see their operating expenses shrink and sales grow exponentially. With the right inventory and order software, wholesale distributors enjoy the following:

  1. Secure, industry-compliant electronic connections that speed sales transactions compared to paper or email-based order processes. The faster a retailer can transact business, the more business they’ll bring you.
  2. Retailers that prefer to do business with you over your competitors who still rely on manual transactions and can’t provide the same simplicity and immediacy that you can with built-in EDI.
  3. Customized and automated workflows that minimize error risk, increase sales volume and lower staffing costs. When ordering is easy, retailers order more often.
  4. Dropping that expensive third party EDI provider. It’s a much better idea to go with a comprehensive inventory management solution that has all the EDI connections you need ready and waiting.
  5. Being directly connected to your third party logistics provider (3PL) warehouse the way you need to be. EDI connections to 3PLs streamline and automate fulfillment workflows and make the ordering process transparent from download to dispatch.
  6. Quick and efficient electronic exchange of other types of required business documentation with retail trading partners. These include invoices, order receipt confirmations, transaction updates, order status notifications and detailed shipping status updates.

Request a demo of Cin7 today to learn even more about the advantages of an inventory and order management system with full service, built-in EDI.

For a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of EDI, check out our extensive EDI resource here.

The next time Walmart, Target, Tesco, Costco, or any large retailer opens the door for you to sell to them, will you be ready?

21 inventory software features wholesale sellers should look for

Wholesale commerce is all about large volume and big profits, but as with all business, can come with the risk of big losses. Changes in consumer preferences, supply chain operating factors, and increasingly aggressive competition make it necessary for wholesalers to stay on top of their game.

Integrating software to organize their success should be the first thing that any wholesaler thinks of. The challenge is that there are many wholesaling software solutions with similar features available on the market. So how do you choose the ideal software that helps you manage and scale your wholesaling business?

To answer this question, experts at Cin7 have curated an extensive list of 21 must-have wholesale management software features. This 21-point list will help you make the right decision for your business so let’s get started.

Our experts have divided these 21 aspects into seven categories to keep things simple for you:

  1. Inventory management
  2. Order management
  3. Warehouse management
  4. Order fulfillment
  5. Reports and forecasting
  6. Documentation management
  7. Third-party integrations

Inventory management

In this section, we will cover wholesale selling features that will help you manage your inventory in a smarter and more efficient way.

#1 Inventory control

Any software you adopt should enable you to maintain the quantity of inventory you deem necessary and provide you with real-time stock visibility. It should help you meet customer demand at all times with minimum inventory holding costs and mitigate any delays in order fulfillment.

Make sure the solution automates processes like reordering and stock taking to help eliminate the risks associated with decision-making. In a nutshell, it should help you control your inventory flow in the most financially and business-wise manner.

#2 Inventory tracking

This feature revolves around providing you with real-time visibility of your inventory throughout your organization and across partner organizations. Every step needs to be tracked from when you purchase stock from your vendor, pick-up by your logistics partner to customer delivery.

You should be aware of the five Ws (who, when, where, why) and H (how) at all times, as it is instrumental in helping you make the right decisions. Also, you should be able to get details in terms of all batches and lots since this information will help trace any recalls.

#3 Barcode support

It is inevitable that you will require a full-scale barcoding solution that allows you to generate barcodes for all stored items. This includes items that are temporarily waiting to have barcodes printed for order pickup, packaging, stock transfers, and cross-docking.

The software either needs to provide in-built barcode generation capabilities or support it via a third party integration. However, it is preferable to have it built in natively as barcoding will be an integral part of your operations with many company-specific references like SKUs.

#4 Product bundling

As a wholesaler, you may need to sell products in bundles, but this complicates the accounting and other operational aspects. Your inventory management solution should support product bundling (also known as inventory kitting) so that you can sell confidently.

The platform should allow you to combine prices, select product combinations, and calculate margins and taxes. It should be able to consider your current stock levels, how long stock has been sitting in the warehouse, expiration dates of perishable goods, and offer compatible products for upselling/cross-selling.

Order management

In this section, we will learn about the features that will help you manage wholesale orders.

#5 Automating order processing

Automating order processing with the help of robust EDI solutions has become a bare minimum feature for wholesale selling as customers today expect instant confirmation and other post-order communications. Your software should natively integrate through EDI with all your selling channels and facilitate a two-way transfer of information so that your customers are aware of stock availability and make purchases hassle-free.

Customers should also have visibility into shipping fees, terms, and conditions, along with your return policy, making the entire order processing experience coordinate with the customer journey, and your business model.

Real-time inputs for all orders saves valuable time spent on order processing and boosts your organization’s productivity. This would also streamline their workflow management while enhancing the customer experience.

#6 Managing order history

As a wholesaler, order history management becomes essential from two perspectives: firstly, it aids in demand forecasting and secondly, it helps you increase the average lifetime value of a customer resulting in repeat business.

Ideally, your solution should go far beyond merely allowing you to manage order history. It should help make sense out of purchase decisions and generate insights that help you shape future strategies and campaigns. It should be a valuable addition to your client relationship management and overall personalization efforts.

#7 Shipment tracking

The wholesale sector has recently adopted digitization as a part of its business strategy, and shipment tracking has become a standard demand for wholesaling businesses giving clients important shipping updates.

This could be in the form of dashboards and self-service portals where your customers can access the latest updates regarding their shipment and directly communicate with shippers. It should also provide you with the shipping status of the goods sold and detailed information regarding any delays.

Warehouse management

Here are ways that a warehouse management module can improve internal logistics.

#8 Managing inventory location and available storage space

Your software should provide you with both the real-time location of any item and its historical storage data. This will help you make decisions involving stock transfers like changing the location of inventory with respect to the consumption patterns and making space for incoming shipments.

This will help you direct your warehouse staff regarding pickups and material handling while also ensuring that your storage space is utilized optimally. It should also help you with storage space allocation and insights regarding the availability of space based on incoming inventory. Also, you should keep in mind that keeping track of inventory location will require you to use barcoding solutions and perform inventory counts periodically.

#9 Internal and external stock transfer

As a wholesaler, stock transfers are part and parcel of your business. Therefore, this is an important feature as it will allow you to perform internal and external stock transfers with accuracy and efficiency. It should allow you to print barcode labels for individual stock items, pallets, and entire consignments to help coordinate with internal and external stakeholders.

The solution should also help streamline accounting and record-keeping with templates that capture all vital information like the person in charge at both ends, details regarding transferred items, schedule, and cost of the entire process. It should also facilitate a reverse supply chain in case the goods are unfit for use. The goal is to keep stock levels accurate despite  inventory movement.

#10 Generating pickup and packaging slips

Pickup slips enable your staff to swiftly find and fetch ready-to-ship products from their respective locations in your storage facility. Depending on your requirements, a warehouse management system should support various picking systems such as batch picking, cluster picking, wave picking, zone picking, and hybrid picking.

Packaging slips need to support specific requirements like adding special handling instructions and product bundling instructions alongside regular customer details. You may be required to provide additional documents like the bill of lading (BOL.) Its format should be in line with the expectations of your shippers and provide them with all the required information upfront.

Order fulfillment

Order fulfillment for wholesalers differs significantly from retail sellers. We’ve targeted these specific functionalities for the wholesale sector.

#11 Sharing order details with the customer

This is one of the important wholesale order fulfillment features that will allow you to send an order confirmation email with order status and other details. You will also need to integrate your wholesaling software with an email marketing platform in order to send and revert to transactional emails requiring data from within your organization.

Other email communications include delays in order fulfillment, shipping, order cancellation, returns, or refund processing. You should also check out the information-sharing capabilities across multiple channels.

#12 Customer self-service portal

Many software providers offer a customer self-service portal. It can be a great addition to your customer experience enhancement efforts and significantly reduce the workload for your customer service team. Customers can refer to the portal to answer questions that the customer service team would otherwise need to reply to manually. Customers can access shipment or product return status directly in the portal or VIA automated emails that serve the same purpose.

You can also look for additional features like a FAQ zone, community forums, and guides that will help serve your customers’ needs. It will also give you a chance to understand their content needs better and optimize accordingly.

#13 Returns processing

Statistically, 30% of online orders are returned, and hence, returns processing is an undesirable yet significant part of your operations. As we discussed earlier, a self-service portal comes in handy, but you will need other features too. Make sure your solution can print return labels, helping to automate return merchandise processing.

Because you’ve chosen a warehouse management solution that connects bi-directionally to your accounting software, you will also benefit from the visibility of the returning inventory and control of its costs. Also, you can choose to store the returning goods at a local fulfillment center and redirect them for resale if the items are fit for use. Automated returns processing will also let you know about the issues faced by your customers and even come up with educational material in case you find that returns are caused due to a lack of product knowledge.

Reports and forecasting

Here’s a list of business intelligence oriented features you should look for when considering wholesale inventory management software.

#14 Report building

Accessing data insights from your solution’s reporting capabilities should be a priority when considering software. It should pull real-time data in easy-to-understand formats so that you can make business decisions without investing too much time. It should be able to identify any irregularities in your processes and point out the exact reason behind any lag in the functioning of your organization.

The solution should have reports to empower each of your business functions, including purchasing, warehousing, inventory management, inbound and outbound shipping, demand forecasting, and manpower planning. Thus, the software should keep you well informed and provide you with crucial real-time inputs to keep your wholesale business running at optimal levels of efficiency.

#15 Demand forecasting

Demand forecasting is the process of estimating the market demand for your products during a given time period with accurate details such as the volume, demand centers, trends, and reasons such as festivals, holidays, and customer affinity.

These reports will help you implement a lean operating model where market conditions dictate action, and value is delivered at each node in the supply chain. Also, you can minimize inventory holding levels and make timely purchasing decisions. This, in turn, saves you from facing stock-outs or missing sales due to the unavailability of products.

#16 Capacity planning and estimation

As a wholesaler, you will need to understand the availability of your staff and their ability to complete work against business requirements. Reporting should also include availability of the assets and tools required for them to do their jobs, such as the material handling trolleys and trays used to transfer items.

The reporting should give you more accuracy around work delegation and estimated time for completion of tasks. The system uses inputs to determine how many employees are present, what assets are available for use (trolleys, trays), and the execution strategy to be employed (e.g., batch pickup, wave pickup, hybrid pickup combined with LIFO/FIFO). The result of the final computation is reflected in the pickup/packaging slips. This feature saves your team from having to make last-minute adjustments. You will also get an idea regarding the right number of resources required to run your organization and reduce attrition levels.

#17 Financial and accounting reports generation

Reports like inventory audits, inventory reconciliation, ABC analysis, inventory evaluation, inventory shrinkage, and inventory holding costs are among the basic requirements you should have in mind. Your software should also provide you with the accounting data that can be directly fed to your accounting system to eliminate work duplication and reduce any manual errors.

These reporting capabilities will help you understand your organization’s financial health so you can make timely adjustments to maintain your profitability. Reports like inventory turn days, inventory turnover ratio, fill rate, average spend per customer, and repeat order rate help you connect with the financial aspect of your operations.

#18 Sales quoting

Your wholesale inventory management software should help you with building sales quotes as it contains all the required data, including product availability, fulfillment lead time, discount grids, and payment terms.

This can be especially useful when considering the nature of bulk orders as there are many push and pull factors that contribute to a sale. Having a bird’s eye view of the pricing factors regarding the sale size can provide you with the much-needed leverage when considering special discounts, offers and each sales representatives’ performance.

Documentation management

As a wholesaler, it is important to maintain a documented track record of your operations. You will also need to be able to transfer documents within and outside your organization.

#19 Built-in EDI

EDI technology allows you to transfer business documents across multiple verticals in a standardized format so your employees can coordinate orders and collaborate effectively. EDI technology optimizes and automates the workflows across departments and even beyond your organization without compromising your business interests.

Having a solution with built-in EDI connections will help you reduce costs and increase your staff’s productivity as the software bears a significant portion of their administrative workload.  Built-in EDI will help reduce errors, aid in the auditing process, and secure your organizational data.

Third-party integrations

Lastly, we will have a quick look over the third-party application integrations that are necessary for the smooth running of your wholesaling business.

#20 B2B ecommerce marketplaces

It goes without saying that your wholesale inventory software should support integration with all leading marketplaces, including Amazon Seller, Etsy, eBay, AliExpress, and other leading platforms. A complete multichannel selling suite will help scale your business without any operational bottlenecks.

Wholesale inventory software plays an important role in pulling data from a single catalog and making products available according to the platform-native fields and functionalities. However, you need to look out for cases where your shipper and marketplace platform don’t display full interoperability. For example, one of the shippers may not support product bundling while the marketplace may support it. In such cases, your software should be able to fulfill the gap by coordinating with the shipper and ensuring that your products are delivered as per the displayed offer within due time.

#21 Third-party logistics companies

3PL integration is a must-have feature as it provides the required visibility into goods in transit and shipped orders. It allows you to pull data from your 3PL provider’s portal to your portal and website so that your customers and employees can track shipments.

This feature enables you to display carrier charges in real-time so that your customers can make a choice depending on their budget and preferences. Thus, this feature allows you to streamline your backend processes to a great extent.

Summing up

Towards the end of this list, we can say that a lot of these features are interlinked and hence the ideal solution for your brand needs to have most of them in order to provide you with an excellent user experience. On top of these functionalities, we would like to advise you to look for excellent customer support since every solution will have a learning curve and you must be able to access help in a timely fashion for a successful transition. If you have any queries regarding the selection of an ideal wholesale software solution for your small business, get in touch with Cin7 experts today!

12 Steps to Accelerate Your Wholesale Business

Growing a wholesaling business is both challenging and rewarding despite high competition. The world recently experienced a massive socio-economic setback in the form of the Covid-19 pandemic and the wholesale industry has since begun to show a strong recovery. It is clear that you need to be precise about both planning and operations if you want to be successful in the emerging landscape.


Like other sectors, wholesalers have to navigate through many push and pull factors in order to keep their business thriving. Right from managing inventory to coordinating with suppliers, everything needs to be foolproof for sales success and a healthy bottom line.

We have curated a list of 12 steps that will help you secure success in wholesale business management. It is aimed at providing actionable insights into approaches that lead to success in wholesaling regardless of the products or region. Let’s begin:

#1 Improve Your Business Model

We find that many wholesalers skip making a deep assessment of their wholesaling business model. This causes the organization and team members to operate in ignorance, increasing their dependence on workarounds and makeshift practices. At the end of the day, this results in yet another wholesale business that lacks direction and understanding of how to grow.

You should determine your business model and identify the exact reasons why you are in the industry. How will the industry change in the next 2 to 5 years? What market segments should you target? What is special about your operating model? What differentiates you from a lot of other similar wholesale businesses and is it enough to build a loyal customer base?

The answers to such questions will help you sharpen your business model and guide you through many complex questions like determining your target market segment and selecting the right products. In 2022, the global market for wholesale is expected to grow to $44 trillion, and thus, it is necessary to identify your unique positioning to tap into all available opportunities.

Once you have an idea of why and how your business will function, you can run a competitive analysis and an industry evaluation to discover your business objectives and unique selling propositions (USPs).

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#2 Identify The Right B2B Sales Platforms

Ecommerce is fast becoming the prime avenue for wholesalers due to a number of factors. Studies show that the B2B customer experience makes a significant impact on millennials, who account for 73% of the decision-making population. Thus, they are the most influential group for B2B marketers and this is one of the reasons that has propelled the shift to online in the B2B sectors.

Wholesalers need to be present on B2B platforms to stay relevant to the market and ensure the long-term viability of their business. The Covid-19 pandemic acted as a catalyst for the online transition of B2B players and thus, you must position yourself on the right platforms.

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It is no secret that B2B buyers can have a complicated purchasing journey and that requires you to understand the sector and region-specific dynamics. The below infographic rightly shows the intricacies faced by B2B buyers that wholesalers can solve to gain a competitive edge.

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#3 Keep Your Business Plan Centered On Healthy Cash Flow

As a player in the wholesaling industry, inventory absorbs a huge chunk of your capital and you will inevitably need to be good at managing your cash flow. Maintaining a healthy, positive cash flow requires you to undertake the following processes:

Forecast Your Cash Flow: This is a basic calculation of your revenue vs. expenditure for the given remaining period of the financial year or beyond. It helps determine how much cash you will hold at different periods in the future and allow you to plan accordingly.

Demand Forecasting: Here, market intelligence and your wholesale inventory management software can be leveraged to forecast demand and ensure that your business is fit to meet periods of high demand proactively. This helps you manage and optimize your organization’s functions like procurement, stocking, sales and marketing, human resources management, and more.

Invoicing: To enhance customer service and by default, the customer experience, it is important to automate invoicing. This will streamline your cash flow management and ensure compliance with your sales policies which in turn become the basis of your cash flow forecasting.

Cash Reserve Management: Cash is important for all core and non-core organizational activities that require payment on an immediate basis. This includes salary disbursement, petty cash and cases where you have to cover unpaid customer debt to fulfill your commitment to other parties.

Here is a chart that will help you to understand the importance of cash flow management amidst uncertainties in the non durables segment:

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#4 Develop An Efficient and Comprehensive Marketing Plan

It is equally important for wholesalers to promote their business to attract new customers, remarket their products to existing buyers and to increase the lifetime value of their client base. This has become increasingly evident, especially after the pandemic. B2B organizations like wholesalers need to be visible online and undertake digital marketing efforts just like any D2C organization.

Thus, you will need a comprehensive marketing plan for your wholesale business that covers all possible touchpoints and prospect sources. You then need to curate marketing materials and run a full-fledged marketing campaign across relevant channels to gain leads. Automation comes in handy in scaling an error-free process while also allowing you to benefit from features like lead grading and lifecycle management.

The current market requires integrated marketing campaigns. We recommend a holistic approach that includes collaboration with your sales team and other stakeholders.

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Currently, there are significant opportunities available for wholesalers since many players may have exited recently while fresh demand continues to triumph.

#5 Hire The Right Talent

As a wholesaler, it is necessary to hire the right talent to take care of your large volume business. Like any other business sector, you need to choose them on the basis of your business case, short-term and long-term goals, succession planning and other criteria that will impact your growth capabilities.

To begin with, weigh your existing staff’s strengths and weaknesses, skills and the probability of an increase in output with additional resources and skill sets. This will help you identify the right candidates for your wholesale business with a clear understanding of what you expect out of them once they join. The below chart displays the stagnant condition of the current wholesaling industry employment market.

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Regardless of what product you are selling, issues of scale remain common across businesses. Hiring proficient and talented people should be the main recruitment drivers for most job roles.

You may also want to ensure that they will be able to use the tools required to complete their daily tasks. It is natural that they will need training and on-the-job experience in using these tools, but it is necessary that they have prior knowledge of working with software packages and basic computer skills.

#6 Master Your Pricing Strategy And Get A Tool For It

Pricing plays a crucial role in determining your success as a wholesaler, but it doesn’t mean that you need to be priced as low as possible. It’s a fact that there’s plenty of competition in the market but trying to be the cheapest option is not going to provide you with any significant results.

Instead, you should keep your pricing strategy based on market dynamics and your unique value propositions. Thus, you should compete on the grounds of the value you deliver to your customers as opposed to competing on the basis of price. This will ensure that your bottom line stays healthy and you don’t lose sales simply because another player offered to sell at lower prices than you.

With this being said, it is necessary to buy a tool for pricing purposes if you are willing to sell on online B2B marketplaces. In fact, this becomes necessary since you may have many products to offer and setting their prices manually is not feasible or sustainable in the long term.

An automation tool helps you manage pricing based on multiple factors to maximize profitability. For example, if you are selling on Amazon, you can increase your prices when your competitors are facing stock outages without the fear of lost sales. There are numerous such scenarios where you need to adjust your prices in real-time.

#7 Invest In A Decent Ecommerce Automation Tool

Here’s the most important part of upscaling your wholesale business through online sales: getting a robust ecommerce automation tool that also acts as a wholesale sales management system.  Most platforms require you to perform huge chunks of data entry work under tight time constraints. For instance, if your product is sold on one channel, it is necessary to update the information on the rest of your sales channels.

This volume of time-sensitive documentation is neither feasible nor sustainable for any wholesaler. Ecommerce automation software allows you to manage multiple channels, backend processes, documentation and all selling-related tasks on a centralized platform.

You should also expect benefits like optimization of your organizational culture as these software solutions help define and streamline various processes. Choose a solution that fosters collaboration and provides multiple types of reports that help your staff work in a unified manner regardless of the number of internal and external stakeholders.

The right platform should also provide efficiencies in accounting and finance, workflow management, integrated marketing, customer service and insights, data collection and analytics.

#8 Continuously Optimize Your Order Fulfillment Strategy

Order fulfillment remains one of the key areas which can emerge as a differentiating factor for your wholesale business since the shift to agile fulfillment is yet to happen in this particular sector. Lack of transparency is another issue that you can address with the help of 3PL partners. In most regions, shipping is entirely within the scope of the supplier.

Allow your customers to choose their preferred 3PL shipper so that they can also be in control of the costs and of processes like shipment tracking and returns processing. This also reduces your staff’s workload.

You will also need to integrate your organizational functions like warehousing, inventory management, material handling, receiving, picking and packaging. Thus, your order fulfillment will require a centralized approach to all concurrent activities in order to provide you with a competitive advantage over other wholesalers.

#9 Foster Good Relationships With Stakeholders

Every participant in your wholesale business’s success should get their due share of acknowledgement and appreciation alongside the expected cooperation. The account based approach is often overlooked because business owners are often focused on their stock and recurring orders as the two major business drivers.

We provide this tip as a reminder that, like any business, success in the wholesale sector relies on your ability to harness the full range of every stakeholder’s capabilities. This includes your suppliers, staff members, partner organizations, customers and consultants since their respective participation helps to sustain and grow your business.

You will need to set an effective communication strategy that includes both your internal and external stakeholders while effectively serving their interests. This includes self-service portals, tracking windows and automated emails as they enable seamless communication for transactional queries.

Also, consider dedicating a relationship management strategy so that you can manage your brand image proactively through time-tested methods like well wishes on personal occasions. Building a rapport with your stakeholders will also aid in boosting your brand image since many wholesale players still rely on the old-school methods. Account based marketing helps to build demand and eases customers into upsell offers.

#10 Operate On A Customer-First Operating Model

As we begin to wrap up, we want to reiterate the value of operating under a customer-centric model.

One of the ways to ensure that your efforts as an organization are directed towards customer experience is including value add to each process including demand forecasting, marketing, product lifecycle management and client support. It may require you to democratize insights within and beyond the organization so as to facilitate transparency.

Linking organizational culture to the customer experience is another approach that helps build a customer-focused environment, but it is necessary to check if you are overdoing it. Maintaining a fine balance between your customer’s expectations vs. your organizational and employee interests is the key to building a sustainable customer-first operating model.

If required, you can also opt for boosting employee-customer relationships through meetings, internal surveys and reports. You can also provide your employees with an opportunity to collaborate with different verticals, including the client-facing side of your organization.

#11 Constantly Monitor How Your Wholesale Business Performs

Despite the measures described above, it is important to keep an eye on your business through various metrics made available by software solutions and partner channels. This is due to the fact that market volatility, customer behavior augmentation, supply chain bottlenecks and change in government regulations are some of the factors that continuously impact your wholesale business.

On top of that, internal factors such as attrition and work culture also impact the results you get in the long run. Therefore, make it a point to include reporting and analysis as a core management function to keep your organization on the right track.

#12 Start A Couple of Experiments to Test Selling Directly to Consumers

Direct to consumer marketing (D2C) refers to manufacturers/wholesalers selling their products directly to the end-user which increases control over brand reputation and provides autonomy over sales and customer experience. Naturally, the D2C business model will prove more profitable and scalable than other indirect selling methods if approached correctly.

You can experiment with D2C selling but keep in mind that you need to take your staff into confidence and train them, build your presence on relevant D2C platforms and prompt your partners regarding the D2C transition. Remember, your approach should be customer-centric and focus on building a steady pipeline of leads.

Wrap Up

It is clear that wholesaling organizations have ample opportunities at their disposal for improving their chances of success. But you may find it tricky to navigate through multiple growth drivers, so using centralized, automated solutions is a must.

Wholesaling continues to be an attractive avenue and despite the pandemic, it has shown great resilience. With these 12 steps, most wholesalers will find it easy to create and maintain mechanisms that will help them achieve success in 2022 and beyond. If you have any doubts or require suggestions, feel free to get in touch with experts at Cin7 to take your wholesaling business to the next level.