BMI Microsoft Dynamics NAV Blog

Online Distributors: Technology Can Make or Break Your Business

Posted by Craig Greitzer on Sep 6, 2017 11:00:00 AM

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I recently ordered a medical product from Amazon. I ordered it at 10 am and received it the same day at 4 pm for no additional shipping charge. Now, that is service! (Granted, I was a Prime member and pay $99 per year for free shipping on all items I buy, but I use it enough that it is worth it to me to have what I want in my hands quickly).

As an independent distributor, it may be difficult to compete with that level of service, but there are many ways you can endear yourself to customers. Finding out what is important to your customers is the first step to delivering a buying experience that brings them back for more.

Customers won’t buy it if they can’t find it - Your Search function should be on steroids.

Customers want to type in logical words and have it return what they are looking for. Sometimes they are not logical, so you need to think about how they would type words in a search with spelling errors.

  • Allow them to filter with a variety of attributes like brand, size, color, etc.
  • Make it easy for your customers to mark favorite items and come back later to order.
  • Offer suggested additional items, “customers who bought this also bought…” to make sure they are not forgetting something.
  • As a distributor, you should be able to control "first in search" e-commerce product placement to encourage purchases of products that you make the most margin on.
  • Display products you want to feature to prompt them to order something they may not even be thinking about.
  • It should be easy to find out what search terms your customers are entering on your e-commerce site so that you can drive profitable and appropriate products to the top of the search results page in order to better match what your customers are asking for.

Customers want a wide selection of products. The opportunity to integrate with Master Wholesalers’ advanced content keeps your product offering diverse, whether you are a stocking distributor or not. If you offer Avery Labels, offer all sizes available. Maybe the label order is a small part of a much larger order, so don’t drive them somewhere else that has a better variety in stock.

Customers want to pay the way they want to pay. It is proven that every barrier you put in the way of a customer doing business with you will work. For example, If they want to pay with AMEX, don’t tell them you only take Visa. If it is too hard to manage the fees and maintenance of AMEX, then offer an app like PayPal or something like it. The point is that there are many retail online stores they can go to who give them those options. Break down those barriers and let your customers in.

Customers love Discounts and Promos unless they are inaccurate. Integration with your ERP system including finance, sales, procurement, and inventory is essential. You can do more business and avoid inevitable errors if you eliminate manual changes between your eCommerce site and your back office operations. One minor mistake in pricing could hurt your business and credibility.

Customers get mad when you deliver the wrong item - in fact, you just might drive them away. Good warehouse processes start with a robust, comprehensive software platform that connects your operations. If you are running on an old, clunky software platform that you constantly patch with band-aids to keep your business afloat, it will be difficult to compete with companies that offer modern integrated technology.

Additionally, put processes in place to get the outcomes you want. I heard from an analyst who visited a leading distributor’s warehouse to interview the shipping team as part of a study of their operations. There was one employee who was literally running to grab stock, pop it in a box and ship it out. He didn’t have time to stop and talk. Finally, they asked, “Why are you moving so fast?” The answer, “I get 25 cents bonus for each correctly shipped order. The more orders I ship with no errors, the more I make.”

What issues matter to your online customers? Please comment below to continue the conversation.

Business Management International (BMI) is dedicated to bringing business technology to independent distributors to help them compete. We’re not afraid to offer radically great customer service and proudly offer Microsoft Dynamics NAV to solve real world business problems. www.bmiusa.com and www.bmiusa.com/bmi-software.

Topics: BMI Software, BMI OP Revelation, Office Products

Source Office & Technology Goes Live With BMI Software

Posted by Craig Greitzer on Jul 12, 2016 12:53:09 PM

We are pleased to announce another successful go-live of BMI Software at Source Office & Technology located in Golden, Colorado. 

Source had 4 different systems, some of which were home grown, to handle their various lines of business along with a full IT department to support it all. Their primary goal with the BMI system was to integrate all of these divisions into a single system which will allow them to better focus on the growth of their company. 

Compared to other BMI Office Product dealer projects, there were relatively few modifications required.  This is a true testament to how much functionality has been added to our solution over the years. 

Our deepest thanks to the Source team for their efforts during this time and, as always, to the BMI implementation team for their tireless efforts over the July 4th holiday.

 

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Topics: BMI, BMI Software, BMI OP Revelation, Office Products

Garvey's Office Products Anniversary

Posted by Craig Greitzer on May 12, 2016 5:17:50 PM

Ninety Years and Counting for IL Dealer Garvey’s Office Products

(Reprinted with permission from the Independent Dealer e-zine)

 

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The Garvey family (from left to right): Kevin Garvey, Bernie Garvey Jr., Sheila Gartland, Ken Garvey, Bernie Garvey Sr. and Dan Garvey.

 

It was champagne time in Niles, Illinois last month, as Bernie Garvey and his team at Garvey’s Office Products celebrated their 90th year of service to the Chicago-area business community.

 

The dealership was founded in 1926 as Schiller & Schmidt by two printing sales reps. In 1954, Bernard Garvey, Sr. came on board as a sales rep and 12 years later, he bought the company.

 

Fast forward to today and Garvey’s is a thriving $40 million business, with some 90 employees operating out of an 85,000 sq. ft. distribution center in Niles and a product mix that covers the full spectrum of office needs from office supplies and furniture to breakroom supplies, document finishing, promotional products and more.

 

The company today is in the safe hands of the second generation of the Garvey family, with Bernie serving as president; one brother, Ken, running inside sales and larger accounts; two other brothers, Kevin and Dan, in outside sales, and sister, Sheila Gartland, handling marketing and IT.

 

The dealership has been enjoying a good year so far, Bernie reports, with furniture sales particularly strong and new business coming from a number of larger accounts that had previously been in the hands of big box competitors.

 

Our congratulations to the Garvey family and the entire Garvey team. Here’s to the next 90 years!

 

Garvey's uses BMI OP Revelation Software to run their dealership.  Click here to learn more about BMI Software.

 

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Topics: Navision, Dynamics NAV, OP Revelation, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, E-Commerce, BMI Software, BMI OP Revelation, Office Products

Southwest School & Office Supply - BMI Software

Posted by Craig Greitzer on Apr 27, 2016 11:04:02 AM

The following article is from the March 2016 issue of OPI Magazine (with permission)

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Southwest School & Office Supply went live with BMI on April 13, 2015. Aja Stickler, bid and marketing manager at the Jurupa Valley, California dealership, remembers the exact date as she says it is burned in her memory.

Southwest had been on its previous system for close to 20 years when it received notice that the system was being discontinued. That prompted an intense period of investigation and development to assure that the technology selected would meet the dealership’s business demands as the largest school supply dealer in California.

“BMI had what we needed and they were there for us during the whole conversion,” says Stickler. “Through every step of the process representatives from BMI have been available and they know what they are doing,” she says.

BMI’s employees made the difference when it came to training and working with Southwest employees. “They have some incredible programmers on staff who can walk you through the system and make you feel comfortable,” says Stickler. No matter what request she made, they never failed to come up with a solution, she adds.

The new system is cloud-based, which Stickler says is a good choice as the server they had been using was in need of maintenance. “We went with a provider called Rackspace, which was a recommendation from another BMI customer. Rackspace offers a computing infrastructure that hosts complex applications that run the latest data engines and e-commerce platforms.

“From a business standpoint BMI has enabled us to streamline operations,” explains Stickler. For example, warehouse operations have always been closely monitored but now that’s an automated process instead of paying someone to manually track how many lines a picker picked in a shift.

The system also has an iPhone-based proof of delivery feature that confirms the delivery process so that if there is ever any issue, personnel at Southwest can go in and see the signature and photo that confirms the delivery. “It also links to our ecommerce site so our customers can go online and look up their order history,” Stickler adds.

Another practical feature is the first-in-search offering that BMI offers. Because Southwest buys 90% of its inventory direct it didn’t make sense to utilize the search engine that its wholesaler offered. “We have over 6,000 of our own SKUs, and we wanted them to come up first,” says Stickler.

For more information about BMI Software for Business Product Distributors, click here.

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Topics: BMI Software, BMI OP Revelation, Office Products, Busines Products