For companies that take wholesale orders and sell seasonally, locking in a season’s pre-bookings is critical to setting the business off on a virtuous cycle of profit generation and cash flow acceleration. With the pre-season such a critical time for these wholesale businesses, they need every small edge to win more deals (and win them faster).  Mobile order writing and sales order management technology can help increase the efficiency and effectiveness of a wholesaler’s staff during this crucial period.

Wholesale Orders & Why Preseason Selling is So Important 

In talking with our customers in seasonal industries like Outdoor and Fashion, we’ve found that 60-90% of their wholesale orders are pre-season orders. These pre-bookings usually have deliveries staggered across multiple ship dates during the season. This is beneficial to retail customers, because it enables them to meet volume discount pricing or order minimum thresholds, while improving cash flow management by limiting inventory build and paying only when they’ve received the goods. Many wholesalers see pre-bookings as a service they offer their retailers, but it is also beneficial to the wholesale bottom line. By collecting a high percentage of their orders upfront, they reduce their unit production costs by running at increased scale. In addition, they can better plan production to limit the risk of excess inventory. It’s not only the number and size of the pre-booked wholesale orders that matters, however, but also the speed at which they are secured. By filling order books early in the pre-season, wholesalers will maximize order quantities without being left having to scramble to sell-in after retailers have made their decisions. Just as important, wholesalers can secure financing and begin production to ensure on-time deliveries. This leads to their products getting on shelves and selling through more quickly, as well as a group of satisfied customers ready to reorder again next season. So how are companies getting their preseason orders in more efficiently? The answer is mobile order writing and sales order management software.

How to Improve Pre-season Selling with Order Management Software

1. Save Money with Seamless Catalog Management

Mailing each new season’s catalog to sales reps or placing it for download in shared storage is a costly, antiquated practice. Instead, each catalog revision can be easily loaded with HD pictures and updated product descriptions from the wholesaler’s back office. They can even set-up tailored catalogs with the products their reps are authorized to sell and the products each customer buys. Once the catalog is ready, it can be quickly synced to sales reps’ mobile devices.  They can then show the catalog and sell from anywhere they take their device.

2. Save Time Writing Orders

With multiple ship dates, various ship-to locations, and different pricing scenarios for each customer, simply writing an order can be a challenge. Mobile order writing solutions give sales reps the ability to sell and educate as they write the order. These include all of the product and customer information they need, so they don’t make mistakes or take up a retailer’s time to look things up. Writing orders for multiple delivery dates and shipping locations becomes the trivial task of simply choosing another date or location.

3. Sell More by Selling More Effectively

With the time previously spent writing preseason orders, sales reps can actually concentrate on selling and servicing the customer. With the wholesaler’s top sellers and their customers’ order histories and favorite products on an iPad, sales reps have a starting point for each conversation at their fingertips. They can make better product recommendations and adapt to their retailer’s strategy for each season based on the categories and items that have previously worked well. Delivering customers the right products each season builds trust and larger future orders.

4. Improve Customer Service & Back Office Efficiency

During the preseason, the back office should be flooded with orders. Or at least one hopes so. Manually entering those orders into an ERP or other system creates a major backlog. Production doesn’t know how much to produce, orders are missed, orders are processed and shipped in a rush, and mistakes are made. Sales order management eliminates data entry. The order automatically comes in from the field and syncs with the wholesaler’s core business systems. Production is ready to build inventory and ship to retailers for on-time delivery.

5. Build strategic relationships

Too often, the preseason selling process for wholesale sales reps is dominated by just writing the order. This is a critical time of year for the buyer, who is focused on putting out his best assortment. The focus of the sales rep should be on the customer, not the administrative side of things. Automating the process with sales order management software facilitates a smoother, more successful season.

The Bottom Line

For your pre-season wholesale orders, it’s critical that your sales reps are concentrating not on the logistics and administration related to taking those orders, but on strategies to sell more product and provide retailers with a consultative experience. By putting the right information at their fingertips and automating the order submission process, sales order management software does just that.