If you’re a foodservice distributor, your ordering system is a critical component of your business. While larger distributors like Sysco and US Foods have fully embraced e-commerce and offer advanced e-commerce platforms for their customers to place orders, smaller distributors are further behind. Many of the other 12,000 US foodservice distributors are struggling with deploying basic modern e-commerce systems for their customers and still use antiquated ordering systems that are inefficient and inconvenient.
Here are 8 signs your ordering system is obsolete and in desperate need of a revamp:
1. Most of your orders come through phone, text, or email
If your sales team is still fielding calls, texts, emails and voicemails from customers and manually entering them into your ERP system, then your ordering system is obsolete. It is estimated that it takes approximately 30 minutes to transcribe a 5-minute voicemail order into a distributor's ERP, so these methods are extremely time-consuming. E-commerce is the most preferred method of B2B purchasing, and operators are demanding easier and more efficient ordering mechanisms from their suppliers.
2. You can’t access it on the go
If your ordering system requires your operators to be at a specific location to access it (e.g. a desktop computer) or with specific devices, then your system needs to be rehauled. Modern, cloud-based, and mobile-friendly systems offer flexibility and accessibility from anywhere and from any device, leading to a more convenient ordering experience.
3. Your sales team are “order-takers” not sales consultants
Upselling is a way of encouraging customers to purchase a more expensive or premium version of the product they are interested in or to purchase complementary products with their purchase. The goal of upselling is to increase the overall value of the transaction and boost revenue by convincing customers to spend more than they originally intended. This can be done through a variety of ways such as product recommendations, promotions and offers and bundling. However, if your sales team acts more as ‘order-takers’ then they do not have the time to engage in upselling your products to customers, which could be affecting your bottom line.
4. Your sales team isn’t bringing in new customers
If your sales team is spending the majority of their time inputting orders and they don’t have the time to nurture existing relationships or build new ones, then it may be time to rethink your sales strategy. Your teams should be selling, not transcribing voicemails. A digital-first sales strategy automates mundane, everyday tasks that take so much of your sales team’s time. A new ordering system will free up this time to be better spent driving sales, gaining new customers, and increasing revenue for your business.
5. You have a high order error rate
Order errors are common when the ordering system is manual and labor-intensive. They can lead to customer dissatisfaction and attrition since the restaurant space is fast-paced and turn-over is high. Customer attrition is very costly, one study estimates that acquiring new customers costs 5 times more than retaining new ones, and a 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by 25-90%.
6. Communication with your customers is slow
If your business is taking a long time to respond to customer queries or issues, or if your existing system does not support automatic notifications and alerts for things like order status, then you are not communicating very well with your customers. This can lead to low customer satisfaction which can be detrimental to business.
7. You have a lot of data, but it's not generating any insights
You have a lot of data about your customers: what they bought, how much they bought when they bought it, and at what price point. But all this data is irrelevant if you can’t use it to drive revenue for your business. A modern ordering system gives you and your sales team instant access to all this information and even distills them into usable insights (like order or case drop, at-risk accounts, and so much more), which your sales team can deploy to drum up sales and revenue.
8. The thought of integrating your system with modern technology scares you
Outdated systems often struggle to integrate with modern software, third-party applications, or e-commerce solutions. They also struggle to deal with complex pricing models which can be deployed with modern e-commerce. Another upcoming technology that will eventually be integrated with ordering systems is Artificial Intelligence. But all of this requires a modern ordering system to be in place.
If these sound like something your business faces, then it may be time to think about pulling the plug on your existing system and switching over to a more modern and versatile ordering system.