Building and scaling wholesale business is hard and expensive as wholesale ordering process is mostly fragmented and clunky. Traditional wholesale commerce is offline, opaque and feet on street centric which makes it hard for brands, manufacturers & distributors to grow their wholesale business.
While building LockTheDeal, I had the opportunity to interact with many brands and I was routinely blown away by the offline nature of wholesale distribution. In the last 10 years, we have come a long way in B2C commerce, thanks to eCommerce marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart and D2C commerce enablers like Shopify but wholesale ordering is still mostly offline and clunky in India. Due to the offline nature of traditional wholesale, Brands & Manufacturers have sales reps (Feet on Street) to get orders from wholesale customers which is harder to scale and cost-inefficient, leading to limited business growth and distribution whitespaces.
Every time I asked why things were done this way, I heard something along the lines of “It’s been this way for a long time. It's just how it is.” I thought: screw that. We can do better. I already saw B2B eCommerce marketplace success with retailers in LockTheDeal so why not share learning and help brands, manufacturers & distributors digitise their wholesale distribution which led to creation of Edistera.
When I began work on Edistera, I wanted to re-envision wholesale commerce, enabling enterprises to start their wholesale business online within hours not months like Shopify has done for D2C. I was focused on solving the problem, without really thinking about why the problem existed. Why had so many other industries escaped the world of order forms, phone calls, and sales reps but retail distribution is still stuck in the dark ages? Then it dawned on me when I started talking to brands, distributors and retailers while surveying for Edistera. It is about relationships. It is about seeing a familiar retailer at a store and talking excitedly about new products. It is about shaking hands at the end of the appointment and knowing that you have placed the right product for that store.
So I understood that B2B commerce is very different from B2C. It is complex and it is about relationships. eCommerce in wholesale can only work when it can provide omni-channel buying experience for customers both online and in-person. This was further amplified when I came across this article by McKinsey.
With a digitally enabled wholesale ordering process, enterprises can now easily build and scale their wholesale business. Edistera’s B2B Commerce Cloud streamlines the order capture process for both sales reps and customers helping enterprises have more sales, more customers, faster fulfilment, low operational cost and freeing up sales rep’s time to focus on customer expansion. We have solutions for both for customer and sales reps:
B2B buyers are now looking for a mobile ordering app from their suppliers. You cannot wait around for these buyers to come to you, so you must meet them where they’re at—on their smartphones. For the buyer, mobile ordering is convenient, but it is also more efficient because they do not have to carve time out from their busy day to order from you. Instead, they can quickly access your B2B eCommerce mobile app, scan products and draft orders as they walk around the sales floor, throughout the day.
Edistera Direct is a fully customisable B2B eCommerce mobile app that provides the modern online ordering experience they’re used to in their consumer lives.
Just like your buyers, sales reps also need a mobile solution to boost their productivity in the field. When your sales reps are onsite with customers, they should be able to draft orders, browse products, and check inventory information with ease, all on their mobile devices. Since each wholesale customer is unique, your sales reps will need to be able to navigate between customers in the app to view the products, pricing and promotions that are meant specifically for them. With increased efficiency, and improved bandwidth from not having to spend most of their working day placing orders for existing customers, sales reps can focus on tasks related to business growth by onboarding new customers at a faster rate than before.
Edistera Rep is an easy-to-use sales CRM mobile app for your sales reps to write orders and access a digital catalog, inventory, and order history on the go.
This is just the start, much more will follow. Unshackling brands and retailers from the mountains of paper and data-entry drudgery that we had been told we had to accept, and allowing their best people to focus on selling, educating and providing great customer service. We know this will be a long journey and we are excited to share our learning and thinking as we make progress.
Today, we are starting to accept enterprises to our private beta B2B Commerce Cloud. We are already working with few customers. If you are interested in joining early and influencing the direction of Edistera, sign up here and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn.