Pure Commerce share four secrets that helped their clients achieve record growth in tough market conditions

  1. DEAR isn’t just for sorting your inventory or modernizing your business: it helps you keep your approach flexible

  2. You can afford your own, fully-customized, fully-integrated ERP (if it’s DEAR)

  3. Any product business can benefit from DEAR

  4. A great implementation partner will let you outsource the back-office

“We actually started out as a DEAR customer,” says Filipe Nicolau, owner and founder of Pure Commerce. “We were responsible for changing the entire inventory management process for a clothing company and taking the business online — and DEAR was the go-to choice of ERP. We took that knowledge, and started a business around eCommerce inventory management systems and ERPs, and DEAR was a natural fit.”

Pure Commerce is a DEAR implementation partner and digital agency that specialize in solutions for eCommerce businesses. Filipe has been helping businesses both large and small implement DEAR for a long time now, and he’s happy to recommend the software to product businesses of all kinds.

“DEAR is a.) user friendly and b.) well plugged into eCommerce titans like Shopify,” Filipe says. “Compared to competitors, it’s a tenth of the price, and yet it does everything you need it to do.”

No matter how big your company gets, DEAR can scale to meet your needs.

Clients range from blue-chip companies in South Africa that are running giant warehouses and massive eCommerce stores, to mid-market businesses with five or six shops, all the way to people with just one or sometimes no store,” Filipe says. What they all have in common is they need a proper system to function like an ERP and manage inventory for their eCommerce sites.

“Because of DEAR’s price tiers, the smaller businesses can purchase it just as easily as the blue-chip companies. It’s accessible to all our customers. And no matter what we throw at DEAR, it just keeps being able to do it.”

Any product business can benefit from DEAR

The industry you’re in, says Pure Commerce, doesn’t matter too much: so long as your business is moving product, it can benefit from DEAR.

“We’ve got clients in the clothing sector, in manufacturing, in pottery, in health and wellness — all running DEAR.”

The first benefit of DEAR for many customers is simply being able to tell where all their inventory is. But once that’s established, customers find their other requirements or pain points are taken care of as well.

“When we first started, we used DEAR just to run a warehouse — purely ERP, stock management, goods in and goods out. Not even for financials, just to track stock. That was it,” Filipe says. “But with our business expertise and the functionality offered by DEAR, we can create any system a customer requires.”

Customers find DEAR helpful for syncing inventory through to finances, using programs like QuickBooks Online or Xero, and adding inventory capability to eCommerce platforms like Shopify. They use it for manufacturing, retail Point of Sale (POS) and expanding sales channels, making it easy to add a D2C channel to a B2B business, or vice versa.

“DEAR’s B2B portal is, for a lot of our customers, something they find themselves wanting to add, and it’s super easy to implement,” Filipe says.

Pure Commerce tends to stay away from the accounting and bookkeeping side of things. Their job is to make sure the business elements are all connected up, and they make sure their customers are connected with great accounting teams who know how to make inventory systems work well with financial systems of record.

Get an implementation partner that allows you to outsource the back-office

“A lot of our customers come to us saying they don’t know where to start. They’re starting a business from scratch. Well, we’ve done that ourselves! So we give them a full implementation, top to bottom, and in a lot of cases, it’s really saved their bacon. One client was a clothing company — we helped them get online, and they’re now running an online store and just launching their third physical store.”

For these companies, Pure Commerce functions essentially as an outsourced back office.

“We act as their support team for all things, not only eCommerce, but everything related to DEAR, to the operational side of the business. We’re their go-to.”

Pure Commerce have had great successes among their clients, with a number taken from operating entirely using pen-and-paper to DEAR Systems, using a full modern ERP and software app stack.

“We’ve had companies who were in the dark ages. Now they’re walking around with tablets managing production lines and things like that,” Filipe says.

Other success stories include a blue-chip company that started 2019 with barely any online presence and thousands of physical stores — and we all know what happened next. The Covid-19 pandemic hit, the company was forced to close all its stores.

“We had the CEO call and say ‘Listen, you need to save our bacon. We need to be fully online in a minimum of four months,’” Filipe says. “We launched them all online with one DEAR ERP and stock management system. There’s a massive warehouse in Cape Town, five stories high, that’s running all the company’s brands, all on DEAR. DEAR is keeping track of everything and feeding each brand’s website with inventory information.”

The changes Pure Commerce and DEAR have brought have had huge effects on the company. “It’s definitely changed their lives. They’ve never looked back — they’re pumping out products online and they’re growing day by day,” Filipe says.

DEAR offers incredible opportunities for new directions — for both product companies and their advisors

A lot of consulting companies would be thrilled to find themselves in the same position as Pure Commerce. They have a steady business and happy clients, and over the period of turmoil wrought by Covid-19 they’ve found themselves busier than ever. But they’re not stopping there. Their experience with DEAR means they can now branch out in exciting new directions, quite different to what you’d normally expect from a self-described “outsourced back-office.”

“Last year we used DEAR to launch our own Pure Commerce third-party logistics warehouse,” Filipe says. “A lot of clients don’t have warehousing, so we offer the ability to keep their stock in ours. We have our own DEAR account, which plugs into the client’s Shopify sites, and we pull the orders through to the warehouse. We pick, pack and ship on their behalf.”

All this activity is supporting the growth of Pure Commerce’s clients, as well as Pure Commerce itself. In the last three years, they’ve quadrupled their business. “And it’s primarily due to lockdown, to the pandemic. Everyone has realized that they need to be online,” Filipe says.

You can afford your own custom ERP — if it’s DEAR

Pure Commerce says that any product company can benefit from the features DEAR offers, but the features aren’t the only factor that decision-makers weigh up when considering an inventory management system. The price is also hugely important — but here, too, DEAR is beating the competition.

“The value for money you get from DEAR is amazing. You can get a B2B portal, you can run your POS, your sales channels, integrate into Amazon or pretty much anything else, integrate your accounting systems,” Filipe says.

“It’s a cost-effective system, a one-stop shop that gives customers an ERP and that allows Experts to solve pretty much all your customers’ problems with one system. The unique thing about DEAR is it can be for selling anything — from potatoes, to clothing, to pottery. That’s why it appeals to such a wide range of implementation partners and customers.”

About Pure Commerce

Pure Commerce is a DEAR implementation partner and digital agency that specialize in solutions for eCommerce businesses. Here, they explain how product companies can benefit from implementing DEAR — and the right implementation partner.

About Cin7 Experts

Cin7 Experts experienced with DEAR are an essential part of the Cin7 inventory management community. No matter what kind of product business you’re running, where you’re located, or what you’re trying to achieve, there’s a Cin7 Expert on DEAR who can help you achieve your ambition while saving your money and time.

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!

Posted in B2B