Would you send a customer home for 48 hours?

One of my suppliers does.

See, 3 of the material suppliers to my wholesale business have online ordering.

One of them, naturally the one I use the most, is the one that I had never used online.

Sooo, when I got in a pinch for some supplies a few weeks ago, I figured that ordering online would be faster. Plus, it was after their normal business hours – the perfect time to make sure my order would be in the pipeline first thing in the morning…

Think again.


Turned out they didn’t bother putting a merchant account in the online store. And it gets worse.
Turned out they don’t process online orders in the same process as phone orders. In fact, the web store warns that your wholesale order must be reviewed and this will take 48 hours….then someone will call you back to get your payment info, confirm the order, etc. Bleah.

Uh, if I still have to get a phone call, and I still have to confirm and offer payment info over the phone – exactly WHAT am I gaining from this online store?

Zilch. Zippo. Nada. Squat. Yeah, I think that’s clear enough:)

When someone walks in the front door, you don’t tell them to pick out what they want, and then go home so you can call them in 48 hours. Why would you do that to a customer on the web?

Seems to me that most wholesale orders are going to be larger and more frequent than retail orders. Why would you want to put a roadblock in the middle of the road in front of this kind of customer? I can’t think of a good reason.

Odd thing is, this business gets a lot of other things right – other than running out of one particular bulk ingredient now and then. Yet they totally butcher the web store thing.

One of my other suppliers goes so far as to offer their wholesale purchasers a 3% discount, another one offers an online discount that gets larger as your order gets larger.

SMART.

Why? Because their management knows that an online order keeps their sales staff available to take ANOTHER sales call – while still taking the online order. See, online ordering isn’t supposed to replace those phone people. It’s supposed to supplement them, so your staff can take better care of the orders that require a phone call – while not making the other folks wait. Seems simple, but it’s happening right here in 2007.

Don’t make me leave your store and wait for 48 hours. Take my money now. You are in sales, right?