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faster, fresher flowers:
Here's why you should digitize your ordering process69 percent of U.S. consumers are planning to give their mothers a bouquet of flowers for Mother's Day, according to the National Retail Federation — spending an estimated $2.6 billion on the holiday. In order to enable consumers to surprise their moms with fresh flowers this Sunday (May 14), the products need to go from the farm to the retailer's shelf as fast as possible. In order to achieve this, digitizing the order process seems to be a good option. "It creates a better service and a better product", says Mike Elmgreen of Handshake, a B2B Commerce platform that helps to power the ordering process between suppliers, like growers, or wholesalers and business customers, typically retail stores.
Mother's Day is one of the busiest times of the year for the floral industry. "Retail stores want to respond quickly to their customers' demands, and want to be able to reorder fast and easily when products go out of stock. This is not the case when they use outdated ordering processes" explains Elmgreen.
According to Handshake, digitizing the ordering process can make the entire process much easier and faster, for the retailer, wholesaler, and grower. "Digitizing the ordering process reduces fulfilment times so the flowers can ultimately get to the shelf faster. On top of that, it also helps to eliminate costs associated with manual order entry and management." Elmgreen says a lot of errors that occur happen when someone is calling in an order. "Often times they are written down incorrectly or the handwriting is difficult to read. As a result, incorrect products are shipped to the store. This is huge, particularly in the flower business where the product is going back in a week or less, and they have to eat the cost."
That is very problematic for the supplier - grower or wholesaler - and the retailer for a number of reasons. "The first being, they don’t receive the right product they need and secondly, the product is perishable and therefore cannot be returned. This results in a bad customer experience. During busy times like Mother's Day, no one can risk making these mistakes."
"Sales representatives within the business used to focus on taking the orders and writing them down manually", explains Elmgreen. "Now they can focus on business development because their time is freed up. This demonstrates how B2B commerce technologies like Handshake’s help both margins and service." B2B commerce technologies also enables flower companies to automatically serve updated pricing to sales reps and customers. "Sales reps have more information on hand to present what's coming in the next season and what's coming in on the next boat from overseas, as most of the flowers are being imported", says Elmgreen. "They have the pricing and the customer order history and can make better recommendations along with pushing inventory."
Handshake offers a range of solutions that help the ordering process. "When a retailer runs out of stock, they can easily order new products and see all new products that are offered on the platform. The seller version is called Handshake Rep, an app that is used by sales representatives who are out on the road and typically have a catalogue or are using a pen and paper order form. This app enables them to easily pull up the customer information, see order history and write and order easily when they are with the customer."
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