By Andrew Dawson, MD of MACmobile
Bulk breakers are a mainstay of the South African retail market, acting as a bridge between wholesalers and small main market retailers. However, as they are typically traditional bricks and mortar stores, it is difficult to build any sort of customer profiling unless they have active loyalty programmes. This means that there is no insight or intelligence into the stock management process, which can be both costly and inefficient. Bringing an e-commerce experience to the bulk-breaking market can help deliver greater data intelligence for improved intelligence and actionable insight.
Stock management challenges
The role of the bulk breaker is essential in South Africa, but it is heavily reliant on in-person sales at physical stores, which presents several challenges. For those merchants purchasing from bulk-breaking retailers, there is often the issue of security around carrying large amounts of cash, and of transporting goods once they have been purchased. They may also be limited in their purchasing power by their cash flow availability.
For the bulk breakers themselves, it can be difficult to build an accurate profile of customers and buying patterns and trends unless there is an active and engaging loyalty programme in place. This means that there is often a lack of intelligence around stock management, which can prove to be costly. When the stocking of shelves is based on whim and guesswork, instead of basing it on actionable intelligence from actual sales data, there is a risk of both under- and over-stocking, both of which cost money.
E-commerce for the B2B market
Having access to real-time retail metrics such as stock levels, time on shelf and customer buying patterns, as well as analysis of this data, can help bulk breakers to develop intelligence around the data for better purchasing decisions. Through a mobile app and an e-commerce environment, bulk breakers will be able to leverage these metrics, as well as other benefits, such as the ability to accurately track and monitor sales for better customer profiling. In addition, insight into customer purchasing and the development of accurate profiles can be used to develop more effective discounting policies per region, per store and even per customer. This in turn can ensure that specific buying behaviour is encouraged.
An online retail environment through a mobile app means that products can be ordered and delivered, rather than main market retailers having to physically visit stores. In addition, it can also enable these retailers to take advantage of various payment options, including payment on delivery, different payment gateways and even short-term lending solutions, to remove the risk of cash from product transactions. By digitising the process through mobile-enabled e-commerce solutions, bulk breakers can leverage data for intelligence around customer profiling and thus more effective stock management and purchasing decisions.