Welcome back to the fourth blog in our five-part series starring Alternative Apparel’s CEO, Evan Toporek! NuORDER’s CEO, Heath Wells, had the chance to (virtually) sit down with Evan and discuss sales strategy, how the retail industry is changing, inside sales as a big growth area, the importance of going digital, and strategies for successfully running an apparel brand.
To refresh your memory, in our first blog post Heath and Evan discuss sales planning, forecasting, tracking and growth in retail. In our second blog post, they speak about what’s going on in retail today, how brands can deliver growth, and insight on trade shows. And in our third blog post, Heath and Evan chat about the importance of inside sales and the key qualities of a strong sales leader.
In this post, Heath and Evan talk about the importance of technology and how going digital will make your wholesale more successful all around.
Streamline Your Systems
Heath: Being a digital catalogue for the wholesale space, one of the big things we see here is that the data and inventory quality being fed into our system by brands is sometimes questionable - and I'm being very nice here. You guys, however, just seem to have your systems right, you seem to have product data right, and inventory is correct going into our system. That's a stark contrast to companies that are even bigger than Alternative Apparel, many times bigger in fact, and they just can't seem to get that right. So what are you doing to change that and what's the advice?
Evan: Well, we put a lot of money into an ERP system, which is the big hog that's here. Now in your system and many others that sit around it, those are the flexible systems, the dynamic systems, the better user experiences, but our ERP system is one version of the truth. In any system, be it freight or digital sales tools like yours, or ClickView which is a great analytical tool, Magenta our E-commerce tool, our PLM, they all work together.
Offer One Source of Truth
Heath: Right, one version of truth is crucial when there are so many moving parts to your business. From the product warehouse to in-store, there’s a lot of people in between that need to have accurate data and insight, and access to it in real-time.
Evan: Exactly and all of those do a great job of reading from the engine, the central data but one thing everybody has to do is get one version of the truth. If you start building a business off spreadsheets and multiple databases you're never going to be in sync.
"One thing that everybody has to do is get one version of truth."
Make Your Customers Happy
Heath: Speaking of being in sync, giving your customers accurate information when they need it is crucial. Obviously you know backordering is a huge issue within the industry and probably one of the most frustrating things for customers.
Evan: Yes. That ATS, that available to sell, is critical to your sales team and to your customer. And if they sit there and it looks like you've got inventory and then you have to deliver new because you never had it, it's just a poor experience. I think customers are looking for great product, but they're also looking for real partnership and your investment in the information side of your business is just as important as the investment in the brand and marketing in product side.”
"I think customers are looking for a great product, but they're also looking for a real partnership."
Want more insight from Heath and Evan? Check out next week’s blog post when they discuss strategies and tips behind running a successful business.