Are you looking to launch an e-commerce business? It may seem like there are a lot of hurdles to jump – because there are – but it doesn’t have to be too complicated. Aside from finding a developer to help build a killer website that is fully optimized and user friendly, you’re going to need products. Yes, product procurement is in your future but it shouldn’t be daunting. A lot of merchants don’t utilize e-catalogs to broadcast their products which makes your life more difficult as you try to seek out the right distributors for the right price. Once you find a suitable vendor it’s time you use catalog management software to keep track of all your product procurements.
Finding a Supplier
Let’s say you are starting a mushroom growing business and you need to obtain some semi-obscure lab equipment like centrifuge containers, sealed glass vials with a port and Pyrex petri dishes. Now you can easily type these keywords into your preferred search engine to start navigating through merchants to find a good deal – or can you? You may find that typing in “sealed glass vials with a port bulk” leads you to one of two places: nowhere, or maybe a not-so-trustworthy site somewhere foreign.
A golden tip for locating the bulk goods you need for your shop: Order samples. Search for a product on Amazon or Ebay and order a sample from a vendor who already procured the product from the mystery merchant. Once you receive the item take a look at the label on the product to gather more information about where it originated i.e. the merchant. This may be a round-a-bout way to find a viable vendor – but it works! With strict labeling requirements worldwide you’re bound to luck out this way. Equipped with the brand name you can hunt down the contact information and start your product procurement process.
Be ready to “prove” yourself to the merchant. A lot of these companies want to work only with established businesses which creates obvious issues if you’re trying to start out.
Catalog Management Software
Now that you’ve located a company you’re comfortable working with it’s time to order products and then catalog them. Catalog management software like Fresh Service, Zycus and Deem cater their digital catalog software towards product procurement for businesses. So, why should you use such a thing?
Central records. it makes keeping track of your preferred vendors a heck of a lot easier than trying to dig up receipts or emails with vendor names and information. Having a centralized database dedicated to the merchants you order from, how often you order, what you order (including product numbers), what the prices are and other pertinent details will streamline your purchasing efforts.
Control spending. Keep track of your money. A purchasing manager and their employees are able to spend at will. Maintaining a catalog for vendors will allow you to designate access only to those employees you trust to make purchases. This will be a great asset in forcing company-wide compliance, too.
Direct link to vendor. Should your preferred merchant have a digital B2B catalog of their own, you can directly link to it within your very own product catalog. This is called a PunchOut catalog site. No more having to enter long product numbers and hoping you ordered the right item. Go directly through your product procurement catalog to order from the vendor. Payment information is already integrated making this process seamless and effective.
Features of Catalog Management Software
Not all catalog management software services are made equal. Make sure you choose to work with a catalog provider that offers at least some basic features that will simplify and accelerate the purchasing process for your business.
Flexibility. Manage as many vendors as you need to with flexible and scalable catalogs.
Notifications. Let employees know that their purchase is approved without miscommunication or delay.
Auto-classification. Cut down on the filler work like classifying vendors and products with a smart catalog management software option.
End-to-end life cycle. Approve, update, change and remove any item, any vendor, at any time in the procurement life cycle.
Third-party integration. Integrate your Catalog management software with pre-existing business solutions like ERP and accounting services for a streamlined approach to e-commerce.
Product procurement catalogs are important, but so are product catalogs for B2C business. See which e-catalog software may suit you best.