Hello Drinks: why inventory management is key to a successful omni channel strategy
Hello Drinks: A distributor with an eye for original drink brand
Interview with Gabin QUAAK
Passionate about the food industry from a very young age and first and foremost an entrepreneur, Gabin set up Hello Drinks in France on the conviction that the drinks industry needed more original alternatives for customers seeking a new way of enjoying drinks
Organic drinks or eco-responsible drinks, produced from quality products.
Restaurants, hotels, event management companies, local supermarkets.
E-commerce shop and local sales team.
His GoalTo succeed in diversifying the B2B sales channels by automating processes and centralizing stock.
Partnering withThe winning trio of - Shopify for B2B e-commerce, Erplain for inventory management and sales and QuickBooks for tax management and customer payment reminders.
Amazing mixes, mind-blowing cocktails, teas or original fruit juice flavors, lemonades, craft beers - simply enjoy an indulgent break with drinks from Hello Drinks.
Apart from these charming and original products, Hello Drinks does business in a highly-competitive environment where responsiveness and efficiency make all the difference..
1. The challenges in diversifying sales channels
Gabin set up a Shopify website in 2017 as an online shop window for his products. In those days, neither orders nor payments could be made online, something which has completely changed since then.
So, today, with his e-commerce site, Hello Drinks can sell its drinks all across France with a much smaller sales team. Customers outside Paris can submit their orders through the website, whereas for Paris and the surrounding area, the sales reps meet customers directly.
The advantage of meeting customers is that they are able to taste the drinks for themselves which greatly helps their decision making. Currently, the main purchase channel for Hello Drinks is direct sales. The purpose of the website is to promote the products and their features, much like a catalog updated in real time. It can also be used for communication updates, like new product launches. Finally, suppliers, word of mouth and social media channels also help bring in new customers.
“Managing several different sales channels leaves room for errors. I really needed to centralize my inventory and my data to avoid, for example, duplicate orders submitted by the sales reps and directly by the customers on the website. Integrating Erplain and Shopify allows me to easily manage orders from online sales, but also to manage sales orders from sales reps in real time! Moreover, products and customers are automatically updated in both systems. ”
Despite all of this, with the COVID health crisis, Gabin had to reduce staff numbers and so the myriad of daily tasks quickly became difficult for his small team to manage.
“I was definitely convinced about integrating both platforms when I found out that my Shopify orders came directly through to Erplain. Not only am I avoiding any mistakes, but I am also saving time. ”
2. How to deal with the issue of restocking
A key challenge for a distributor like Hello Drinks is not just restocking its customers but its suppliers’ restocking as well. Lead times need to be shortened. For this, the sale needs to be processed as fast as possible, as soon as the order is taken. The sales cycle has to be fast so that the preparation and delivery of orders is error free and as quick as possible.
“The comprehensive features of Erplain’s inventory management positively influenced my choice. Stock is a sensitive topic in our business and can very quickly lead to major financial losses. ”
And stock-outs must be avoided at all cost! Gabin chose to use mainly Local suppliers, even though they are often less competitive than foreign suppliers. As margins are lower, this implies closer monitoring of purchase costs and resale costs.
“The reorder threshold alerts became an essential feature. Before Erplain, I used to work with several software programs, but because they didn’t have this feature I just couldn't continue using them anymore. ”
3. Reasons to add QuickBooks to Shopify and Erplain
The Hello Drinks business generates a lot of monthly invoices. Although volumes are high, this does not necessarily mean high-value shopping carts. It makes for more complex accounting work. Our Company's accountant was worried because of the monthly workload with tax declarations.
“By combining QuickBooks with Erplain, my accountant can easily recover taxes and import them into his accounting tool. What’s more, I can now automate customer payment reminders and track payment transactions.”
4. Motivations for choosing Erplain
The Erplain online platform offers a number of inventory management features, which is critical for Hello Drinks’ business. Gabin is delighted with the solution for his business and even managed to introduce a few changes.
For example, he uses the seasonality field to identify his transport providers as well as extract monthly statistics per individual provider.
“More specialized solutions would cost me in excess of €4000 annually. I also prefer clear, easy-to-read platforms. There are still too many old-fashioned solutions out there! ”
- Creating different price levels depending on the type of client or method of purchase.
- Creating packs for drinks sold in different box quantities
Hello Drinks’ TOP 5 essential features
1. Triple integration (learn more):
- Erplain for the centralization of stock and orders
- QuickBooks for financials (tax and client payment reminders)
- Shopify for the online shop window and e-commerce orders
2. Automation of the sales process: Sales Orders > Shipping Orders > Invoices
3. Reorder points and alerts
4. Price levels by client type
5. Product packs