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Supercharging your B2B wholesale coffee business in 2021

There are only a few different ways that coffee roasteries can manage their B2B wholesale businesses. All of these methods involve the same basic workflows: create your offering list, communicate it to your customers, receive their orders, calculate your needed coffee, schedule your production and ship the product. Depending on your workflows and if you are using an eCommerce site, each of these steps can take different amounts of time and require different amounts of effort. Below we review the pros and cons of each of the methods used today and talk about what Cropster is doing to help roasters deliver an exceptional wholesale experience for customers and reduce their current workload.

Let’s start with the most common method used today:
 

Wholesale coffee orders via phone call/email/text

Surprisingly or not, most roasteries today utilize their phone/email as the main method of handling business with their wholesale customers.  For many, this was the most sensible way to get in touch with their very first restaurants, stores, businesses, etc.  Those early B2B clients end up being the ones you develop the closest relationships with, and the personal touch of a text message relationship in the beginning feels like the right thing to do.

These orders then get re-entered to a spreadsheet where the production manager will prioritize the orders and then complete all necessary production calculations to figure out how much green and roasted coffee is needed.

Pros

  • Your customers are used to reaching you this way
  • As a supplier you set a schedule for follow up calls
  • Easy system for customers as you do all the work


Cons

  • Easy to miss orders via emails and phone notifications
  • Time consuming to reach customers and make schedules manually
  • Difficult to adjust to last minute or changing orders
  • Harder to scale and reach a broader customer base


Wholesale coffee orders via eCommerce (online shop solutions)

eCommerce is certainly not rare in specialty coffee for retail but it has had an understandably slow start for wholesale.  Some popular eCommerce platforms do offer wholesale tools for B2B customers but, they quickly get expensive (one of the more popular retail online shops offers a  wholesale option that starts at $2000 USD / month).  This price is unrealistic for the vast majority of roasteries. There are less expensive options, but they all come with drawbacks. Either they are not tuned to the needs of a coffee business, or they require extensive configuration and maintenance.  Ultimately, all of these solutions only  focus on only one part of the wholesale challenge. They present a static list of the coffee needed to fulfill the orders placed. Once you’ve got the orders, you’re still left with lots of work to do. Consolidating and scheduling take time and require checks and re-checks. So what does a partial wholesale solution like these get you? There are pros and cons

Pros

  • View orders from anywhere and have centralized list
  • Ease of access/discoverable for new customers. 
  • You don’t need to assist the order process
  • Integrate with software like Shipstation or UPS
  • Shipping labels, order fulfilment, customer communication etc.
  • Integrate with accounting software like Quickbooks or Zero
  • Track money in and expenditures out

Cons

  • Manual calculation of batches/blends still required
  • Schedule lives in a spreadsheet or a static piece of paper
  • Not integrated with roasting process or software
  • Not integrated with green or roasted inventory
  • No real-time online production progress updates


Cropster eCommerce (integrated wholesale, retail and production) solutions 

For many years now Cropster has been as the industry leader in roast profiling, inventory management, production scheduling, and quality control but we’ve been missing a key component of the roaster’s life - wholesale. That’s why we did our homework determined to provide a complete solution that brings roasters a simple tool that delivers all of the pros and solves all of the cons of existing solutions.  

Cropster eCommerce gives your wholesale/B2B clients the ability to log-in to their ordering portal, have access to their unique offerings and order what they need.  The “pros” don’t stop there.  Instead of these orders then needing to be translated to a spreadsheet and then sorted through and calculated, they get imported DIRECTLY into your Cropster account where our scheduler tool will do all the work for you.  There are even more “pros”: After your production has been calculated and scheduled, this list then gets assigned and sent directly to the roast machine via the Roasting Intelligence software.  As the roaster completes each batch this will update the scheduling tool for anybody to keep up to date with who has a smartphone in their hand.  Need to make mid-day changes? Cropster makes it easy!  Send updates to the schedule and make these last-minute moments easy.

So to review, here’s a review of the pro’s and con’s of the new Cropster eCommerce solution:

Pros:

  • View orders from anywhere and have centralized list
  • Ease of access/discoverable for new customers. 
  • You don’t need to assist the order process
  • Integrate with softwares like Shipstation or UPS
  • Built in shipping labels, order fulfilment, customer communication etc.
  • Integrates with accounting softwares like Quickbooks or Zero
  • Tracks money in and expenditures out
  • Automatic calculation of batches/blends done for you 
  • Order consolidation and scheduling fully integrated across your entire business
  • Full integration with roasting process or software
  • Full integration with green or roasted inventory
  • Real-time online production progress updates

Cons:

  • You’re not using it yet, saving time and giving customers easy and customized access to your products at an affordable price.

Ready to get started? For more information about Cropster eCommerce solutions just get in touch! We’re here to help and are happy to give you a personalized demo.
 

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