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Wholesale and Retail Trade
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Companies in the wholesale and retail trade industry face multiple micro- and macro-economic pressures, including unpredictable consumer behavior; fluctuations in demand; heavy competition; and local, national, and international regulatory compliance issues. These companies have also seen increases in business costs, ranging from transportation and delivery to the necessity of managing a large number of remote divisions.
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Along with this, wholesale and retail trade businesses of all sizes—from small corner stores to global multinational retail chains—face the following industry-specific challenges:
  • Creating an efficient supply chain. This includes minimizing delivery time, optimizing transportation routes, tracking goods and products online, and managing inventory effectively, which results in reduced transportation and storage costs, and better response to rapidly changing customer demand.
  • Responding to the increased popularity and availability of Internet-based trade. As a greater variety of goods becomes available to a larger number of consumers online, retailers are investing in the development and maintenance of Web stores. However, the security of online payment methods continues to be a notable deterrent to e-commerce.
  • Responding adequately to consumer anxiety over ingredients contained in the products they use or consume. Consumers are requesting more transparency throughout the supply chain—from growing to distribution of goods.
  • Supporting complex and diversified pricing schemes. These schemes must allow for different base prices, discount rates, promotion actions, marketing campaigns, time-based sales, etc., to stimulate sales.
  • Retaining personnel. High turnover is a constant challenge for companies in the retail and wholesale trade—many businesses develop incentive programs designed to increase employee loyalty.
  • Preventing theft and loss. Retailers must still commit significant human and financial resources to preventing shoplifting, theft, and fraud. They must also commit additional resources to protecting customers’ personal and credit card information.
  • Growing the business. Economic and market pressures are forcing retail and wholesale companies to develop expansion strategies that include market estimation and plans for entering the market. Those plans, in turn, require that companies create and implement successful management, supply chain, and marketing paradigms.
There are a variety of software solutions on the market—many with industry-specific functionality—that can help wholesale and retail businesses overcome the challenges mentioned above. These solutions include
  • enterprise resource planning for distribution (ERP for distribution) systems;
  • supply chain management (SCM) systems, including demand management functionality and radio frequency identification (RFID);
  • merchandising management; and
  • point-of-sale (POS) solutions for retailers.

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