Your company is doing gangbusters, but you feel like you could be doing more work with other businesses.
Unfortunately, they just don’t seem to be interested in using your online shopping cart to place their product orders and you’re stumped about what to do next. There’s an answer and it’s easier than you think. It’s called electronic data interchange, or EDI, and it’s the language of order processing for many medium- to large companies.
EDI Versus Shopping Carts
When your business customers place an order, they usually want items in bulk or need to streamline the process to save time.
eCommerce shopping carts are cumbersome when it comes to large orders, which is why companies often default to using EDI. There are many advantages to this system, including increased order security for both parties. Since you essentially connect to one another directly, there’s no worry that a third party has infiltrated any of the potentially confidential data, for example.
With well-trained EDI operators, the process is also dramatically faster than placing bulk orders using a shopping cart. Customers only need to enter the proper codes for the items they want to purchase, send the document to your computer system and the whole process is complete. Invoicing, order processing and payments can be handled automatically to eliminate the potential for human errors to occur. Large companies everywhere have been using these systems for years to increase the speed of business.
Getting Started with EDI
Installing an EDI system and training operators can be a costly venture, which is why many small businesses initially opt to secure orders in any other way.
But if you can maintain the inventory necessary to fulfill business-to-business orders, there’s no reason why you should delay implementing EDI any longer. Your business will benefit dramatically from the increased sales and new business partners.
Instead of looking for a system of your own, though, you may want to consider partnering with a 3PL that already has the service in place. Many will offer EDI services for a small fee in addition to your warehousing and distribution. If you’re looking for a new 3PL because you’ve outgrown your old one, this is a great time to ask about EDI, as well. After all, giving other businesses more ways to connect with you can only spell long-term growth.
EDI is the language of business to business orders, but it’s not as simple as installing a module on your website. You need specialized operators who can juggle the necessary communications to complete these transactions, but fortunately, many 3PLs have these assets on board already! EDI can not only speed up your order processing, but make it more accurate, saving you huge amounts of money over the long term.