Can you use eCommerce to make franchise vendor management easier?

Every franchise or multi-location retailer relies on vendors. The suppliers of everything from paper and office supplies, to janitorial and sanitation materials, to pepperoni and sauce are an integral part of business operations for these types of businesses.

And when it comes to vendor management, Vendor Relations Managers and Purchasing Directors at franchises and multi-location retailers have the tough job of acting as the middleman between the two sides of the equation.

Vendor Relations Managers and Purchasing Directors need to manage both the supply side and the buyer side to make sure that all parties are getting what they need from the business relationship.

  • The vendors need to be able to get their most up-to-date product catalogs in front of the franchise and retail locations in their territory.
  • The franchisee and retail location staff need an easy way to order and reorder all of the supplies they need to run their business.
  • The Vendor Relations Manager and/or Purchasing Director needs an easy way to facilitate this relationship.

Many franchises and chains are turning to B2B eCommerce to create their own eCommerce marketplace and more easily manage their supply chain operations.

An online marketplace is a type of eCommerce experience where product or service information is provided by multiple third parties or vendors, and where transactions are processed by the marketplace operator. With an online marketplace, buyers’ transactions are processed by the marketplace operator and then delivered and fulfilled by the participating retailers and wholesalers (often called drop shipping).

Creating an online marketplace streamlines the internal supply chain and creates efficiencies for each part of the franchise ecosystem – vendors, franchisee and retail locations, and Vendor Relations Managers and/or Purchasing Directors.  

5 ways B2B eCommerce makes franchise vendor management easier:

  • Supplier catalog management – Franchises or chains that have an online eMarketplace can empower Suppliers to manage their product catalogs themselves. Suppliers are given a specialized interface where they can upload products and assign availability based on geography, for example. This takes the burden of product management off of the Vendor Relations staff. However, they can still decide that they want control over things like product pricing and decide to eliminate suppliers’ permissions to manage pricing.
  • Automated supplier fulfillment rules – One of the most powerful features of B2B eCommerce is the ability to set up rules. Vendor Relations Managers can set up supplier fulfillment rules such as order minimum amounts, order cut-off times, and order notifications by the supplier. This automates supplier-specific notifications to the franchises or chains, so their expectations are set as they purchase items from each supplier.
  • Assign vendors to franchises based on geography – A Vendor Relations Manager or Purchasing Director can assign vendors to franchises based on location. A franchise over in Europe, for example, doesn’t need access to a US-based vendor’s catalog if that vendor isn’t willing to ship abroad.
  • Consolidated billing – Franchises can manage payments and billing in one place, instead of working with various vendors directly – and payments can be tracked between parties.
  • Franchise communications – An online eMarketplace can also be used as a communication vehicle. When all franchisees are using the same system, it becomes a great place to communicate important information like new promotions or offers, new marketing campaigns, or changes to vendors. Additionally, the franchise is often able to collect better data about the franchisees and use that for marketing and upselling via email.  

B2B eCommerce allows Vendor Relations Managers and Purchasing Directors to manage the complexities of the buyer and supplier side of franchise supply chains. This frees up time for them to spend on value-adding tasks like price negotiation, vendor relationship management, data analysis, and strategy development. It also creates a more modern ordering experience for franchisees, offering more value to them as an important aspect of your business.

Can you use eCommerce to make franchise vendor management easier?

eCommerce franchise vendor management

If you can’t imagine doing something like this, it’s time to rethink your approach to eCommerce. Your eCommerce or order management platform should not limit possibilities when it comes to ways to create operational efficiencies and to improve your bottom line. A headless, API-first eCommerce platform makes both a completely custom front-end and a strong, secure back-end your reality. And a team with 20 years of experience dedicated to your success almost guarantees game-changing results.

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