New online platform targets wholesalers

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  Posted by: electime      21st February 2019

A NEW wholesale online ordering platform for foodservice wholesalers – with no capital set-up costs – has been launched by a Fife-based e-commerce company.

Industry stalwart Jason Finch has established 443 AI to deliver what he describes as a “truly accessible wholesale online platform”.

“With the wholesale industry evolving and customers’ needs changing it is important for companies to have an effective online platform that operators can use to engage with their customers and drive sales,” said Finch.

“Wholesalers not prepared to embrace the online opportunity know that they will be left behind but for many the capital cost of set-up is the biggest barrier – and that is why we’ve created a financial programme that strips out that initial outlay.”

Typical set-up costs for an online platform run to tens of thousands of pounds but Finch has built a grant programme that will write off those costs for all but the largest wholesalers.

Set-up includes integration with the wholesaler ERP (enterprise resource planning) to automate order entry, stock check, pricing etc, enabling wholesalers to have a live bespoke online ordering platform in weeks.

“Online sales to wholesale customers have so far largely involved trying to make retail online platforms work in a wholesale market,” explained Finch, managing director of 443 AI. “Products like Magento and Shopify can be spectacular retail platforms, but users can find it hard to turn these into efficient platforms that work in the wholesale environment.”

443 AI’s platform allows wholesalers to take advantage of:

  • Bespoke pricing
  • Pricing tiers/levels
  • Supplier advertising (tailored to user activity)
  • Enhanced search (using Artificial Intelligence)
  • Customer order approval (basket built by staff and then approved by senior staff)
  • All screen sizes (from smartphone to huge screen)
  • Long lived customer baskets (build order over time)
  • Insights to customer behaviour to drive sales
  • Integration to ERP (for order processing and stock control)

“Wholesale is fundamentally different to retail in many ways and our platform recognises those differences,” said Finch.

Finch, who helped Palmer & Harvey process hundreds of millions in sales with his previous company Port80, said that while 443 AI was initially targeting foodservice wholesalers, the grant programme and online ordering platform could be tailored to any sector – electrical, plumbing, kitchens or beauty supplies, for example.