‘It’s time to digitise the wholesale sector’

We caught up with Orderlion’s CEO Stefan Strohmer (above left, with CTO Patrick Schubert) to find out how its technology is saving wholesalers valuable time and improving margins

How has 2022 been for Orderlion?

The last two years have been challenging for the food and beverage industry, seeing the number of closed businesses increasing by 15-20%. This trend was also felt by us and our customers. Needless to say, it is especially important in times like these to evaluate and see how one can improve their operations and try to be more cost-effective. Luckily, we are in the business of doing exactly that – helping wholesalers and suppliers to unlock efficiencies and improve their margins through the implementation of digital solutions. Accordingly, we were able to grow as a company on the back of the current difficult market conditions, empowering many businesses with our software platform.

In the UK alone, we tripled the number of our clients in the past 12 months. Another milestone this year was the successful funding of $4 million we received from existing and new investors.

So how can you help wholesalers? What obstacles do you help them to overcome?

Many wholesalers face the challenge of constant price rises without having many opportunities to reduce internal costs, while also often being understaffed. Our eCommerce Operating System allows wholesalers to fully automate their complete order management by launching their own webshop and ordering app. Our software seamlessly integrates with their existing ERP system and helps wholesalers to upsell existing customers through automatic push notifications such as order reminders and product promotions. Our solution also facilitates the handling of payments and improves customer service via a built-in chat function. All of this helps our clients to save time, reduce their order processing costs by an average of 95%, avoid unnecessary food loss along the supply chain and increase their revenues by up to 35%.

Are there benefits for suppliers to use your services too?

Suppliers can make their client-facing operations more scalable and sustainable too. Orderlion was developed based on the long-standing experience of our company’s founding team who have consulted suppliers from a large international scale all the way to regional wholesalers regarding their specific challenges. With our company’s expertise and focus on B2B client relationships and operational processes within the food and drinks industry, Orderlion is offering suppliers a software solution that is fit for purpose instead of generic.

What are your big plans for 2023?

With the current market outlook posing a challenge for the near future, we will continue to advocate for the much-needed digitization of the wholesale sector. It is our mission to help wholesalers and suppliers with their daily business as best as possible without forcing them to fundamentally change their processes. Our technology is uniquely positioned for this, serving a growing customer base with functions that no off-the-shelf solution can offer. We want to solidify our market-leading position and plan to invest up to £2m in the UK over the next two years, doubling down on our ongoing expansion.

What unique insights did you receive from your existing partners in 2022?

This last year was by no means a straightforward one for any wholesaler or anybody working in the industry. However, we like to focus on the positive and the challenges that we helped our partners to overcome, which are three main areas of improvement: staff management; customer satisfaction; and increasing sales. There is a growing need to use existing human resources more efficiently and reducing the time spent on order management is a big factor. At the same time, customers expect a smooth communication with their wholesalers, which outdated tools and processes cannot provide any longer.

Ensuring steady revenues with a small salesforce can also only be achieved by leveraging the right tools. All in all, the wholesalers we work with agree that scaling your business can be best achieved through the implementation of affordable digital solutions that enhance their daily operations.

Do you have any exciting partnerships coming up?

Yes, we are extremely excited to have our first FWD member signing with us. We believe 2023 will be an exciting year with many successful testimonials of existing and future partnerships. We are excited to see everyone again at the FWD Live as a sponsor and we would really like to encourage wholesalers and anyone interested to make contact with us.

digital ecommerce FWD members Orderlion