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As alcohol distributors adjust operations and adopt touch-free delivery methods, are retailers prepared?

2020 has brought change to the way we do business, and one area that you can change for the better is your alcohol delivery process.  

Distributors from New York to Texas, California to Florida, and everywhere in between are adopting safer strategies to sell and deliver their products. Though the changes were undoubtedly spurred by the events of the last few months, it’s evident that the shift in operations to be healthier and more digital is here to stay. Recently,Fintech hosted a live panel webinar with four members of our distributor community: Steve Fleming, Vice President of Administration and Information at Ben E. Keith Beverages, Dave Stander, Chief Operating Officer at Columbia Distributing, Joe Cotroneo, Executive Vice President and General Manager at Crescent Crown Distributing, and Jim Gann, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Kentucky Eagle. During our discussion, we learned just how different operations may look moving forward and wondered – are our retailer partners ready? 

Online Ordering is the Way of the Future

One way your interactions with distributors may start to change is with your ordering process. Throughout our panel, distributors like Crescent Crown Distributing and Ben E. Keith Beverages have moved to digital ordering systems to alleviate the contact necessary for their sales reps. With smaller sales teams in the field, distributor reps are relying on the efficiency and organization afforded by online ordering. Technology providers, like Fintech, allow retailers to place a single online order for all their alcohol which is automatically routed to the correct distributor, thus cutting down on the physical interactions between your teams and the distributor reps. 

Electronic Payments are Coming

If you’re not already taking advantage of electronic payments for your alcohol deliveries, you likely will be very soon. Our distributor partners recognize their responsibility to the three-their system. They agree that one surefire way to keep their teams and partners safe is by eliminating manual forms of payment like cash or checks. And they’re not just recommending it to their retailers – they’re actively promoting it and, in some cases, even mandating it. During our discussion, each distributor shared how they are partnering with Fintech to transition all their retailers to touch-free electronic payments. Each is advocating for the move by offering training materials for retailers looking to transition and facilitating easy retailer signup through their own websites. 

[Distributors] agree that one surefire way to keep their teams and partners safe is by eliminating manual forms of payment like cash or checks.

Why are they pushing it so hard? Because electronic payments are just better. They’re better for distributors, but they’re also better for your teams handling the exchange (or lack thereof) of payment at delivery, they’re better for your business, and they’re better for your customers. They remove germ-filled manual payments and they reduce the security risks associated with keeping extra cash on hand. But electronic payments do more than improve safety – they automate state regulatory compliance and make deliveries quicker, giving you more time to spend with your customers. Plus, in a time where physical contact is top-of-mind and some states are not requiring signatures for delivery, providers like Fintech give access to an online portal that houses 13-months of rolling invoice history, broken down by line item. This means that your team can track invoices without handling the paper invoice.   

As distributors move to adopt technology that will evolve and push the alcohol industry forward, will your bar or restaurant be ready? Don’t get left behind! Transitioning to automated payments and digital beverage alcohol management processes creates a safer environment to operate, more business efficiencies, and cost savings. If you’re ready to join the movement to advance beverage alcohol management across the country, contact us today. 

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