Content writer, Grace Murphy, highlights three ways in which technology has pushed the builders’ merchant sector to new heights so that business owners have a better understanding of how they can leverage technology to further their own business goals.

Technology is making a huge impact on the business world, and not just in sectors such as retail, where online shopping is booming and is expected to bring in an estimated $4.2 billion worldwide this year alone.

Technology has completely transformed the way people buy and sell, which has had a major impact on the way that builders’ merchants operate in the new age.

Here are three ways technology has pushed the builders’ merchant sector to new heights

More streamlined inventory management

Inventory management is a key consideration of builders’ merchants as ineffective inventory management can affect every aspect of a business, from warehouse rental costs to the ability to fulfil customer orders.

Luckily, advances in inventory management software mean that businesses can automate their inventory tracking and manufacturing to streamline the entire process. This also makes other processes easier for business owners - such as preparing for the tax season - as most inventory software comes equipped with reporting systems that take the hassle out of gathering data for reporting purposes.

What this means is that builders’ merchants can easily outsource their tax and accounting services to companies such as accountancy firm Azets, who offer personalised tax, account, audit, and advisory services to SMEs, with little to no hassle and minimal impact on their productivity.

Point of sale hardware and software

Point of sale technology has seen major improvements over the past decade, and gone are the days of mechanical tills and cash registers that gave businesses minimal information regarding their sales data.

Thanks to the invention of specialised hardware that can be used in conjunction with sector-specific software, electronic POS systems are proving to be game-changers in the builders’ merchants sector, as they can provide detailed customer and product information during the checkout process that can help improve customer experience, help manage inventory systems to avoid the accumulation of obsolete inventory (also called ‘deadstock’) and more.

For this reason, choosing the right POS software can mean the difference between the success and failure of a business in the long-run.

Online trading

The ability to trade goods online is a relatively new concept but is one that has changed the way that many businesses operate. And, while e-commerce is not as big in the construction industry as it is in the retail industry, it still forms a growing part of the ecosystem and is an important aspect for builders’ merchants to consider.

While there has been a lot of attention given to the impact e-commerce has had on business-to-customer transactions, more and more construction companies are also turning to e-commence when it comes to sourcing and buying their materials.

Builders’ merchants who have an online presence often outcompete companies who don’t, for several reasons.

Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, e-commerce allows a business to trade 24/7. This is especially important for construction companies who may need access to materials outside of regular working hours.

Secondly, having an e-commerce platform opens up a business to a larger market. While typical builders’ merchants cater to local building companies, a merchant with an online presence can secure orders for businesses that would typically be beyond their reach as a brick-and-mortar establishment.

Finally, one of the main benefits of e-commerce for merchants is the ability to gather more data on their customer’s buying habits, which can prove extremely valuable in terms of making business decisions relating to inventory levels and more.

New technology is constantly emerging that aims to streamline business operations and make businesses more competitive in the global marketplace. For this reason, being able to leverage technology for the benefit of their business is a key concern of business owners in all sectors and something that all builders’ merchants should take an interest in if they wish to remain competitive.