6. Using Customer Channels & Zones

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Hello!

Welcome to the bMobile Tutorial Video Series.

In this video, we will go over what Channels and Zones are, how to add and edit them, as well as some tips on how to best utilize them for optimum efficiency.

What are Zones & Channels?

Both Channels and Zones are generally used to group and categorize your customer list, which can help you locate customers quickly on the desktop app by the Sort and Filter functionality. You can also use these groupings to apply blanket pricing to similar customers, or for grouping customers that all reside in a similar location. Lastly, you can use these tools for reporting purposes.

The whole idea is to have different ways to group your customers to make it easier to apply various aspects of bMobile (like routing and pricing) quickly and efficiently. This is similar to what Product Classes and Product Types are for your Inventory List as seen in the previous video.

You can name the Channels and Zones whatever you would like and assign any customer to either or both.

We do have some recommendations regarding best practices when using this tool. We’ll go over those in the next sections.

Channels

Let’s start with Channels.

Channels are best used for the larger, broader categorizations like all “Supermarkets” or “Grocery Stores” or “Dealerships”. You’re classifying your customers into the different types of businesses or organizations they are. This comes in handy when you want to add discounted prices or promotions on inventory items going to all your grocery store customers, for example.

Adding a Channel is easy. Under the Customer menu, click on the “Channel” button and then on “New”. Write in what you would like to call your Channel in the “Channel Number:” field. You can definitely just put a number there, but we suggest being a bit more specific and naming the Channel for its specific purpose (like Grocery Store, for example). You can add even more specification in the Description field if you would like.

Next, click on the “Add Multiple Customers” button to start inputting the customers that fall under this categorization. This takes some work up front, but it will definitely pay off very quickly.

Remember that similar to Microsoft Excel, you can double click in the space between the columns to expand them. Then, you can either go down the list and select the customers you’d like to add to this Channel, or you can search for specific customers by writing in their name in the “Contains” field.

Also, you can highlight multiple customers by holding the control or “Ctrl” button while clicking on the customers you want to select, and if there are several customers in a row, you can click on the first one, then hold the “Shift” key, and click again at the bottom of your selected list and it will highlight all the rows in between (again, just like in Excel). Also, you can see if a customer has already been added to a Channel or Zone on the right hand side, here.

After you have selected the customers you want to add to this Channel, click on the “Select” button. And there you have it!

We will go over the “Pricing” tab in the pricing video but if you want to add more information to your Channel, you can go to this “Notes” tab and double clicking in the “Note” column. The date and time stamp will be added automatically after you hit the “Enter” key.

When you are done, make sure to click on the “Save” button.

Zones

If Channels are best for broad categorizations, Zones are better utilized for more specific groups of customers that are similar in different ways including grouping by location. You can use Zones for customers that have a chain of stores (like Albertson’s, for example), or you can be even more specific, like creating a Zone called “Albertsons in Boise, ID”. The possibilities are endless.

Creating a Zone is very similar to creating a Channel.  You can see your list of Zones by clicking on the “Zones” button in the “Customers” menu. And just like with Channels, to add a new Zone, click on the New button.

One of the only differences in the Zones window is the Channel specification. If going with our previous example, we can create a Zone called “Albertsons” and then link it to the Channel we called “Grocery Store”.

Customers List

After you are done categorizing your customers, you can go to the Customers List on bMobile and see the Channels and Zones you assigned as well as the descriptions in these columns here. This is really nice because you can sort and filter based on this criteria now.

In later videos we will show you how much these categorizations come in handy when looking at routing and pricing, as well as a few other components.

Lastly, let’s quickly look at some of the reporting options when using Channels and Zones.

To access these reports, go to the Reports menu, and then click on “Sales”.

There are many different types of reports as you can see here, but we will focus on these two: The Customer Sales Analysis Report as well as the Inventory Sales Analysis Report. These reports are pretty similar. To group the sales of inventory items by Customer, you use the Customer Sales Analysis Report, and to group your customers by your inventory item sales, you use the inventory Sales Report.

You can filter these reports in many different ways and this is where Channels and Zones can be really helpful when wanting to analyze your sales data.

Let’s say we wanted to look at what all of our Albertsons stores were purchasing from us over the last year and for how much. We can pull this information up in both reports by choosing the Albertsons’ Customer Zone in the “Begin Zone Number” and “End Zone Number” fields and then inputting the “Begin Date field” a year back.

As you can see, in the Customer Sales Analysis, the report shows a list of our Albertsons customers and which products they purchased. There are subtotals throughout the report and then grand totals at the end, here.

We can look at the exact same data but grouped by the inventory items by going to the Inventory Sales Analysis Report and inputting the same parameters.

This is just a quick overview of the reporting options.

Conclusion

As always, if you have any specific questions regarding the information covered in this video, make sure to reach out to your bMobile Consultant.

Thanks and have a good day.