COVID-19 has brought us extended lockdowns, pervasive uncertainty, and fundamentally changed the...
Fulfilment is the new black
A few years back, our Director of Consulting Services - Andrew Rogencamp wrote a post on the differences between integrating and interfacing to ERPs like PRONTO. Reading that post, the lightbulb moment for me was in the need for speed and simplification of the fulfilment process in eCommerce. And as you have an eCommerce platform that’s integrated to your ERP system you are already ahead of the curve.
It’s no secret that the real concern for many companies about Amazon is how quickly they get an order to a customer – the velocity of their supply chain. So… I wanted to spend today talking about your backend systems, and get thinking about ways we can leverage them. More specifically about how well-fulfilled orders can make or break a customer’s satisfaction.
On joining CV early last year, I spent a few days onsite getting to know one of our customers, Carbatec. Apart from learning that they’re a cool company filled with wonderful people who were more than willing to answer my innumerable questions, I also learnt more than I could possibly put into words about the supply chain.
As marketers, it’s easy for us to think of the order as being complete once a user has converted into a sale. Your strategies have paid off, the ads have recorded one more conversion and your job is done, right?
Well… not really. And certainly not in the eyes of your customer. As far as they are concerned, the order is only complete when they have their product(s) in their hot little hands.
So let’s venture off the beaten track a little (or at least out of the office and into the warehouse). I’d like to challenge you to put on the boots, jeans, and high viz, and go watch the fulfilment process for yourselves.
One of the biggest things I learnt while helping to pack orders at Carbatec (in for a penny, in for a pound, right?) was how big a difference the small things can make. An extra five seconds waiting for the con-note to print? Boy does that add up when there are 100 orders that all need that five seconds. Alternatively, if your staff can gain five seconds because they know that the freight carrier is always listed in the same place on every order, that quickly turns into an extra order packed each day.
Now I’m not saying you should drop all your existing marketing work to focus purely on the fulfilment process, but I think it is just as important to look inward as outward. Often times we can get caught up in the user experience right up until the customer checks out. We sometimes forget that it ain’t over until the fat lady uhh… delivers the package. Alright so I might be mixing my metaphors a little but the point still stands.
Innovation can come from the unlikeliest of places, and your back of house staff are definitely the subject matter experts when it comes to working out what will help them streamline their day-to-day working lives.
So what does your fulfilment process look like now? Could changing small things like the way the address is passed into PRONTO save your staff time? Could you use that well-designed order confirmation email for all orders, rather than just for those placed on the web?
No matter how small the change, if it means getting that order to a customer sooner and keeping them informed along the way, then that’s a win in my books. I’d love to hear your experiences.