The Keys to Flexible Web Order Fulfillment
You cannot run a retail chain in this century without planning for how you will fulfill Web orders. Your website, if it hasn’t already, will become a major channel for product sales. Customers will visit your website before they walk into your store, and if they see something they like, they are just as likely to buy it from your website. Your job is to make that easy for them.
Here are the keys to ensure you handle every Web order seamlessly so that your customers get the merchandise they want and you get the business you deserve:
- Inventory Management – You’ve got to manage your inventory efficiently. Do you want your website products mixed in with all your other in-store products? If so, then you have got to have real-time inventory management so that you can see how much of each product you have available. Any lag time and you could have some disappointed customers who place orders and don’t receive them, or receive them late. One option is to separate your e-commerce merchandise from the rest of your products, but that’s just one solution. You have to figure out how you will manage your inventory when the Web channel is another option for your customers.
- Product and Vendor Management – Manage your products down the individual SKU and vendor. Know what sizes and colors you have in stock at any store location or for your Web customers.
- Cross-channel CRM – Your customers are not channel loyal. They may shop online one day, in your store the next, and go mobile over the weekend. You need to be able to manage your customer relationships across all channels in real time.
- Price and Promotion Management – Whether you run Web store only promotions or have specials across all channels, you need a way to manage your prices, coupons, discounts, and special promotions seamlessly. Your customers will thank you for the efficiency.
- Rules and Exception Management – Establish rules that govern when product is available, how it is shipped, and the cost of purchasing and shipping. But allow for exceptions and manage those exceptions well.
There’s no right way or wrong way to manage your Web orders. There are effective and ineffective ways. Make your retail chain more profitable by discovering the best ways to make your Web customers happy and run a profitable business.