Online shoppers have evolved. Have your shipping capabilities kept pace?
Today’s online shoppers are more internet savvy than ever before. They are familiar with various ordering and fulfillment options, and expect both competitive pricing, and prompt delivery of purchases. Disappoint them, and they might just take their business elsewhere.Consider this timely example, shared by a member of our HotWax Systems Leadership team:
“Six weeks ago, I ordered a shirt from one of the oldest clothing retailers in the US, now selling online and through retail outlets all over the world. Upon adding the item to the cart, I received a message that the product was out of stock in my size, but expected to ship on January 24th.
As I did not need the shirt right away, that was fine and I went ahead and placed the order. The 24th came and went and the item had not shipped, finally on the 29th I received an email from the company. Assuming this was my long awaited shipping notification, I opened the email expecting a tracking number. Much to my dismay it was a notification of a further delay. The expected ship was pushed back to February 7th. By this point I was frustrated with the company and their inability to accurately project product availability.
Working in this industry for as long as I have, I know the challenges that small companies with simple e-commerce solutions face, but surely a company as large and established as theirs has a digital commerce platform capable of managing inventory across multiple divisions and channels.
It did not take long to discover that they are using Demandware, a product that we often compare ours with. The final straw came this morning, when I received another email informing me that the ship date had once again been pushed back to March 5th. I decided to call customer service and see if any of their retail locations had stock availability. I was connected with a very nice woman who looked up my online order and verified the information.
When I asked about locating one in a retail store, she had to log into a different system. She was able to find one in a retail store, but instead of modifying my existing order to be fulfilled from there, she had to call the store and manually place a new order with them before canceling my existing order. While the company may retain my business due to their excellent customer service, I cannot help but think about how much time and money must be wasted globally each year manually addressing situations like this one, or how many orders are just cancelled and revenue is lost to a competitor.”
A 2-step Formula for Delivery Estimate Success
To attract and retain customers, your e-commerce store must provide shoppers with an accurate estimated order arrival date. This process occurs in two phases:
- Calculate and Promise – Show customers an accurately calculated arrival date for a potential purchase
- Deliver on the Promise – Deliver on or before the promise arrival date
Accurate delivery date estimates will boost your conversion rate, along with reinforcing customer confidence and loyalty. So what is needed within your Order Management System in order to make it happen?
The Order Management System capabilities you must have include:
- Warehouse fulfillment capacity
- Inventory availability
- The capability to match the carrier pickup schedules of various shipping methods you offer
- The ability to match the carrier pickup schedule of shipping method selected by a customer to the customer’s order
- The capability to release the correct orders in the batch for fulfillment to match
That’s a lot of functionality, right? Not a problem, because Apache OFBiz has the data model to support all of the features listed above via a centralized order management system that works in sync with your e-commerce store. It offers real-time reports and empowers you to automate the delivery date estimation process. Our HotWax Commerce platform, powered by OFBiz, can be used to leverage these features even more effectively.With Summer just around the corner, take time to explore your e-commerce options before the next busy buying season.
To learn more about OFBiz or HotWax Commerce capabilities, we encourage you to contact us today!
Pranay Pandey has been in the software industry since 2006. He specializes in Enterprise Software Design and Development. At HotWax he currently leads the effort of architecting quality software products and training resources. He continues to be dedicated to the Apache OFBiz open source project since 2007 and became a committer in 2014. He leads our internal training programs in Apache OFBiz, ERP and new technologies under the roof of HotWax University. He is an Electronics graduate and has a masters degree in Computer Applications from Rajeev Gandhi Technical University, Bhopal (M.P.) India. He loves learning and sharing knowledge. He believes that one of the keys to success in this industry is to "keep learning". His hobbies are reading, writing, walking, running, cycling, cooking and watching science fiction movies.