Black Friday – named after the day when retailers supposedly start making money – is an indicator of the health of the business. But it’s also the time of year when, operationally, retailers most need to be on top of their game! Everything and every department needs to be working in unison to maximize sales and reduce costs. It’s all about the delivery promise. If it’s missed, it will damage the business in the long term.
For retailers, holiday peak is all about the art of getting the right products in the right places at the right times to maximize sales in a very short period of time without leaving behind a glut of unsold inventory.
- Store operations must accurately predict, on a region-by-region and store-by-store basis, what and how much to stock.
- Ecommerce must ensure it can cost-effectively leverage store inventory to meet surges in online demand without creating out-of-stock situations in stores.
- Logistics must focus on meeting all customer service levels without expedited shipments.
- Merchandising must align assortments with the right customers and in the right markets.
But even the best plans can go awry during execution unless key operational risks are minimized, such as order fulfillment capacity:
- Do we have enough inventory?
- Do we have inventory in the right places?
- Do we have enough hands on deck?
All these questions need to be anticipated during the planning phase. Others, such as weather events, shifts in consumer spending, rapid shifts or upticks in demand for a particular product, spikes in shipping costs, etc., require adjustment in real time to give customers what they want, where and when they want it.
The true cost of missing a delivery promise during holiday peak seasons is more than just the sad faces of those who didn’t receive gifts on time. From a brand perspective, you’ve just spent tens of thousands, or even millions, in marketing dollars to convince consumers to buy from you with two key goals in mind: cementing existing customer loyalty and growing revenue through new customer acquisition. Missing a delivery promise gives your competitors the opportunity to sway your customers toward a better overall brand experience.
Today, innovative brands are arming their fulfillment practitioners with cognitive insights to improve agility and speed, so they can give their customers what they want, where and when they want it – before competitors can seize the opportunity. With the customer in control, a broken delivery promise can translate very quickly into loss of market share.
IBM Watson’s order fulfillment capabilities can help brands avoid broken delivery promises by giving practitioners the speed and agility to meet anytime, anywhere consumer expectations – in real time. Backlogs, expedited shipping costs and missed service-level agreements become a nightmare of the past when you can adapt to changes in the fulfillment network anytime you see fit, within minutes and without assistance from IT.
Learn how Watson order fulfillment solutions can help you deliver the perfect order every time. We’ll show you how cognitive capabilities enhance order management systems in the “last mile” by continually learning and honing order fulfillment decisions to meet customer delivery expectations without sacrificing margins.
Join us at NRF 2017 to see Watson fulfillment solutions in action in Booth 1720, or schedule a subject matter expert meeting at the Javits Center in NYC, January 15–17.
The post Don’t miss another delivery promise – Give customers what they want this holiday season appeared first on THINK Marketing.
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