We already know that in today’s consumer choice economy, customer expectations have never been higher. In order to meet these expectations without compromising goals or standards, it’s imperative that businesses think strategically about fulfillment.
In Stitch Labs’ webinar, Preparing for the Future of Retail: Complex Fulfillment Made Simple, product marketer, Mike Phillippi and product manager, Mike Lomboy discussed how retailers can efficiently align fulfillment strategy to meet their business goals. We encourage you to check out the full webinar, but here are some key takeaways:
- Without the ability to fulfill flexibly, a brand’s time, money, and future growth are at stake. With flexible fulfillment, you gain the ability to deliver how, where, and when you want.
- Some examples of flexible fulfillment are in-store pickup; buy in store, ship online; in-store transfers; and buy online, ship from store. Not all of these strategies will work for all retailers, but they are all strategies that give the customer more freedom (and not without benefits to the retailer, such as getting the customer into a physical store to browse when (s)he goes to pick up an order (s)he placed online from your brick and mortar).
- Implementing these flexible strategies is not as easy as turning on a switch. There are complex processes you need to consider, such as multiwarehousing, geo-routing, pre-order and backorder management, and expedited shipping.
- The true cost of your fulfillment process (including time, errors, returns, etc.) might be way more than you think. Fulfillment goes well beyond picking and packing and it affects how customers think about your company.
- When you think about the true cost of fulfillment, think about financial cost, time, customer experience, and sales & growth.
- There are three types of solutions to consider when you’re evaluating solutions that enable flexible fulfillment. The first is a small, standalone solution, which is more customizable and less expensive, but you might have to work on customization yourself, which is time consuming. You’ll want to beware of hidden costs. The second is a robust and integrated system, one benefit of which is whenever the vendor makes an improvement to their product, you’ll see it in your system. These products are built based on industry best practices, so may not be as customizable. The third type of solution to consider is a large, complex ERP system. ERPs are great for having everything all in one place but they’re very costly and onboarding can stretch to many months or even years.
- It’s always helpful to look at examples of brands who are doing it right. Young & Reckless, Freda Salvador, and Taylor Stitch are great examples of brands thinking futuristically about fulfillment.
Whether you’re looking to optimize for lower costs or a better customer experience, Stitch Labs can help. Our solution is built for high-growth, innovative brands and we help our customers gain control, agility, and efficiency with our centralized inventory and order management system.
If you’d like to hear more about these topics and about how Stitch can help you achieve your flexible fulfillment goals, please watch our webinar here.
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