3 Ways to Up Your Ecommerce Game


PHOTO: various photographs


Last year I needed an extravagant sports jacket for an event I was attending. The jacket had to be golden.

Anyway, I decided to do what any logical consumer would do: Google “gold sports jacket”. As you can imagine, the search results were, well, interesting. From Macy’s to Amazon to some sketchy-looking e-commerce sites, all ends of the spectrum were on display.

After a few minutes of research, I found one that I liked and that was also in my size. The e-commerce product page said it was “in stock” and would ship the same day. So I decided to make the purchase because I needed it in seven days.

What’s up with my golden jacket!

About two or three days went by and I realized I hadn’t received any shipping updates from the company, so I went back to the site, logged into my account and saw that my order had not been shipped. As I contacted customer service, they told me that the gold sports jacket was out of stock and asked if I wanted to order another color (as if a gold jacket wasn’t specific enough) . I refused, asked for a refund and wasted precious time that I needed to receive my jacket for the event I was attending.

This age-old story has probably happened to you too. Since we can buy on the internet, we all have experienced the above situation at least once in our life. Frustrating? Yes. Disappointing? Yes. Surprising? Not really.

The reason why this is not surprising lies in the prescribed and trained behavior that all of us as consumers have learned from buying products from perhaps the most important digital experience company of the last 20 years.

Yes, you guessed it – Amazon.

Related article: Fighting ‘the anarchy of commerce’ with better data management

Amazon sets the bar for customer experience. It’s time to compete

Amazon has built an empire on perhaps the most simplistic idea of ​​customer experience, but it’s nearly impossible to achieve 100% perfection – with e-commerce orders being delivered on time. Oh, and by the way, they were able to create a business model that encourages consumers to pay an annual membership fee (Premium) to receive products FASTER than on time.

As we look forward to 2022 and beyond, the single most important area of ​​your business that I would recommend investing in (thanks to Amazon) is accurate inventory, delivery, and your consumer expectations. Of course, the appearance of a product detail page is important. Of course, it’s important to give customers payment as a guest. Of course, customizing site content and workflows is important.

But none of this is worth its weight in gold (Editor’s note: pun?) unless customers KNOW when they will receive their order. In the example I mentioned above with my gold jacket, my trust with that company is gone and I will never use them again. How can I? They lied to me!

So the million dollar question – How can you implement this in your business and compete with Amazon?

Here are three ways to get you on the path to “inventory transparency bliss” that will wow your customers and allow you to compete with the Amazons of the world?

1. WHO, WHO, WHO

OMS stands for Order Management System. This software usually integrates with your ERP, CRM as well as your e-commerce platform. Think of an OMS as the orchestration of orders behind the scenes and the brains of how your orders are delivered to your customers.

OMS systems allow your business and employees to rotate orders based on geography, profitability, and delivery time. This is a critical part of delivering an exceptional customer experience in order fulfillment.

2. Omnichannel transparency

Once you use or have used an OMS system, be sure to offer transparency of your inventory and delivery in ALL the channels your customers want. Specifically, in all channels where commerce occurs.

It is also important to give consumers options. As we’ve seen with Prime, consumers will actually pay more for faster delivery services. It’s about setting expectations and being true to your word, and if you can’t be true to your word – that is, if there is a problem with a customer’s order – inform him in advance and offer him options for faster delivery with different products or services.

Related article: How can marketers adapt to the acceleration of digital commerce?

3. Flip the script over to the Amazons

Take advantage of what the Amazons of the world can’t and flip the script on them.

Do you have showcases today? Turn these stores into mini distribution centers where employees can pick orders and ship them to customers’ homes.

Got a lot of foot traffic in those retail stores? Offer “buy online with in-store pickup” and “buy online with curbside pickup”.

Looking to increase profitability, customer LTV and reduce customer service call times? Implement OMS administrative dashboards that give employees the flexibility to deliver responses faster, pivot orders, and exceed customer expectations, in real time.

So what’s Amazon’s big secret?

Amazon’s secret isn’t its on-site experiences. Its product detail pages are filled with exorbitant amounts of content. Its design elements are dated. Its payment flows are nothing special. Yet why did they register nearly half a trillion dollars in revenue in 2021? People knew when they would receive their order. It’s so simple.

As Benjamin Franklin said, “Honesty is the best policy,” and while that may not be his most important statement, it’s the most important when it comes to succeeding. customer experience in 2022 and beyond. After all, we the people deserve to know when we’ll get our golden sports jacket.

Justin Racine is a Principal Commerce Consultant at Perficient, a global digital consulting firm serving enterprise clients in North America. At Perficient, Justin helps clients achieve their business goals with commerce-driven technology.

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