3 New Year’s Resolutions for Retailers

During dramatic growth periods, companies must remain in total control to reap the benefits. For those looking to grow rapidly in 2015, meeting and exceeding revenue goals should be a deliberate process. The New Year is a perfect time to get organized.

First, consider what your overarching objectives are.  For example, if you want to increase revenue, the first step would be to examine each of your processes to determine areas of improvement.

In my experience, problems impacting revenue often come back to either customer service or the supply chain. Because the majority of customer service problems relate to the supply chain, examining product-related processes is the quickest and easiest way for retailers to correct issues and boost revenue while improving customer service. If your business is in the development stage, these adjustments can mean the difference between merely staying afloat and exponential growth.

Here’s a guide to quickly analyzing and correcting issues related to logistics that can result in an improved operations experience:

Stay in the loop

Too often, managers outside of operations are left in the dark when it comes to logistics. What shipping method are you using? How much does packaging cost? Where are your products physically located?

While a good executive has the ability to delegate, you can still delegate while remaining in the loop. Know the ins and outs of the supply chain and what’s best for your customers while leaving execution to the rest of your team.

For instance, you may recognize that customer service calls spike if a customer has not received their package in the time expected. This may be a sign that your fulfillment strategy is one-size-fits-all when it should be customized, or that communication has broken down. You might not have the expertise or the time to solve the problem yourself, but in a scenario like this, a seasoned executive will recognize that both the problem and solution relate to more than the immediate issue itself. By staying informed, you can provide better direction and realize the impact of a single supply chain issue.

Know and trust your fulfillment partners

You know your customers and can identify when something is amiss. Similarly, a trustworthy fulfillment partner will make it their mission to know your clients and make adjustments automatically to deliver a top-notch experience.

A good logistics provider functions as more than a third-party warehouse and shipper. A true partner will resemble an extension of your in-house team rather than a vendor. Look for partners who listen more than they speak in initial meetings. Visit the warehouse in-person to see how different aspects of fulfillment are integrated before bringing a new vendor into the fold.

Remember the details

Seek to mirror the in-store experience when customers buy online.

If you’re dealing with in-store, there are multiple customer touchpoints that need to be consistent with the brand. Everything from signage to employee uniforms to verbal communication needs to be addressed.

For ecommerce, brand packaging can be extremely important, especially when it’s one of the few experiences your customer will have with the brand. Envision a package as the miniature version of experience you want your customers to have in-store. Pay attention to customized greetings, wrapping and even the shape of the package itself.  This is the place to impress and build brand loyalty.

Best of all, attractive packaging doesn’t have to be expensive. Often, when our team reimagines a client’s packaging, the result is more cost effective and representative of the brand.

The suggestions above are essential to maintaining and improving the customer experience. Best of all, premium packaging and an improved supply chain process are both revenue drivers. Some of our clients have experienced up to 700 percent growth in a single year as they fine-tuned the logistics experience.

While logistics isn’t wholly responsible for their revenue growth, it’s often the missing piece of the puzzle for companies that are growing fast and struggling to keep up. Given its importance, improvements in logistics should be at the top of retailers’ list of resolutions in 2015.

Maria Haggerty is the founder and CEO of Dotcom Distribution.

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