"Might be nice if ASOS checked my items were in stock BEFORE confirming delivery and taking my cash." - Annoyed ASOS customer sent via Twitter.
ASOS is a successful online fashion retailer with a sophisticated inventory software system to run their back end operation. The inventory software system 'talks' to their website and keeps the stock figures updated in real-time, in theory.
It is this feed that appears to have failed ASOS and resulted in goods that are out of stock being sold. Or perhaps they just let it be that way in order to get orders up and worry about fulfilling later.
This tweet highlights the way that one bad experience caused by an error in the back end can be shared with your customers easily.
So what about the smaller online retailers, those that do not have such a slick back end operation and only a few years back were in their garage fulfilling orders? What impact will this be having on their business and what can they do to improve?
Missed sales on goods that you have taken delivery of but not yet checked in to stock.
This occurs when there is a delay between orders entering the warehouse, reconciliation and registering them into stock. An inventory software system using barcoding for example can speed up the receipt and reconciliation of goods-in so companies can get new inventory into their websites more quickly. A live inventory feed to update the online retailer website directly from the inventory software system speeds this up further.
If you don't ship next day, your competitor will!
Online shoppers can go elsewhere in seconds and if you cannot guarantee low prices and a speedy delivery they will. Automated inventory control processes speed up your whole operation allowing more orders to get picked, packed and shipped. Ship more orders per day and increase customer satisfaction.
Get your back end in shape or invest in your complaints handling team.
Running a successful and scalable online retailer requires that customer service costs are kept to a minimum. A simple inventory software system using barcoding to help warehouse operators pick the right thing and keep your inventory data accurate for the website will help towards keeping your customers happy. Get this and you will certainly be ahead of many of your competitors who are only a click away for your customers.
Author: Jonathan Bellwood