Photo appears courtesy of Mike Mozart. This blog was written by Aurora EDI Alliance partner, Jim Gonzalez. This is a question all companies should be asking themselves as we are moving in the direction of purchasing all goods online through mobile devices. How often do you go to the store to pick up something you ordered online? Grocery stores are moving to ordering online with the local store delivering to your home. Some stores - Walmart and Target come to mind - allow you to order online and pick up at the local store to save on shipping. This is due to Walmart and other major entities moving into other sectors they weren’t historically known for. Walmart was the go-to retail store for discount items just a decade ago. Now they are pushing to also be your discount everything from tires to iPads to tomatoes, and even offer additional discounts for ordering online with store pick-up. To further meet consumer demand, they are offering more items that are either organic or sourced sustainably or both. Think about it, if you stay stagnant, you will quickly become irrelevant in today’s competitive environment.
You want to evaluate where your business is successful compared to your competitors. Then work through how you can expand those areas in the next month, year and decade. Envision the future growth to keep pushing the envelope.
I am seeing more and more successful B2Cs adding as much automation as possible to remove the human error, along with keeping the customer informed throughout the entire customer experience. You might not think of Domino's when it comes to Business to Consumer (B2C), but they are doing a fantastic job in this area. Their system allows you to order food online and get notifications of where your order is at in the process, from time of order to delivery. You can also check online to see the progress. Think about that – their customer never has to call to find out where the order is. This also reduces the amount of staff needed to handle those inquiries, allowing for more time to make pizza.
The last major hurdle is to be the trend and more importantly, to keep being the trend. Amazon is leading the charge among all B2Cs. They are looking to place warehouse facilities to allow delivery of products to homes in 24 hours or less. Also, they’re working with stores that use radio frequency identification (RFID) to allow for purchases without having to wait in checkout lines. They are acquiring other market leaders like Whole Foods to expand offerings – did you know that Amazon has lockers at Whole Foods’ brick and mortar locations? Order from Amazon and pick up at Whole Foods! It’s the perfect compromise for apartment dwellers and the like. And they’re looking to start using driverless trucks to get products cross country faster without driver fatigue.
Your business may not have the cash advantage like a Walmart, Domino's or Amazon. You may not have as many employees or resources. But what you do have is the opportunity to make your mark. All of those companies started out of nothing and became something. If you need a partner to guide you through some of your technical initiatives, contact us for a consultation. We will help you expand through data integration and automating your business processes.