• Sales and distribution

The problem

This business combines location based retail sales with eCommerce, both selling from the same warehouse.
The administration related to inventory is manual across the outlets, requiring additional stock to be kept on hand for safety, so customers that order goods can be assured of delivery to promise. The company uses a manual allocation of stock between eCommerce and shop based retail.
The procurement of items is done manual based on weekly tally of the products available across the warehouses - each day of the week a different product group. The stock is leveled against the requirement for eCommerce and purchase orders are issued to the vendors.
Inventory receipt is done immediately upon inspection of items, but it generally takes half a day to a day to get the systems up to date for both retail and eCommerce.
In addition, due to the technical nature of the products sold, the organisation needs a better way to manage support inquiries from all channels (phone, email, social media, website), for both presales, as well as post sales scenarios; many support queries are not followed up in timely fashion leading to poor customer experience and lost sales.

Our solution

  • A centralised inventory solution, that integrates to all sales outlets - providing a single view of the stock position in real-time
  • A re-order point per product, allowing for automated purchase proposals
  • Purchase receipts are available for sale immediately upon receipt booking
  • A how to use knowledge base accessible to the sales agents, as well as the customers visiting the eCommerce store for self-service support purpose
  •  A multi channel support desk system, with automated team assignments and support priority count-down modes
  • A website chat ability for customers to quickly get answers to their queries prior to buying
  • The knowledge base is searchable, and context aware - suggesting articles based on the text used in the ticket

Your benefits

  • Lower stock required to serve the customers - improved cash-flow and inventory turn-over
  • Increased accuracy of stock availability, resulting in higher revenue and increased customer satisfaction
  • Reduced the inventory receipt time to (on average) 20 minutes per receipt, down from half a day to a day, further decreasing inventory holding needs an increasing inventory turnover
  • By answering potential customer queries via the webchat, additional and faster conversion of sales
  • Customer queries are handled efficiently, resulting in improved customer satisfaction, and higher customer ratings (i.e. Google My Business)
  • By using the previous responses to support queries to build the knowledge base, further decreased the the time and effort required to respond and close the query satisfactory

The verdict

By integrating the inventory management across the channels (eCommerce and Retail) the organisation no longer needs to manage notional inventory locations with their individual safety stock. The reduction in inventory holding costs freed up cash for promotional activities, further increasing brand-awareness and sales.

Whilst the plan initially is focused on efficiency, the next steps are to evolve the relationship with the customers into a "community of enthusiasts" with a social component where customer enthusiast users can interact, and as such convert clients into strong advocates.

Digital Small Business

The digital business plan, with the following integrated applications for 4 employees:

  • Inventory management
  • Social media marketing channels
  • CRM
  • Support desk with context aware knowledge base
  • Web visitor tracking and engagement
  • Email campaign marketing for product promotion
  • Analytics dashboards providing insights into trends