low of goods to the customer Essay
Once the customer has placed the order on the website and his/her payment is cleared and confirmed to the store, the store dispatches the order as per the mode of delivery opted for. Incase the company faces a stock out situation or unavailability of the selected merchandise, the money is refunded to the customer immediately.As one can see from the above diagram, taking the least time case, the supply to the customer takes place immediately. The store also depends on the customer for return purchases and referrals and hence cannot afford a stock out situation. The inventory is required to be as lean as possible especially as some of the products stocked like Hardware is bulky and there is a space constraint. Through accurate demand planning and tighter execution between the retailers and suppliers the store is able to maintain higher margins, more profitable sales and increased revenues.As the company is primarily online, web based forms are used to improve the accuracy if invoices and give the supply instant shipping invoices. The store buys directly from the manufacturer and hence cuts out the retailer and wholesaler. Barcodes and packing slips are generated along with the incoming shipment and the product order list and inventory database are linked so that potential supply bottlenecks are identified well in advance.The company then passes the cost benefits of buying directly from the manufacturers, having an online store, negligible brick and motor expenses to the customer in the form of price discounts. The company also has an understanding with the product manufacturers which has resulted in goodwill and gives the company reliable delivery and advance notice of any bottlenecks if any. The company also acts as an advertising medium for the manufactures by featuring the products visually and with literature. The company is reputed to give good advice on the equipment and matches the customer with the level of products that he/she may require.The company integrates the information on product price and promotion from their supplier community to its back office systems. The company prides itself on using paper to a minimum by automating the retailing process on both the inbound and outbound areas. By automating the interactions with the suppliers the company witnessed improvement in its fulfillment rates and accuracy through advanced notification and automated supplier acceptance or order schedules or forecasts. This reduced the amount of buffer inventory required to be maintained by the company otherwise.As the company is paid in advance, it does not encounter fraudulent or bad transactions and is able to pass this leverage onto the customer as trade discounts. The company is also able to reward returning customers with additional discounts and offers. As the company sponsors a number of skating events or professional players, manufacturers get an extra mileage from the company. The additional discounts or benefits given by the supplier for these advantages to the company are yet again a benefit to the customer.The company maintains a database of the customers profiling their purchase and preferences. As online business is primarily demand driven, the company uses collaborative planning and passes the demand statistics to the manufacturers so that they can make informed decisions. These insights give both the supplier and retailer in creating informed forecast of future business leads culminating in better assortments, promotions and inventory positions.Rising competition and increasing number of products have lead to compressed planning cycles and the company is frequently faced with the need to make planning decisions rapidly. The company is also able to reduce post market purchase order rework by matching assortment plans with the production plans. The plans are aggregated in real time so the authorization and door level analysis is more streamlined and reflect actual situation. As the products offered by the company are varied, there cannot be a daily supplier planning carried out. This would become extremely cumbersome and the supplier would also be given patchy orders. In order to give some consolidation to the supplier order book the company reviews plans with the supplier on a fortnightly basis By shortening and improving the accuracy of the plan , retailers will be able to increase sales by getting new products onto the site and in stock earlier than previously possible.In turn the company asks the supplier to share his assessment of the demand pattern based on collective inputs from all the retailers dealt with. This helps the store identify issues such as new products being marketed differently or new facings, SKUs that the company does not carry. The company uses a combination of sales or return inventory and consignment inventory where the company pays for the goods only on actual sale to a customer and returns those products which remain unsold over a period of time.Logistics plays an important role in promotion management. The company runs many discounts and bumper sales on its website. This would entail a pickup in the number of items sold. The company needs to adjust its replenishment system so the regular system would not be able to adjust to the large scale change in rate of sale. Plus the company has many years of experience and would know the demand pattern to be expected and areas from where it is likely to come. All this knowledge gained through experience needs to be shared with the supply chain and built into the system.Customers who buy in bulk and appear to be serious about the sport would be sent a mailer informing them about upcoming events and inviting them to participate. This would make the customer feel happy, the manufacturer pleased as his product will get more viewers and the company happy with the possibility of repeat sales. The company also could send emails to the customer a period after the product has been delivered asking after the customer satisfaction with the product. This would not cost the company anything but time.The company should also not sit back and wait for customers to stumble onto its website, there needs to be visual identity of the company and the products it offers and its association with the sport with its owners being professionals and one of the best. This would not cost more than e-newsletters and keyword ads. The company website is easy to navigate but needs to delete old information and promotions on a regular basis else it ends up looking sloppy. The text should be full of potential key words which will make likely or potential customers doing a web search hit the website.The market is a fast moving market with skating being a popular sport in the UK , the competitor needs to be constantly monitored and studied and the market monitored so that the company can attend any sporting events or competitions in the neighborhood to know what’s really catching on in the market.Website promotion appears to be a simple process but is in reality a difficult task. It only appears to be a matter of technical support but in reality it uses as much of resources in advertising a offline store. The website needs to be built with careful insight into the audience base and then built around to meet the target expectations. SS2O caters to a wide variety of customers, professional skaters/snowboarders to the common man, customers who are in for the sporting challenge and those looking to make a fashion statement. The target audience may be different from the person shelling out for the purchases. The company also needs to constantly revamp and update its website to remain attractive and showcase new products better.The company can utilize software to enable the customer to post questions to the owners who are professional “skaters” and get live help and guidance. The company can also send out mailers to the customers asking their opinion on the products displayed, website convenience of navigation, service. There could be a contest designed whereby the customer who gives referrals about the company which actually culminate into sales gets points which convert into discount percentages.Yet another gimmick the store can use is to send out free t-shirts to customers with their purchases, advertising the store name and web link on the back. The store would get mileage as the existence of the store would be promoted in all the corners of the UK.The company could also give its existing customers notification of new products coming to the market and offer them exchange deals “Old skates for new”. The store could then donate the old equipment to charity and get both sales as well as social mileage out of the whole process. As its sales are based on courier delivery the mail company could be instructed to pick up the return package. This would have to be done with customers who are high value only as there could be cases of fraud. Yet another promotion option would be to ask customers who are making purchases to donate money towards a sporting event organized for destitute children. The store could then in tandem with the manufacturer organize such an event and get visibility for itself.The company can also consider enabling its inventory management with real time software which alerts both the company and manufacturer of the product movement and upcoming shipping order necessity. This would reduce the compilation of information by the company for the supplier and also prepare him for upcoming shipping invoices.In summation one can say that the marketing promotions and pricing policies are dependent on the efficiency of the supply chain and vice versa. The supply chain efficiency depends on marketing commitment and the information shared by the manufacturers and the company. The company can commit itself to promotions, sales, bumper offers , sponsorships or promotional gimmicks only when its supplier is able to meet up to the demand that such offers would generate. Hence both are vital business processes which must be operated by the company so that they work in tandem motion and not different directions.