Editorial: Fulfillment Gets Sexy

Share this content:
Hard to believe, but the word "fulfillment" is a hot topic, thanks to the Internet. At the National Conference of Operations & Fulfillment in Orlando this week, attendance was packed because e-businesses are learning that the key to establishing customer loyalty is keeping the back-end operations running smoothly. Not that this is news to all you direct marketers, which was why many attendees from the old school groused about how the workshops were too basic.


Expect one part of the fulfillment issue -- shipping and handling costs -- to keep cropping up over the next few years as people expect more from e-tailers. As H. Robert Wientzen, president/CEO of the Direct Marketing Association, said at the conference, consumers' appetite for speedy delivery will grow and overnight delivery will become the norm.


My most recent fulfillment fiasco occurred earlier this month, when I happened upon coin collectors' night on the Home Shopping Network. I purchased several 2000 all-silver dollars as Christmas presents for my nieces and nephews. (No, I've never done any of my holiday shopping before December, but I bit when the spokesman said, "They'd make great gifts!") When ordering, though, HSN wouldn't put my 10 purchases into one package and instead charged me $5.37 shipping and handling for each one. The next day, I received a call from HSN's fraud department to make sure I really ordered this many silver dollars. I asked again if the coins could be shipped in one envelope -- and got the same "no" answer but no explanation why it couldn't be done. So 10 Priority Mail envelopes were stuffed into my mailbox, each containing only one coin. In a talk with a spokeswoman later, I was told the coins couldn't be shipped in one envelope because they were drop-shipped from the vendor. Still, a waste of my money and ample reason for many customers not to come back.
Loading links....

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

Since 1985, Melissa Data has helped thousands of companies clean, correct and complete contact data to better target and communicate with their customers. We offer a full spectrum of data quality solutions, including global address, phone, email, and name validation, identify verification - available for batch or real-time processes, in the Cloud or on-premise. Our service bureau provides dedupe, email/phone append and geographic/demographic append services for better targeting and insight. For direct mailers, Melissa Data offers easy-to-use address management/postal software, list hygiene services and 100s of specialty mailing lists - all with competitive pricing and excellent customer service.

Find out more here »

DMN's Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here