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AMAZON, TARGET, WALMART AND EDI EXPERTS AGREE: HUMANS ARE NOT ROBOTS.

Online or brick-and-mortar, providing a first-rate experience still matters.

Even as sales from digital channels continue to grow, it’s worth remembering that people are not simply blips on an analytics chart. They’re emotional, not completely rational beings and whether online or in a store, smart brands are working hard to figure out how to connect with them. Just as importantly, they’re working to make sure that consumers find it easy to do business with them.

Even in this age of analytics and Amazon, it’s not all about data sets.

Customer experience matters. And it’s not just one part of it — the whole thing matters.

These days, every consumer walks around with a shopping mall 24/7. Whether it’s a mobile phone in their pocket or a computer on their desk, the age of etailing means that products are constantly available. Despite this, and contrary to claims that traditional brick-and-mortar retail is dead, people still want to be able to see, feel, hear and touch their purchases. Sometimes that will mean a trip to a physical store, and other times it will be an immersive online experience that gives the buyer confidence about a purchase. The bottom line: the experience matters almost as much as product itself.

Most brands focus on the experience before the sale. What about after the purchase?

These days, there is no shortage of discussion about the in-store and online experiences that lead to someone buying a product. And for good reason — the goal, after all, is getting orders. But it’s just as critical to follow up a purchase with an experience that makes the buyer feel even more positive about your product.

If you’re selling products on your own eCommerce store or completing EDI transactions with an established brick-and-mortar retailer, you want order management to be seamless. And flawless. Remember, your best customer is one who has brought from you before. How likely will someone be to return to your brand if their previous after-purchase experience was not positive? You already know the answer: not too likely.

“People have always gravitated toward brands, retailers and firms that provide value but are also easy to do business with and shop from,” Scott Webb, President of Avionos, a digital strategy firm, said recently. We couldn’t agree more.

That’s where order management comes in, whether you’re tasked with direct-to-consumer shipping by a retailer or you need to stay updated on inventory so you can fulfill orders from your eCommerce store. As an EDI provider, we know how to make sure your transactions with major retailers are handled without errors.

You want technology to boost positive human connections rather than diminish them. When you automate order management, you reduce manual data entry and virtually eliminate mistakes. It means you can be confident that once the order has been made, the purchase experience stays positive.

Get it right the first time. And every time after that.

When your data flows seamlessly and your order information is integrated with your ERP (NetSuite, SAP, Acumatica, etc.) or your accounting software ( QuickBooks, Xero, etc.), you make sure the final step in the customer purchase process enhances the image of your brand or your product. If it’s an EDI transaction with a retail trading partner, doing it flawlessly will also protect a valuable relationship. Sure, retailers want the right brands in their stores — they also want to work with people they can count on.

It’s only human to want a product we love to arrive on time, in good condition, and true to what we imagine it to be. As much as we live in a world that provides an extraordinary amount of data and information about consumers, the brands that succeed never forget that they need to satisfy real, live human beings.