Emerging Best Practices in OmniCommerce Logistics Strategy

Every week I’m interacting with more and more e-commerce professionals who’s day to day job is coming up with the best methods of delivering OmniCommerce solutions for their customers. One thing I can say is there’s alot of angst and confusion out there, so I thought it might be helpful to share some of the best practices, opinions and trends that seem to be emerging.

Those of you who know me are aware of my work in coining and developing the ‘Matrix Commerce’ concept, however I’m sure you’ll have noted today that I’m using term OmniCommerce. This is simply a reflection of blunt reality, before any firm can even think of accomplishing a full Matrix Commerce implementation, they and their organizations have to master and implement the basics of OmniCommerce logistics. Think of how mountain climbers get to the summit of Mount Everest, the first step in that trek is to get to Base Camp and when it comes to implementing Matrix Commerce in your organization, the first step or Base Camp is to effectively implement OmniCommerce.

Simply put OmniCommerce is allowing your customers to effectively access, research and purchase your products in any manner they choose PC, mobile, tablet, kiosk, virtual store, in-store; and then deliver them, or have them available for pick up, when and where your customer would like. To do this you need to ensure that at ALL locations where stock is held or displayed for retail sale ACCURATE and TIMELY inventory information. Without this you don’t have a hope of delivering even a basic level of satisfactory omnicommerce customer experience.

As this post is about the logistics strategies to support Omnicommerce I will not deal with the front end ordering or online technology, but rather the logistics surrounding where product will be stocked, picked and shipped from for either delivery or pick up by your customers.

The major models being utilized to date are:

National Fulfillment Centre

Regional Fulfillment Centres

Ship From Distibution Centre

Ship From All Stores

Regional Hub Stores

Pick Up Centres and/or Lockerboxes

Direct From Drop Ship From Vendors

Each of the above will be briefly explained and then we’ll touch on some of the potential advantages and disadvantages of each approach. And of course it is important to note that the above are not mutually exclusive and many retailers will utilize a combination of approaches to support their online clients.

National Fulfillment Centre

To date this has been the most widely used model

Regional Fulfillment Centres

As customer’s continue to demand more rapid delivery service levels we are seeing an increase in

Ship From Distibution Centre

Although not optimal some have chosen to utilize their existing distribution centres to service e-commerce business.

Ship From All Stores

Some retailers rather than introduce a fulfillment centre or ship from their distribution centres have decided to ship their online orders directly from the closest store to the end customer.

Regional Hub Stores

Recently we have seen the emergence of Hub Stores (The Gap) (article link)

Pick Up Centres and/or Lockerboxes

One variant on traditional online delivery models is the introduction and use of Pick Up Centres or lockerboxes

Drop Ship From Vendors

As many online sellers seek to expand their assortment and cover more product categories in their online offerings they shift to an “endless aisle” model where products are listed on their site and kept in inventory at the original vendor’s warehouse. As soon as a product is sold on the website, the order is passed along to the vendor who then Drop Ships the product to the end consumer.

Blueberry pancakes and battleships

The typical industrial-era organization is like a battleship. Hundreds or thousands of people onboard, and most of them are essential–but most of them aren’t actually directly responsible for the work that we hired the battleship to do. Without the fuel people, the navigation team, the folks in the med corps and on and on, it doesn’t work.

The battleship can go far, with impact, and change the course of history. While it has exactly one captain, it’s the synchronized work of more than a million people (when you think about all the machinists and support folks back home) and it works. It does what we ask it to do.

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A New Social Media Muuver And Shaker

For those who don’t know me, I am a huge fan of (in no specific order): coffee, breathing, peanut butter and puns. The latter of course is the reason for my purposely misspelled word in the title above.

Ok, maybe it’s not a pun in the biblical sense but I think it’s a pun nevertheless. If you don’t agree with me, that’s perfectly fine. And while I am not the world’s greatest speller – although I did come in 2nd place in the 6th grade spelling bee a few years back, the reason for my incorrect spelling of the word “mover” is due to the fact that I want to tell you about something called “muuver.”

As per their description on the crowdfunding site indiegogo.com, “muuver is a simple to use social app that let’s you share your hypes and gripes, kudos & complaints, likes, and dislikes – about ANYTHING. muuver then takes your hype or gripe about an item and adds it to the ‘item page’ where you can see everybody else’s posts who hyped or griped about that item.”

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A New Spin On Location-Based Advertising

Location based advertising is rapidly becoming the “next big thing.” Having the ability to hit (figuratively) someone with an ad on their mobile device based on their location at any given moment in time is, well pretty darn exciting and most assuredly very promising in terms of success.

Back in April a headline on cnet.com read: Location information to make mobile ads more valuable. In the article the writer made reference to two interviews in which “the CEO of the mapping app Waze and ad executives Jason Spero from Google and Mollie Spilman of Millennial Media talked up the importance of users’ GPS location information to help tailor advertising.”

Seems the folks at Facebook are paying attention to the ever-growing popularity of location based advertising as witnessed in Parmy Olson’s Forbes column on May 9th in which she wrote of the fact that Facebook (is) In Talks To Buy Waze For $1 Billion.

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Why J.C. Penney’s Epic Mea Culpa Will Work

Back in June of last year as I became aware of what was going on inside J.C. Penney headquarters I penned JC Penney’s Epic Rebranding Fail. I heard from some in the marketing world who thought my use of the word “epic” was too harsh. My response to them at the time was along the lines of “perhaps, but we just don’t know yet, do we?”

DALY CITY, CA - FEBRUARY 28:  People walk by a...
(Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

And at that time I didn’t know if the rebrand campaign that ill-fated CEO Ron Johnson was undertaking would in fact be classified as epic when the dust settled.

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E-Commerce Success Depends on Power of Two

Customer demands for more rapid and cost effective e-commerce delivery seem to be increasing on a daily basis. In fact not a week goes by now without my speaking with retailers and etailers that since the dawn of e-commerce have successfully serviced Canada from one fulfillment operation for the country and are currently rethinking this model.

In most cases their national fulfillment operations are either positioned in Toronto or Montreal, as well as some in Vancouver, which up until now have been totally acceptable solutions. However, it definitely appears the days are numbered for a single e-commerce fulfillment operation being a viable customer delivery experience solution for all of Canada.

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Programmatic Advertising – My Curious Quest Continues

Back in March of this year I penned What Is Programmatic Advertising And Is It The Future? The opening sentence said it all: “I am by nature a very curious person especially when it comes to the world of marketing, advertising and branding.”

I prefaced my column that day because I am indeed a very curious person and in that particular context in that particular article I was referring to “programmatic advertising.”

In the piece I shared a conversation I had with Gurbaksh Chahal who is the Founder, Chairman & CEO of a company called RadiumOne. whose platform“is designed for today’s real-time,programmatic media landscape.” And while I had a great chat with Gurbaksh, my curiosity remained piqued, as it were.

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The most engaged brands on Twitter

Twitter for business


Nestivity, a social media startup developing community software tools for Twitter, released a list of the top twenty-five brands with the most engaged Twitter audiences. I have been made aware of Nestivity very recently, thanks to a post by Jure Klepic, Feathering Our Community With Nestivity.

According to the start-up, Nestivity turns your Twitter handle into a “Nest”, a place for you to connect with your followers in a more organized and structured way. It sounds promising and if it lives up to its promise, Nestivity would rank as one the solid solutions out there. I am trying it so I will be able to talk to it after I have given it a test drive.

It is only natural for a tool promoting its ability to help you organize, build and grow your Twitter community should have a privileged insight into the most engaged brands. In their recently issued list of the 25 Most Engaged Brands on Twitter, Nestivity has analyzed more than 739,000 Tweets found some pretty interesting data. 6 points worth looking into :

  1. Followers count do no count. We knew that but hearing it again will not hurt and might help shift the dialogue to more important aspects of community building.
  2. Frequency of tweet doesn’t matter, relevance to your community does. This is one of the most asked question out there and yet, it seems that whether you tweet every hour like the @NBA or every month, if your audience cares, they’ll engage with you. Show them some love with content they want to see
  3. However, it seems that Timing is everything. Find you sweet spot and leverage it.
  4. Quality over quantity. No surprise there but always good to remind brands that point 2 is even more important (ref : Frequency of tweet doesn’t matter )
  5. Multimedia is best. There again, studies have shown that people react more and better to images, videos and visuals, in general.

On a personal level, this list makes me ponder. Why did I ever waste my time trying to engage with @Starbucks (As you can see I may be hurt because on top of spending time tweeting them, I’ve spent insane amount of money at the cafes, I feel, in vain. Good, I quit coffee). @Disney never tweeted me back and that would have made a couple of little people in my house pretty happy. And I need to start to tweet @Chanel.

Check out Henry Min’s blog post over at Nestivity and the list of 25 Most Engaged Brands on Twitter (Click to enlarge)

Top 25 engaged brands on Twitter

So, what’s you take on the top 25 and the honorable mentions? Would love to hear your experience and thougts.

Karima-Catherine Goundiam is a Toronto-based consultant in digital and social media. She can be reached on Twitter,  LinkedIn or on her blog.

Initially published on www.3angelsmarketing.com


When It Comes To Integrated Marketing – The Defense Can Never Rest

I was wrong. I stand before you – well actually I am sitting as I write this, but regardless I am here before you to  beg forgiveness, to tell you I was wrong – dead wrong when it comes to integrated marketing or cross-channel marketing or omni-channel marketing or whatever other phrase you know it by.

Back in November of last year I scribed The Need For Marketing Integration – The Defense Rests. In that now ill-titled piece, I wrote of something I came across on MarketingCharts.com: Multichannel Retailers Struggle To Create A Seamless Brand Experience.

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