Distributed Commerce Means Higher Demands on Fulfillment

Posted on November 6, 2015 by

HSN WallOne of our partners, HSN, has recently posted about their vision and strategy for the world of Distributed Commerce. They are proposing that buyers desire and are willing to buy any product at any time.  They fully embrace this direction for their organization and we agree that the market is moving in this direction.  From small to large sellers, we continue to see our clients expand their sales channels to take advantage of this buyer shift.

We believe a company needs to evaluate the strategic value of distributed commerce from these perspectives.

  • The Buyer. Have you spent time truly understanding your buyer and the value proposition that you provide to them?   As you review these requirements, does the ability to buy from you require new channels and methods to reach those that fit your target profile?  It may be time to review your buyer profile(s) and evaluate their purchase journey to see if other routes to market add value to reach them and is profitable for you.
  • The Channels. For most businesses there will be more channel options than you can likely support effectively.  While you don’t want to miss growth opportunities, you need to make sure you can succeed on delivering your overall value proposition to your clients through these channels.  Sometimes more is less so a full understanding of the channel requirements is critical.
  • The Organization. Your organization will be impacted by expansion in most new routes to market. The impact is not isolated to the sales team because the marketing, support and operations team likely have to implement unique solutions to take advantage of these channels. Don’t underestimate the impact of these new channels each functional team in your organization.

So what does this mean for you and your fulfillment operation?  Like anything new, it is ideal to have experience and expertise before you engage. Internal fulfillment center teams are typically optimized and expert on one or a few channels.  We recommend that for each new channel that there is a complete review of the new fulfillment requirements prior to making your commitment and a checklist is created that outlines all unique requirements that deviate from your current processes.   This will help your team to understand the new expectations and identify incremental and opportunity costs hidden in these changes.