Better Customer Experience, Personalization and Global Growth All Keys to Continued Ecommerce Expansion

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Experts Sponsoring Multichannel Merchant's Operations Summit Provide Insights Into Cutting Costs, Increasing Productivity and Boosting Customer Satisfaction

Merchants are meeting customer demand by focusing more on creating a better customer experience, according to e-commerce and catalog operations experts who are sponsoring Multichannel Merchant’s 2014 Operations Summit, which will take place in Indianapolis, IN, on April 22-24, 2014. The Operations Summit helps merchants boost productivity, cut costs and increase customer satisfaction by providing a gathering place for operations leaders to exchange ideas, tour leading direct to consumer (DTC) distribution centers and get in-depth training on topics like how to prepare for the 2014 holiday season.

These days, this frequently means creating an improved “omnichannel” experience. Whether they are mobile show rooming, ordering online with in-store pickup, returning an online purchase to the store, and new contact center or communicating with a merchant via live chat or social media, these new multichannel customers expect a great seamless experience, according a 2013 report by the Aberdeen Group.

“If we learned anything from this past holiday season it’s that consumers are continuing to blur the lines between shopping channels and expect nothing less than a seamless shopping and service experience,” said Andy Lloyd, GM of Commerce Products for NetSuite. “Meeting the expectations to buy anywhere and get anywhere requires a single, integrated system that can provide a 360-degree view of the customer and inventory across all channels, in real-time. Delivering this seamless shopping experience is what’s going to drive success in 2014.”

As consumers become savvier and demand more from merchants, the merchant who is best able to personalize the shopping experience will have a better chance of success in 2014. In the report, “10 Trends Changing How You Will Shop in 2014,” The Fiscal Times says that the trend is not only toward personalizing the shopping experience, but also personalizing the actual merchandise. So in addition to merchants personalizing their messaging and media, they will also be taking advantage of new technology that allows them to do mass customization of such products as cell phones and sneakers. .

“One of the biggest trends we saw among our clients during this holiday season was the increased customer demand for personalization services,” says Matt Konkle, President of e-commerce and fulfillment company Fifth Gear. “Embroidery, engraving, and other customized options not only drove significant revenue in Q4 2013, but also had a positive impact on retailers’ customer satisfaction levels. We’ve seen this trend carry over into 2014 and fully expect personalization to become a mainstay in retailers’ operations for the foreseeable future.”

Asian direct-to-customer fulfillment companies will come on strong in 2014

Another trend is the increasing globalization of operations and fulfillment, making automation and other cost-reducing measures more important than ever. Surprisingly, the labor and shipping economics are starting to work to enable online retailers and third-party order fulfillment centers in Asia to ship products to the U.S. and still be profitable. In 2013, customers who ordered products online from various companies located in the U.S. may have been surprised to receive them from an order fulfillment center located somewhere in Asia. Merchants in the U.S. need to protect their brand, says Ken Myers, Director, Tension Packaging & Automation, which designs, builds, and integrates automation solutions for order fulfillment centers. “Merchants should reduce their labor and shipping costs per package in 2014 by looking for ways to be more efficient and automate their operations here in the U.S. if it makes sense.”

For merchants doing business globally, understanding transit patterns in different countries is vital in order to meet shipping commitments. “The most critical aspects of meeting transit time commitments for international shipping is helping to ensure that your freight forwarding network has sufficient capacity to handle spikes in volume, and having robust mitigation plans in place to handle any contingencies,” said Michael Lamia, Vice President of Global Network Operations, E-commerce at Pitney Bowes Inc. “During the 2013 holiday season, we planned ahead with freight forwarders months in advance, closely monitored order trends, and collaborated with air freight suppliers, customs brokers and final mile carriers throughout the process so we could successfully meet service-level agreements.”

Operations Summit attendees can expect more insights like these at the April event. Learn more here:

About the Operations Summit
The Operations Summit ( helps merchants boost productivity, cut costs and increase customer satisfaction by providing a gathering place for operations leaders to exchange ideas, tour leading DTC distribution centers and get in-depth training. It is the only conference exclusively devoted to e-commerce and catalog direct-to-customer operations and fulfillment. The conference covers Warehouse, Order Management, Picking, Packing & Packaging, Reverse Logistics, Inventory Management, Shipping, Distribution & Delivery, Technology, IT & Systems Integration, Transportation, Customer Service, Call & Contact Center, HR/Workforce Management and Payment Processing & Fraud Prevention.

About Multichannel Merchant
Multichannel Merchant (, producer of the Operations Summit, reaches management, marketing and operations professionals’ at companies that sell merchandise through multiple channels—including e-commerce and catalog. Multichannel Merchant delivers research, executive summaries, technology and supplier comparisons, tip sheets, news and resource information to help companies sell and deliver products direct-to-customer.

For more information, see:
Omni-channel Customer Care: Empowered Customers Demand a Seamless Experience

10 Trends Changing How You’ll Shop in 2014

IBM Study of 30,000 Global Consumers Shows Importance of Personalization

2013 Digital Commerce Holiday Season in Review: Top 3 Observations and Lessons Learned for 2014

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Kevin Sghia
since: 02/2012
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