Fulfillment Goes Digital
If you’re currently leveraging the Web to enhance your organization’s fulfillment efforts, you’re probably on to something. But if you haven’t yet integrated digital fulfillment in your marketing program, consider how it can help you achieve your goals and why it may behoove you to explore this approach.
Perhaps your goal is to increase response, reduce time to market, improve customer satisfaction or gain a competitive advantage? Whatever it is, digital fulfillment may be precisely what your marketing program needs to reach that next level. Highly customized brochures, downloadable software, streaming videos and e-mail are among the formats being used to deliver requested information and promotional offers, as well as to distribute products via the Web, and these formats are popping up across all industries.
“What I’m seeing in the day-to-day world is consumers are more demanding, more Web-centric and Web-savvy, and they expect instantaneous results,” says Tony Sziklai, president of Moulton Logistics Management, a Van Nuys, Calif.-based fulfillment company. “Digital fulfillment takes it to the next level for a lot of direct marketers who have been using traditional channels. Now they can really bring their consumer to the Web and do all kinds of creative things and make more money in the process.”
Go for the Benefits …
When it comes to the benefits of digital fulfillment, one that resonates well with marketers is the ability to decrease overall costs, particularly when it’s feasible to transition to electronic product distribution. “Software that can be downloaded directly is extremely low-cost,” says Jay Catlin, president of Valencia, Calif.-based AMS Fulfillment, citing one application for digital fulfillment. Another cost-related benefit Catlin highlights is how the Web approach can eliminate the need for an intermediary to capture the data, such as a call center. “The benefit that I like for [those marketers collecting customer data] is the fact that it’s a low-cost response mechanism. All the data is right there to capture, and the time to do that is to start between the consumer and the Web site,” he explains.