Fulfillment: ’Net Control
In today's economy, marketers are looking for ways to get information faster, streamline existing processes and, most of all, reduce operational costs. One area marketers should review is the marketing execution process—specifically, e-stores or sales portals where partners, the sales force or retail stores are able to order fulfillment/marketing materials, POS/POP, samples and other sales support tools. Having a single centralized e-store can drive communication between corporate and the field, reduce operating expenses, improve total program visibility, and deliver focus to your marketing execution and fulfillment strategy.
What Are the Benefits?
Also called an online inventory management portal or catalog, an e-store is an online entryway where businesses are able to manage the order and fulfillment processes for their marketing programs. From a corporate push to a customer pull, an e-store can help manage marketing fulfillment in a way that makes sense for each business and industry.
The obvious advantage is ease of ordering for end users. Beyond that, a robust e-store can provide additional benefits, including:
• A centralized location to streamline the marketing fulfillment processes for all channels.
• Complete visibility into the marketing execution process:
- executive dashboards
- inventory and order reporting
- shipping confirmations
- trends with team/products
Five Key E-store Attributes
To realize the maximum value of e-stores, look for the five key indicators outlined below to ensure program success. Many companies offer an e-store, but not all e-stores provide the same functionality or capabilities.
1. Integration with client systems.
An e-store needs to completely integrate with inventory and order management. E-stores can have multiple order fronts, but they all need to integrate into a single back end for complete inventory and order management. This is the only way to easily capture transactional data across all channels and eliminate manual processes for looking at the complete marketing execution picture. It also ensures the flexibility to change systems or vendors on the front or back end.