Fulfillment: ’Net Control
2. Third-party integration.
Seek out vendors who offer e-stores with the flexibility to integrate with third parties. This ability allows for orders to be placed in one system and eliminates the need for end users to work in multiple systems and for brand managers to manage multiple sites, making the task of keeping your programs organized and up-to-date less daunting. In this integrated model, orders can be placed on the e-store, triggering a drop-ship order with the third-party vendor. Once the order is completed, the third party sends back an order confirmation containing tracking information and the e-store closes the order. Vendors also should be able to integrate e-stores with customer care systems, client bank and financial institutions, regulatory agencies, Web sites, and client enterprise resource planning applications.
Although most e-stores offer reporting, it is important that the e-store selected offers business-specific modules to help with demand planning, forecasting, auto-replenishment, vendor management and more. Look for vendors who offer standard reporting and executive-level dashboards. Standard reporting allows management to access general inventory and order information. Dashboards are generally customizable, delivering executive-level information with drill-down capabilities for detailed information and trend analysis.
4. Brand customization and
Designed to meet specific business rules, as well as to adhere to industry requirements and regulations, e-stores should have the ability to be completely customized to a business's brand. Additionally, the e-store should allow brand managers to add new fulfillment materials and products easily and provide best-of-breed search capability; for example, Amazon.com's search results model is one to emulate. Such high-end functionality lets a user search products by type, brand or promotion. Another crucial feature is template ordering that can be set up by a brand manager and pushed to the field for editing/updating. This simplifies the ordering process for users and saves time by always having the bulk of what is needed by users prepopulated in the e-store for future use.