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Managing logistics for Jet.com in 6 key steps

How To

WRITTEN BY Jonathan Bellwood /

23 July 2015

Jet.com has been heralded as the eCommerce website to rival Amazon. That’s no small claim to make and after its first couple of days live it’s still too soon to tell just how much competition Jet.com will be. Its biggest selling point at the moment, arguably, is its discount prices, but in order to really out-do Amazon, Jet.com are going to need some seriously good logistics, especially in its early days.

Founder Marc Lore is currently burning money to create artificial discounts for customers while their audience grows. In order to keep customers coming back and signing up to the membership (Jet.com’s only source of profits), trust will have to be gained. The only way to foster such loyalty is to provide the ultimate customer experience across every function of the business that excels.

This morning I asked Peoplevox founder, Jonathan Bellwood, how he would manage the logistics for jet.com so that they could be be a real contender for Amazon. What follows are the 6 key steps he would take.

1. Get a system that can fulfil orders from anywhere

‘To level the playing field with Amazon, Jet.com will need to be able pick items from stores, their own warehouse, and retailers’ warehouses via a Third Party Logistics (3PL) company.’

By enabling stock to be shipped using a warehouse management system from a 3PL and their own warehouse, Jet.com will be able to scale very quickly. The quicker they can scale and develop trust with their customers, the more likely they will be able to compete with Amazon’s long-trusted logistics.

2. Ensure consistent delivery experience

‘No matter where the order is fulfiled from, it has to be a consistent experience for the customer. This builds trust that when an order is placed on Jet.com it will be received correctly 100% of the time.’

We shop on Amazon not because the prices are good (though that is a factor) but because we can trust that, 9 times out of 10, their logistics won’t fail. Jet.com have already proved themselves to be, on average, 10-15% cheaper than Amazon, so if they were able to match on logistics there’s no saying they couldn’t make some real waves in eCommerce.

3. Dynamic cut off times

‘The key to stepping ahead of the competition in eCommerce, and in particular Amazon, is to offer dynamic cut off times for delivery. This means being able to let customers order items right up to the point where you know you can’t pick, pack and despatch quick enough to fulfil that day. If your order backlog is lower than your order capacity then your cut off time can continue later.’ 

Ultimately, this means that more orders can be made on Jet.com and it reduces the risk of consumers shopping elsewhere for their products. To achieve dynamic cut off times, Jet.com will need to know exactly where stock is and how quickly each item can be picked, packed and despatched.

4. Give ‘What if...’ information

‘One of Jet.com’s smartest features is its real time data that shows the changes in savings the more you add to your shopping basket. If I handled their logistics, I would introduce complete transparency to the order process. When a customer views an item, there will be an onscreen message saying that this item had been ordered by 32 people in the last 7 days and had been received on time for 100% of those orders.’

Customers value honesty and if Jet.com have the logistics to support their order fulfilment then they should have no concerns about telling consumers how well each order has been processed. Yes, this information would also be on show to the competitors but it’s more important that the customer knows than the competition doesn’t know.

[Related:The future of data interpretation and segmentation]

5. Be overly visible through the whole order process

‘As an extension of my last point, when I order something from Jet.com I’d like to see when it has been processed, when it’s picked, packed, and on its way to me. Every step of the order process should be visible to the customer.’

Lots of retailers, including Amazon, let customers monitor the progress of their orders but few, if any, go into real detail. In the step between ‘processing’ and ‘despatched’ it would be a nice change to see exactly what point the order is at. This would be especially important on sales days like Black Friday when Jet.com’s logistics will be really put to the test.

6. Getting the product from us to them

‘This applies to every eCommerce retailer but particularly Jet.com if they really want to give Amazon a run for their money. Flexible delivery has to be a focus. Delivery to home and office, and Click and Collect are common in eCommerce now but Jet.com have the opportunity to go a step further with a Click and Drive-Thru service.’

Enabling customers to collect their orders on-route is not only more convenient for them, it could also be another cost-cutting method for Jet.com similar to their discount for waiving returns.

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