Unpacking I-commerce: The huge impact of many small digital moments

A friend of mine recently ordered pet food online and got an email saying that it had been delivered. In the email was a photograph of the item sitting on a doormat. Trouble was, it was her next door neighbor’s doormat. She walked next door and realized the box had already been taken inside. She rang the doorbell, explained the mix-up, and had her package in minutes. Instead of being annoyed at the carrier for the mistake, my friend was grateful that the process created the clue that led to her walking home with her pet food.

What makes this happy ending possible: digital data. This was not an expensive order, but she still had transparency. She got an email saying the item had shipped; she got an email from the carrier saying when to expect it. And the digital photo quickly made the wrong delivery right.

Consumers appreciate and increasingly expect this kind of transparency. Business buyers, oddly enough, often live in a different world. They may place a very high-value order on the phone with a distributor, who may fax or email it to a supplier or manufacturer. The buyer often has to call or email to learn the order status and possibly request an important change if it’s still in process. If there’s confusion in the order, the manufacturer may call the distributor for clarification and days, even weeks of delay can pile up. Or, various actors in the chain of activities may just guess at the order’s intention . . . and be expensively wrong.

When we talk about “digital transformation” at Inxeption, it can sound like an intimidating concept to some traditional manufacturing companies who have long used distributors to handle their order fulfillment. But what digital processes do is clarify and validate dozens, even hundreds of small steps that create transparency for a company and its customers. Digital capture of the order process is now possible using Inxeption EasyOrder, which allows distributors or past buyers to log in from their desktop or even mobile device. Just entering an order on a standard form and choosing from pre-specified options or past order lists, limits the confusion that can result from a phoned-in or faxed order. In addition to more precision in the original order, and automated confirmation of its receipt, next comes automatic generation of a tracking number and notification of shipment. Patched-together manual order processes simply can’t do these things efficiently or consistently.

What falls away: Customer phone calls, emails, and texts to distributors that require follow up, at each step risking that a message may be overlooked or misplaced, or that a call is not returned. Questions relayed like telephone tag can result in answers and assurances that are far from precise. What also falls away: Frustration and friction in the transaction that can leave a sour taste in a buyer’s mouth and lead to them shopping for a new supplier with better order processes.

Don’t let your out-of-date processes erode your customer relationships and cost you time and money with mistakes and delivery confusion. Transform manual processes into digital ones. Efficiencies, insights, and happier customers will follow. Ultimately, digital order entry on a platform like Inxeption's is a key step on the path to creating a better relationship with buyers that can result in direct, and more profitable, online sales.

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