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Holiday preparations include systems for omni-channel commerce

By Lightwell | Tue, Dec 02, 2014

With the holiday season approaching, retailers are preparing a multitude of processes and technologies to ensure their success during this time of year. With predictions for this year's holiday consumer spending reaching an all-time high, it is critical that vendors are fully prepared for the rush of orders that will inevitably come in. This becomes even more critical as customers leverage a range of channels to connect with merchants and make their purchases. As such, companies must guarantee that their supply chain and order management strategies are ready to handle anything the season might throw their way.

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What the 2014 holiday shopping season has in store for retailers: Top 3 predictions

By Lightwell | Fri, Nov 21, 2014

The holiday shopping season is quickly approaching - in some cases, retailers have already begun offering special merchandise and discounts just for this time of year. It is during the next two months or so that many merchants make the bulk of their profits for the year, and thus focus a great deal of effort on making the next few weeks count.

When preparing for the holiday shopping season, it is helpful to look to expert predictions, not only to know what to expect, but to be ready for anything that might come up during this time of year. In this spirit, let's take a look at some of the top expert forecasts for this year's shopping season, and how retailers can plan ahead.

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Tapping into the $100 billion holiday retail market with omnichannel commerce

By Lightwell | Tue, Nov 18, 2014

The holidays, as everyone knows, are the retail industry's version of the World Series. At no other time in the year are companies more competitive and consumers more invested than during those crucial few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's where money and reputations are made (or lost), a time when an organization gets to see firsthand if its most impressive initiatives are able to stand up to the increased traffic and attention. 

Omni-channel commerce has disrupted the retail paradigm considerably. We've seen, in the last few years, that many customers are moving primarily or completely to online purchasing, while the ones who prefer the brick-and-mortar experience are often supplementing their in-store shopping with research, price comparisons and online-exclusive deals. Meanwhile, many retail organizations have realized the importance of a consolidated experience on the back end, and the need to innovate within order management, transportation, inventory and customer service practices to get customers the goods they want, faster. It's a whole new world. 

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Omni-channel commerce: Fulfilling high expectations

By Lightwell | Tue, Nov 11, 2014

The rise of the customer-centricity is certainly a trend that every e-commerce company has had to deal with, probably in multiple ways. As a development, though, it's not all that surprising - with more resources available all the time to browse, shop, compare and make decisions, it's no surprise that customers are more empowered than ever before. 

It's also likely the case that many retailers struggling to move to omni-channel commerce can understand when customers are dissatisfied, since they've been there themselves. The rise of consumer-centricity is more reflective of a rise in options rather than a shift in philosophy. Those who work in the industry are also on the flip side of the equation as consumers, and deal with many of the same annoyances - and enjoy the same positive experiences - that their customers do. Of course, there's less pressure on the consumer side of the divide - it may be frustrating to learn you could have gotten a better deal elsewhere, but making a misstep generally doesn't have the same degree of consequences that can hit an organization that's misfired on its e-commerce objectives. 

So the approach here becomes, how can you fulfill your customers' high expectations, as well as your own expectations for how successful your company can be?

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What a cool summer and bees can teach us about order management

By Lightwell | Thu, Oct 23, 2014

We often think about the supply chain as a system, with its many parts (hopefully) comprising a fully functional whole. These system parts are usually workers, tools and processes that enable supply chains to get rolling. Any interruption or problem in one of these system components can end up affecting the performance of the others. What we may think about less often is the fact there is another system - the earth's ecosystem - that impacts supply chains as well. Most industries deal with changes in the weather or in the environment to a certain extent, but because supply chains are so large, any strange behavior or prolonged change from the normal can be magnified in its impact. 

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Top four e-commerce pitfalls to avoid

By Lightwell | Mon, Oct 20, 2014

E-commerce has firmly established itself as the next great horizon for retail. However, anything still developing can pose problems for pioneers, whether they're early adopters or arriving after the first settlements have sprung up. We know a lot of things about how e-commerce works, how consumers react to it and how it's changing the future of retail and supply chains forever, but there are also many things that we don't know. These blind spots can create problems, which, if left unchecked, can metastasize. Any one of these issues could end up slowing growth and crippling a company's bottom line.

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It’s Time for a Smarter Order Management System

By Lightwell | Mon, Oct 13, 2014

Let’s face facts—odds are good you probably overestimate the quality of customer service you are delivering. You’re probably underperforming. Did I grab your attention? Good! It doesn't have to be this way, but with studies showing 80% of CEOs believing they deliver superior customer experience but only 8% of their customers agreeing, it’s probably the right time to grab you by the lapels and shake you up a little.

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5 ways to leverage order management software for business satisfaction

By Lightwell | Mon, Sep 29, 2014

The supply chain world is short on silver bullets, but order management software comes pretty close. The nuances and complexities of the modern supply chain are such that any attempt to tackle all the variables and answer all the questions lies outside the scope of virtually every solution, so it's important that the tools companies do invest in can optimize as many functions as possible. To that end, order management systems cover a dazzling array of key processes and supply chain workflows, and are a key part of the foundation for any supply chain build out.

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Is your order management truly aligned with customer demand?

By Lightwell | Thu, Jul 31, 2014

At first glance, the answer seems obvious - of course order management is geared toward customer demand. But a closer look finds that there are many factors, with variable scope and effects, that influence the alignment of order management strategies. Many organizations may not be aware of the misaligned processes and not-quite-optimized project management strategies that can disrupt the supply chain and impact a company's capacity to develop business relationships or fulfill its customers' orders.

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Why go omni-channel? For your customers, of course.

By Lightwell | Mon, Jul 21, 2014

E-commerce has proven to be a major boon for businesses with the foresight to supplement their traditional storefronts with digital services. In today's market, however, it's no longer enough to simply have a website for prospective customers to browse. To remain competitive, businesses need to actively engage their clients, taking them by the hand and guiding them through every stage of the order fulfillment process. The demand for more oversight and greater integration between internal channels has driven adoption rates for omni-channel solutions.

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