A bit of APT advice

Customisation may not always fit the bill of e-tailing's strategic "panacea", proposes e-business analyst Paul Koffler.

Quick fulfilment of online orders, including product returns and exchanges, should be kept a higher priority for many companies, Koffler maintains, in order to retain customers and market share.

Koffler is an analyst with aptly-named Australian online research firm APT Strategies. He was speaking about a report recently released by APT, which suggested that order fulfilment in the Australian dot-com marketplace is an "afterthought driven into the forefront when crisis occurs".

The report was based on a poll of 8438 Australians who had shopped online in the past 12 months, APT said.

Koffler said it was crucial for e-tailers to locate a balance between satisfying increasing demands for customisation and insuring immediacy of stock availability.

A blanket approach of product customisation will not benefit many dot-com retailers, he said.

E-tailers, particularly those selling "low specification, low deployment or frequently used" products should focus on high inventory availability and quick, reliable fulfilment, he said.

Cost savings made by using a per-order warehouse system often do not justify the accompanying risk of delayed delivery and reduced customer retention, he said.

"There are always going to be people who want ready-made fast food as opposed to a gourmet sandwich with a bit of this and bit of that."

Koffler acknowledged that the success of e-tailers that sell high-specification products, such as Dell Computer, was a result of customisation.

However, he proposed that e-tailers of office supplies or groceries would not satisfy customer demands using a similar business model.

The APT report recommends Australian e-tailers form partnerships with service stations and convenience stores to overcome the "major e-business obstacle" of e-fulfilment.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

More about APTAPT StrategiesDell Computer

Show Comments