What happens after BFCM?
Once you make it through BFCM, what happens after? It’s no easy feat for today’s Merchants to tackle the biggest shopping holiday of the year. But just because the week is done, doesn’t mean the work is over. Merchants will have to take stock and evaluate what worked and what can be improved for the upcoming holiday season.
If your business struggled to keep up with demand for BFCM you should be seriously considering improvements to your systems and strategies now — while there’s still time to improve before the end of the year. A survey of 1,899 Shopify merchants from AMER, EMEA & APAC detailed that businesses that had a successful BFCM or holiday sale planned more extensively and started their planning earlier.
If you noticed during your previous BFCM that it wasn’t your applications themselves that created issues, but rather your processes between those different applications that resulted in chaotic inventory issues, an untenable amount of returns, and dissatisfied customers, you wouldn’t be alone. etail returns are a growing problem, as reported in the U.S., retail returns jumped to an average of 16.6 per cent in 2021 versus 10.6 per cent a year ago.
Let’s take a deep dive into what scalable data integration processes can do for your business to improve returns processes and the overall customer experience.
How Data Integration Can Create Seamless Connectivity
Data integration connects disparate applications together, allowing for consistent automated movement and delivery of data to create business processes across a wide range of applications.
During high-volume sales periods, there is an influx of traffic that results in increased sales and then returns and exchanges that put pressure on all applications across your business. In order to get through this time without major failures, you need to make sure your integrations to your applications are scalable and elastic. Setting up a strategy that encompasses your entire technology stack by diving into your business rules and understanding how data may be bottlenecked in your system is the first step. Using Integration Connectors like VL OMNI’s can connect your return applications like Return Bear to your ERP, eCommerce store, WMS etc.
So, basically, all your disparate business applications and systems can be neatly tied together with Connectors that put your data where it needs to be.
The key benefits of data integration include:
- Handle high-volume data movements with ease. Integrations are agile to change and adapt to your business
- Integration connectors can be configured based on your business needs.
- Move data from point to multipoint and bidirectional in ways that are meaningful to your business.
- Gain business intelligence and visibility of data of your sales channels to consistently deliver a great customer experience across all touch points.
Thinking Ahead: How To Prepare For This Holiday Season
Thinking ahead and planning strategically is the best way to prepare for the holiday returns season. What are the key things businesses need to keep in mind when planning their data integration needs? Let's break down a few essential components.
- Map Out The Customer Experience: Mapping out how data moves from checkout to delivery then back again for a return or exchange from application to application is key to understanding how data gets moved, processed, and integrated across the disparate systems that make up the powerful back-end technology stack that allows your business to do what it does.
- Creating an automated management system for returns: If you have more than three people ‘touching an order or return’, your customer experience needs some improvement. There are probably many potential loopholes in your fulfilment and return process that need to be optimized. By not implementing automation into your business process, you are likely losing money in time wasted and potential human error through all the people interacting with any single order.
ReturnBear and VL OMNI Can Help Transform Your Customer Return Experience.
If your customer returns experience is a problem now, the sooner your business starts building agility across back-end systems and operations to create a great customer experience, the more long-lasting benefits your business will have.
Look for experts who can help you strategically plan and give recommendations on how to improve your customer experience for the next holiday season. Using services like ReturnBear allows you to use its infrastructure and logistics expertise. And for cross-organization integration, take advantage of VL OMNI’s technical expertise by going in-depth in mapping data flows throughout your application stack with your specific business rules in mind.
The Customer Experience Matters Even After Purchase
It’s the busiest times that illuminate the foundation-shaking cracks in an eCommerce business that is struggling with its business processes and customer experience. Even after the purchase has been delivered, the customer experience continues with the product and how your customer then engages with your brand via returns items or exchanges and future reviews. The relationship between customer and brand continues for the lifetime of the product, and brands who wish to create loyal customers must consider the lifetime customer experience for each customer.
In the context of high-volume sales periods, that personalized customer experience needs to scale quickly and with agility. Putting together a haphazard mix of DIY integrations or cheap plug-and-play integrations often will break down and impede the growth and scalability of your business at the worst possible moments — like right in the middle of the holiday sales season.
At all times of the year, high-quality data integration can save an eCommerce business time, money, and unhappy customers this holiday season. Data integration iPaaS service providers like VL OMNI approach complex problems like customer experience from a data and API-centric perspective. Built on cutting-edge technology, VL OMNI’s Connectors are not only agile and scalable at any volume, but they include applying your business rules to the data as it moves from application to application.
Blog is written by Vanessa Matos — Digital Marketing Manager at VL OMNI. As an integration platform partner for real-time, agile, and scalable iPaaS data integration, VL OMNI empowers businesses to accelerate growth by integrating their systems, channels, partners, and applications together in ways that matter most to them.