The development of a new e-fulfilment system by two graduates from Cambridge University allows online retailers powerful new insights into customer spending patterns down to the smallest detail. The creators of the cloud-based software-driven approach believe this can help e-retailers to satisfy customer demand faster, and to react more quickly to changes in demand, even down to region level.
In one recent example of what can be achieved, sales data from over 30,000 transactions was quickly analysed to reveal that orders delivered to northern English towns included a higher percentage of health foods and organic supplements than those to the South – evidence contrary to perceived wisdom perhaps?
According to the survey, the top healthy city appeared to be Newcastle upon Tyne where 43% of all orders contained health food products and supplements. Liverpool came in second at 42%, followed by Bolton at 41%. The highest placed southern city was Plymouth which was placed seventh. London did not make it into the top 30.
Although this analysis was just for fun, it shows what can be achieved quickly and easily using a real-time data-driven environment – part of the much discussed Big Data revolution.
When customers shop online, the cloud-based software used by Cambridge-based e-fulfilment outsourcing experts James and James automatically stores and analyses every detail of the transaction, and this data can be 'mined' on behalf of retail clients to allow even small variations in demand to be spotted and analysed with remarkable accuracy – and all in real time.
The result is an outsourced warehouse operation that is an asset to the marketing department providing the sort of insight that would have taken weeks of data gathering or market research in just a few minutes. Retailers can have more information than if the fulfilment operation were in-house. The system is quickly scalable as demand increases, allowing retailers to bring on more warehouses in a matter of days.
The sophisticated technology allows James and James to integrate with multiple online shops, accounting packages and customer databases, and allows logistics to be completely automated, meaning even small retailers can see benefits normally available only to very big businesses.