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Michael Hathaway

Preview and clone the Apps discussed in this article here:

Over the past few weeks, the Patterns platform has been used to help eCommerce businesses reduce costs by automating and optimizing their operations. In this post, we will discuss how Patterns customers are using our platform to make their businesses more efficient- specifically, by:

  • Providing a clear overview of existing Order Statuses, from placement to delivery or return
  • Automating preemptive customer messaging to limit inquiries and re-market
  • Provide an audit trail for performance of fulfillment partners- from 3PL’s to Carriers like USPS or UPS

Trackdown Your Orders

Order management is stressful.  The complexity of the problem lies in the number of tools that most eCommerce businesses use.  Yes, these tools are designed to make life simple- but the sheer number of dashboards necessary to monitor all of an eCommerce business’s metrics has never been higher. This is the exact problem that Patterns solves for eCommerce businesses.

As shown, Patterns connects directly to all of your data-sources, imports existing order statuses, and provides a clear Master tracking of orders throughout the fulfillment lifecycle. Within Patterns, you can call API’s, use data from webhooks, and run SQL queries (all in the same environment) to help automate the exact tracking dashboard your team is looking for.

Patterns brings big data to every business.  Our data app marketplace allows for data to be ingested from popular sources easily, manages the complicated data infrastructure process, and helps get real-time data in front of the right decision makers and analysts.

In this example- once an order is created, it shows up as a line item in Patterns’ table with an expected “next step” and sends a message to the right team if action is required.  This makes it simple for businesses to reference a single order, a day’s worth of orders, or zoom out to analyze bigger trends across their order history.

This is a prime example of how Patterns simplifies the ingest, transformation, and visualization processes- and all can be set-up in minutes!

For your ETL processes, Patterns also connects to popular messaging services via API or webhook, allowing customers to automatically push notifications to their customers based on an Order’s status.

Delight Your Customers

Limiting customer inquiries is essential to minimizing operational costs and providing a high quality customer experience.

That high quality customer experience is essential because, according to industry analysts, 96% of consumers say customer service is an important factor in their choice of loyalty to a brand. Upon placing an order, 72% of inquiries are related to the current status of the order on its way to be delivered to the buyer.

Patterns’ customers are using the platform to power messaging automations, reducing inquiries and improving customer lifetime value- both decreasing OpEx costs and increasing revenue.

In this use case, identifying delays a business experiences in the delivery process was the first step.  These broke down into:

  • Fulfillment delays
  • Inventory delays
  • Carrier package delivery delays

Each client then set a standard SLA to be assigned to each step in the delivery process- ie. Fulfillment step should be completed within 24 hours of an order being placed.

Now into Patterns.  Using a combination of cloned data workflows and custom SQL and Python nodes, either internal or external alerts were sent.  Examples looked like this:

  • If an Order is placed and should be fulfilled “in-house” and is not updated to Shipped within 24 hours, send a Slack alert to the Owner and a text message to the fulfillment team
  • If a package should be delivered within 4 days and is not updated to delivered by the 5th day, send an email to the customer alerting them of a delay and offering a 5% discount on future orders.

The secret sauce to this step is 2 fold.

First, multiple platforms typically are responsible for tracking a current order’s status.  For instance, Shopify may be tracking the initial order view but a 3PL is responsible for shipment of that item- so an eCommerce business might be tracking an order both in Shopify and in a platform like ShipBob.  Patterns combines data sources into a single source of truth for your business.

Second, the data for managing a carrier’s delivery status is archaic. By making assumptions about a package’s delivery status update (or lack thereof) and its location, businesses can identify delays and preempt a customer inquiry with a proactive message.  This has proven an excellent opportunity for those businesses to remarket- often providing a discount on a future order for the small inconvenience- increasing LTV.  Patterns powers this entire ingest, transform, and ETL process within a single flow.

Spend and Negotiate Wisely

A huge part of the cost of running a successful eCommerce business is managing fulfillment costs.  Industry analysts estimate that 18 percent of every dollar gained through online sales goes towards fulfillment costs.

In order to help manage these costs, eCommerce businesses need insight into their specific costs for:

  • Shipping
  • Fulfillment labor
  • Warehousing

Using Patterns, customers ingested spend data from their Accounting Software (Brex and Quickbooks), their shipping quote service (Shippo, EasyPost, or within Shopify), and their fulfillment services (ShipHero and ShipBob).  Then, using SQL nodes within the pipeline, customers were able to create independent (and high level) views of 3rd party performance.

Example 1:

Customer A used a 3PL to send out their shipments.  That fulfillment company agreed to ship out their packages within 2 days of receiving the order.  Customer A found through their analysis in Patterns that the promised SLA was not being met over 15% of the time. This data was not available within the 3PL’s platform and Customer A was able to negotiate a lower fee in their next contract.

Example 2:

Customer B paid UPS for 3 Day delivery for 12% of their orders.  They found that the actual performance of UPS 3 Day delivery averaged nearly 4 days.  Customer B immediately reduced their usage of this service and negotiated a lower cost for UPS 3 Day Service in their next contract with UPS.

Wrapping Up

Managing the costs of running an eCommerce business is essential to success- especially Customer Service and Fulfillment costs.  By marrying all of your data in a single point of truth, creating an easy to digest visualization of that data, and then automating actions based on specific parameters- businesses are able to lower their OpEx costs dramatically.  If you haven’t thought about how your data can save you money, it’s time to start having that conversation with your team (or ours!).

Preview and clone the Apps discussed in this article here: