What might an intelligent promise look like?
An intelligent promise is a commitment made between a retailer and a customer that the goods (or services) the customer has selected (size, color, installation etc.) that is shown as available, is then delivered as selected (in store collection, or shipping) on the date promised. In today’s competitive environment, it is incumbent upon retailers to meet the promise, if not beat the promise, to retain and grow their customer base. There are several things’ retailers must get right to make this happen.
First is inventory visibility and a deeper understanding of the accuracy of available-to-promise inventory across all fulfillment centers. An intelligent promise starts with an inventory picture—that can be as easy or as complicated as you like. It starts with what’s available, in store or in a warehouse, or in a drop ship area. And of course, there are other layers — is all the inventory available to sell? Is it damaged product, or product that has been reserved for someone, or maybe it is reserved for in store dissemination? A clear inventory picture is the crucial first step—since if customers cannot see the inventory, they won’t buy it. And if you tell the customer it is available when it isn’t, not only will you lose the sale, but you’ll potentially lose the customer. Second chances do not happen very often.
The second thing to get right is the promise itself—which requires a lot of science. Once a customer has found the product they want to purchase (and feel confident that it is available and can be delivered), their next question is, “when can I get it and what is it going to cost me?” Intelligent Promise capabilities enable retailers to know where the product is located, be that in a local fulfillment center, or the other side of the country. Can I offer standard delivery or express delivery, or do I need to charge a premium? Intelligent promising works from a single source of truth and knows exactly where to select the product to reach the optimum delivery time, without incurring any extra costs for the retailer.