Working for a fulfillment company, the word “integration” is part of our daily language. It’s the glue that holds our business together. But, integration isn’t just a term to describe the spaghetti platter of data swirling behind the scenes of eCommerce. It defines who we’ve become as savvy consumers. I would like to officially coin the term “integrated shopper” and say that I wear the badge proudly. My weapon of choice? My smartphone.
Here’s a scenario: I’m sitting in my car waiting for my son’s baseball practice to end and decide I want a new lamp for my office. From my phone, I search online for one I like…one that provides enough detail to make me feel like I’m holding it in my hand at the store. Then, I Google the image to search all of cyberspace for the lamp and pull up a list of who’s selling it and at what price. If it appears on the shopping site of a local retailer, I check to see if it’s in stock at a store on my route home from practice. Or, I decide if I want the convenience of having it delivered. If I’m a loyalty member of said retailer, I open their app to see if I have any points or coupons to apply to the order or do a quick online search for coupon codes.
That’s what I mean by being an “integrated shopper.” It’s using all the digital data available to find what I want, at a price I’m willing to pay, within a timeframe that works for me — all from my preferred device. Shopping is a new game of strategy. In our fulfillment business, we focus on integration and data exchange as an integral part of the service we provide because it helps our customers attract those savvy, integrated shoppers. Offering real-time inventory feed is an absolute must and accuracy is expected. Whether you’re selling into retail, via online retail or from your own shopping site, data integration should rank high on your list of priorities and be a part of your daily language as well.