If the average business person was asked to describe, in few words, what marketing is all about, it is highly likely that terms such as customer, advertising and selling would be contained in their description. Of course, each of these terms is easily associated with what marketers do to get customers to make a purchase decision.
However, it is just as likely their description would not contain any reference to any issue related to what is involved in delivering products to customers, such as ordering systems, shipping options and warehousing. Yet, product movement is a crucial component in the process of getting products to customers and, as a result, a key variable in customer satisfaction. While product movement is far from being the most glamorous part of marketing, for many product marketers and retailers, it may be as important as any other decision.
Appreciating the importance of product movement leads us to this story from Internet Retailer. The story provides a very nice background on the technologies used to deliver products to customers as quickly as possible. In particular, the story focuses on high-tech warehousing technologies that enable online retailers to ship products nearly as fast as they receive the order. Called “fulfillment” technology by those in the business, the types of technologies utilized and the amount of money invested by companies can be quite impressive.
While warehousing may not be the most visible part of a successful marketing strategy, for product manufacturers and retailers an efficient system for moving product is necessary in order to get the right product, to the right customer and at the right cost, and to do so as quickly as possible.