STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 40
n BUSINESS OPERATIONS
Grove Collaborative reduces delivery times and improves customer satisfaction
by JULIE KNUDSON
uch of ecommerce today revolves
around the shipping game. How
quickly can consumers have the product in
their hands and how inexpensively can that
happen? But for brands, the questions go
beyond when and how much. At natural
products retailer Grove Collaborative, the
team was dealing not only with customers'
expectations, but also their own need to
streamline operations and boost their
insight into the impacts shipping has
on their bottom line. To reduce costs
and increase customer satisfaction, they
turned to GrandCanals and its Fulfillment
Intelligence Cloud platform.
With only one small warehouse located
in California, the shipping times at San
Francisco-based Grove Collaborative
weren't keeping pace with the industry.
"From California to the East Coast, our
time in transit was six to seven days,"
says Roni Rae-Staples, head of fulfillment
operations. "That's too long. Amazon
changed that for everyone."
Shoppers, having grown accustomed
to the fast delivery options offered by
STORES April 2018
Amazon and other mega-retailers, are
less apt today to settle for yesterday's
shipping times. They're also hesitant to
pay extra to get the quick turnaround
they can find for free elsewhere. "No
one wants to pay for shipping,"
Simply compiling and understanding
the data that drove Grove's shipping
program was presenting problems for
Rae-Staples and her team. Gathering
information across the various shipping
carriers was difficult; between trying to
pin down details such as the company's
shipment volume and how much they
were paying, she says, "It was 20 to
25 percent of my week. That was a
huge chunk of time for me to dedicate,
especially when you're a small company."
Rae-Staples needed a better way
to identify inefficiencies, to spot
opportunities for improvement and to
deploy changes that would help Grove
compete in an era where consumers are
increasingly sensitive to delivery timing
Grove isn't the only ecommerce brand
transforming its approach to fulfillment.
Sean Wilcox, vice president of marketing
at GrandCanals, says one driver for
change is the dominance of the online
consumer. With online sales gobbling
up space on the sales pie charts and
Millennials occupying a larger portion of
buying power than ever before, Wilcox
says, "They're demanding a certain level
of speed and convenience."
In addition, what he calls "the Amazon
effect" is also pushing retailers to find
new ways to meet the needs of their
evolving consumer base. "Many people
have experience with the time, cost and
convenience of delivery that Amazon
delivers," Wilcox says. "They now expect
that type of experience."
Specific to retail, another factor
upping the stakes on fulfillment is that
consumers haven't forgotten what it's like
to get something right now. "Traditional
e-tailers set up their website based on
product, but for retailers it's about the