The e-retailer heads into the holiday shopping season behind a 30% increase in fulfillment spending and a widening net loss. North American sales increased ...
Using a customer-focused web-based ordering and customer service system to support its growing specialty in selling personalized golf products, GolfBalls.com saw its revenue climb 25% last year to $4.5 million from $3.6 million in 2002.
Using a customer-focused web-based ordering and customer service system to support its growing specialty in selling personalized golf products, GolfBalls.com saw its revenue climb 25% last year to $4.5 million from $3.6 million in 2002. “The most demanding customers for personalized products are online,” says CEO Tom Cox. “Many of them want something printed the same day, but if I had to outsource that, I couldn’t do it.”
Cox charged his in-house IT director to build a system that would transfer customers’ information for personalized products directly over the web to a database that produces pick-pack-and-ship sheets that include the personalized name for each order. As the orders are printed out near the personalization printing and embroidery machines, workers scan the name off the sheets to automatically enter it into the software that operates the machines. “When the order comes in, it’s a pretty seamless, efficient system that otherwise would be labor-intensive,” Cox says. The system avoids inaccuracies by eliminating physical re-entry of customer information. “We couldn’t do this without the web,” Cox says.
Once products are personalized with a printed or embroidered name, workers scan the order sheet to automatically send an e-mail confirmation to the customer as well as an update to a web-based inventory management system.
Instead of taking days to process and fulfill orders for personalized products, GolfBalls.com, which also sells through Amazon.com, can now get orders out in a single day, Cox says. Saving on time and labor also enables him to afford processing smaller orders, expanding his reach with individual consumers as well as groups that seek personalized golf products.
After offering personalization only on golf balls, Cox is now moving into other products like caps, towels and even golf bags. “The more personalized items we can offer customers, the better relationships we build with them,” he says.