House of Fraser recently went live with their new in-house fulfilment system which integrates with MetaPack to manage their home delivery. Prior to House of Fraser outsourced their stock and despatch management to an e-fulfilment company and there were a few areas of concern. First was the limited visibility: House of Fraser had minimal despatch information. Faced with the inability to track the goods effectively, they were unable to proactively assist their customers if ever a delay occurred. This in turn led to a greater level of inbound calls. Second, to ensure they were receiving the best possible service from their multi-carrier solution, House of Fraser required the ability to monitor service by carrier. The report suite was only available on an ad-hoc basis and was very complex, and didn’t consistently provide them with the information they required. Third, in the unfortunate event where goods have to be returned, House of Fraser encourages goods to be returned in store or to a Freepost address. For the remainder that need to be returned via a courier, arranging returns was a very manual and laborious process. These were among the reasons they chose to bring their fulfilment in-house but realised the complexities and costs of carrier integration.

Using MetaPack meant they were able to address each of these issues simply and at very little cost. MetaPack provided them with full delivery visibility per sales channel, enabling them to effectively manage costs and service. Tracking emails are now also sent at chosen stages of the delivery. These can be either sent to the customer care teams, their customers or both. This allows House of Fraser to respond proactively to the unexpected which proves invaluable in many ways. With the reporting functionality available within MetaPack, House of Fraser are given a complete overview of all delivery activity and can now monitor carrier performance as well as their own deliveries and costs.

For the percentage of returns that are still completed by the carrier, MetaPack manages them in the most convenient way for the retailer/shopper. MetaPack selects the appropriate carrier and service, communicates the collections requirement to the carrier, prints labels (wherever they are needed) and communicates status updates to all parties along every step of the process as required. Initiating our process has reduced the level of time and manual intervention involved previously.

Realising the benefits of using multiple carriers, and the ease with which they could integrate via MetaPack, House of Fraser tendered out to determine the best mix. The final decision was only made only two weeks before implementation proving how fast new carriers can be added, with the whole system deployment taking only six weeks. The flexibility provided by MetaPack allows House of Fraser to always offer the best quality service and the best price at all times.

As Mark Russell, Head of Operations comments, “online retail is seen as a key engine for growth, and MetaPack have has given us a complete level of visibility that allows us to consistently offer our customers a proactive response. We’re now in a position to offer more delivery options, as we believe it is an opportunity to distinguish ourselves from our competitors. The flexibility MetaPack offers us to execute change is important. MetaPack tests the concepts of delivery performance with re-writing the data”

Published on: 10:22AM on 18th January 2010