Route One were one of the first retailers to move their business online in 1998 with their fully transactional website serving over 500,000 customers throughout the last decade. With their improving sales volumes, towards the end of last year, they decided to upgrade their ecommerce systems and MetaPack was on the list. Michael Hayter, Operations Director at Route One explains, “we heard about MetaPack through a courier and general talk within the industry and after hearing that ASOS were using them, we demoed the system and were suitably impressed.” So following an upgrade to Snow Valley’s MUSE platform – a new online storefront aimed to better engage Route One’s customers – they were in the perfect position to implement MetaPack. Snow Valley is one of the many ecommerce systems fully integrated into MetaPack meaning that the automatic data transfer insures a completely seamless process from customer’s shopping basket all the way through to receipt of delivery with minimal manual intervention.

Prior to the introduction of MetaPack system, orders were processed through an in-house warehouse management system. Each order would have to be printed individually, and the warehouse staff would allocate the goods to a carrier based on their size and weight. The goods were then picked and packed with the delivery information being typed into the relevant carrier management system. Royal Mail deliveries were completed in a very similar manner, with the delivery information being copied and pasted into their despatch system.

Now Route One’s orders are transmitted from MUSE to the MetaPack system via API where they are automatically allocated to the correct carrier based on size and weight. The pick slips are now printed in bulk, and goods packed and labelled using MetaPack’s ‘Rapid Print’ functionality, where labels are produced with one scan of the barcode. Once the label is applied, Route One staff mark off the order in the Snow Valley system which runs alongside MetaPack on a second screen. The next phase of implementation will immediately update the Snow Valley system once the label is scanned and printed, making the second screen redundant. “The advantages were instant! Since the introduction of both the MetaPack and Snow Valley systems we have seen our order output increase from 400 orders per day to 1,000 per day,” says Hayter.

Although MetaPack has increased productivity and reduced the possibility of human error as well as removing bottlenecks, it’s the impact on customer service that Hayter has been most impressed with: “the major benefit of MetaPack has been the tracking. It has enabled our customer service team to quickly source information and report back to their customers in a professional and efficient manner. Whereas before we had to sift through manifests for that date and both carriers’ systems.”

Route One’s tag line is “Always First”, and they carry this ethos throughout their business. Bringing on MetaPack has improved their delivery options, which they say now have their competitors following suit. Delivery is an ever increasing concern that far too many online retailers are not quick enough to take in hand. Hayter explains how their use of this technology has been driven with a customer focus, “we feel offering a variety of delivery options tailored to customer needs is very important and as soon as we added further choice they were immediately used – signifying the demand. Because it’s so easy to switch services on within MetaPack we are looking in to offering nominated day and same day delivery in the future.”

Nick Stone, Operations Director at Snow Valley concludes, “Delivery management is important for all of our clients and MetaPack provide a really excellent solution that makes life easier for the retailer while also improving the flexibility that can be offered to the customer. Snow Valley is delighted to have MetaPack as one of our key strategic partners.”

Published on: 4:22PM on 24th June 2010