This week we spoke with Paul Rufus, Stream’s Marketing Director, about the importance of having an online presence for any business making their own deliveries during this time.



Hi! This is the Delivery Management Podcast from Stream

So obviously you know, since March 2020 the face of online retail has kind of changed fundamentally.

There are so many changes to that particular sector, that particular market that there’s the pandemic, but there’s all sorts of other things that have clicked into place, if you like.

We’ve potentially been gearing up to this for not just the last 10 months, but I think for the sort of five or six years before that with the growth of e-commerce.

Regardless of whether you work in B2C or B2B, I think to be successful in this day and age, you need to have some sort of online retail element.

B2B that can look different. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a fully fledged checkout process and all that sort of stuff.But , if you’re just going to purely work B2B you do still need to provide some kind of online e-commerce, online ordering, portal type functionality in order to be successful.

It’s just becoming so, so prevalent and such an accepted part of a user experience that why wouldn’t you do it?

And I’m not for this minute saying that having an online presence is the easiest thing in the world. But there are so many very, very good platforms around. You only need to look at Shopify and BigCommerce and that’s what they’re there for, that’s what they specialize in. You can you can spin up a very sophisticated, very good looking Shopify site in less than a week.

For anybody in retail, I’ve seen I’ve seen coffee shops and things having some kind of additional revenue stream of selling, accessories and selling direct to consumer and and having subscriptions and being able to sell gift cards and vouchers and other things.

One of the most gratifying things over the last 10 months is just seeing how innovative places have been.

We’ve welcomed a lot of new customers, but our existing customer base have also seen an opportunity to grow their online presence anyway.

They’ve seen an increase in sales and revenue and so forth, but others have fundamentally changed their business models or added extra revenue streams in. Forced by the pandemic, but why not continue it if you can gear up?
But there’s all sorts of other things that have kind of contributed. Reading just before I came on here that nobody’s accepting cash any longer, or there’s certainly a huge increase in places not accepting cash.

And that’s because there’s not as many people going shopping, people don’t want to handle cash for the obvious reasons, but also, you know, the high street banks they’re closing. So retailers and restaurants and coffee shops and whatever are finding it increasingly difficult to cash

Stream operates within an existing and ever growing cloud ecosystem.

We’ve got integrations with various business systems. So it might be a warehouse management, it might be order management, it might be an ERP, it might be a finance package.

We are very much part of the ecosystem. And when you start looking at Shopify, for instance, that ecosystem’s huge.

And you can very quickly and easily plug in a number of other business systems to enable you to be successful. So whether it might be Xero or Quickbooks for accounting, it might be a point-of-sale and a card system.

Depending on how you’re operating, if you’ve got lots and lots of different channels. So it might be a bricks-and-mortar shop – as and when that’s back operational. It might be your e-commerce store. You might be selling through various marketplaces.

You have to have the right systems in place to make sure that you know what stock’s in place. You want to avoid stock-outs. You want to make sure that you know what stock’s available. Make sure that you’re not showing on your website that something’s available when it’s not.

Especially in this day and age where it can be increasingly difficult to get hold of stock. Issues in the supply chain, Brexit, all these kinds of things are putting pressure on the supply chain.

There’s plenty of systems out there that can help you manage your inventory, your ordering, your shipping. Whether it’s Brightpearl, whether it’s Veeqo, whether it’s Mintsoft, whatever it may be.

It’s all right plugging your couriers into UPS and ParcelForce and blah, blah, blah.

The complexities start to come in, in terms of having your own vehicles to do those deliveries. It’s making sure that you put the right items onto the right vehicles at the right time. You plan those in the most efficient way. You make sure that you’ve told your end-customer when you’re coming and what to expect. Make sure that you can collect your proof-of-delivery.
And in some respects, you know, maybe it’s more important that if there’s any issues, to manage that customer service aspect of redeliveries and expectations of those. If margins are tight on deliveries, if somebody’s not in, then you can charge them for those redeliveries and prove where and when you were delivering.

You’ve been listening to the delivery management podcast from Stream, with Paul Rufus.

It’s that kind of cloud ecosystem concept that I think is really important. Regardless of who you are and what you’re doing, relatively quickly and easily, you can have a very, very good, sophisticated online presence and sell through multiple channels, open up new market opportunities for you. That does create complexities, but they can be managed efficiently and effectively with other systems that you can plug in.