Process strategy has been a focus of this class, and we’ve seen how decisions made in a process strategy can give a company a competitive edge. I was curious to see how brands that value convenience but are not known for that aspect of service are competing with companies such as Amazon and Walmart when it comes to home delivery. My hunch was that a company that places luxury or exclusivity higher on its list of priorities in terms of customer interaction would struggle to keep up with Amazon Prime and other similar services while keeping that reputation and brand identity intact.
Willis Weirich is the senior vice president of supply chain and operations for Neiman Marcus, a high-end clothing, home goods and furniture brand. Weirich noticed a lapse in the classic, reliable customer service Neiman Marcus usually provides in person when it comes to delivery. So, Weirich’s supply chain team and the customer care group researched and recorded the bulkiest delivery jobs in attempt to identify and remedy problems before the delivery date. They were able to do this with a new software called Convey Software Inc. I liked how this article pinpointed exactly how Neiman Marcus was able to tackle this problem and restore the trust and reputation the brand has worked so hard to exemplify to its consumers and competition, while still being able to offer a service in high demand.
Through my research, I found that deliveries from high-end brands are often referred to as “white glove deliveries.” Another example of a company seeking to maintain its reputation with specialized delivery is The Saatva Company. The Saatva Company is known for selling luxury mattresses online, and it announced in January that its delivery service now includes delivery, set-up and removal of the old mattress, all free of charge. Ron Rudzin, CEO of The Saatva Company, said the new service offered by his company, “speaks to our continued commitment to deliver luxury products and service at affordable prices.” The Saatva Company has 23,000 5-star reviews, combined with a 95% + customer satisfaction rate, Saatva is the best reviewed online mattress company for 8 years running. The company has worked hard to build a reliable, luxurious brand and continues the trend by upgrading the normal quick delivery service to match its high-end profile.
Although Amazon is a huge competitor, one writer for the Wall Street Journal believes that its strategy to keep growing will be its limitation. Christopher Mims points to Google, Microsoft, Salesforce.com and Oracle Corp. as providing specialized services and white-glove treatment for business essential assets. Since Amazon has expanded its platform to sell so many different items, it becomes difficult to offer specialized service for specific items. That’s where Neiman Marcus, The Saatva Company and Oracle Corp. move in with a centralized focus on just one or a few product lines done very well.