The way we’ve been doing stationery for the last few years is unsustainable, friends, and I’m here to explain why.
Let’s say that as a retailer, you’ve overcome the hurdle of the Internet. Your customer has done her research online, but despite the ease of ordering and the lower prices, she’s opted to take the time to order through your retail operation. Chances are, she’s not in a rush, and she values, and is willing to pay for, the white glove service you provide.
She makes her selection. From a pile of disorganized order forms, the retailer finds the appropriate form. Problem one: in an effort to position the internet as total enemy, the retailer has stated that they “just don’t have the time to stop and place the order online”, on the wholesaler’s website, if available.
Ok, no problem. Order is hand-written on a paper order form. Retailer faxes in order to wholesaler. Here we encounter problem two: for the wholesaler, the fax is unreadable. Wholesaler must contact retailer to right corrections before order can be processed. This delays proof time.
Order is finally manually entered, human error point/problem point three. No matter how hard a wholesaler tries, it is impossible to scale operations during a peak season to perfectly solve this. Additionally, due to Internet competition, it is impossible for the wholesaler to maintain trained staff during off-season.
Once the order is manually entered, it proceeds to a typesetting department, where it is manually entered again. Problem point four.
A proof is sent. Because the retailer is trying to provide white glove service for their customer, unnecessary issues are often created at this point. Spacing, type, wording, etc is painfully critiqued, and as more proofs and more back and forth is generated, frustration starts to breed on three levels: the customer, the wholesaler, and the retailer.