Using vendor Convey, Bodybuilding.com is able to more quickly access information on shipments so it can proactively take action when there are issues or delays.

20-year-old online retailer Bodybuilding.com wanted to get its logistics and fulfillment management in tip-top shape.

To achieve this goal, the online retailer of supplements and fitness apparel and accessories—and more recently subscription services for workout programs—began using delivery management vendor Convey in August 2017, says Greg Dahlstrom, vice president of logistics for the retailer, which generates more than $200 million in sales annually.

Convey works by offering insights to both Bodybuilding.com customers and the retailer’s employees. For the consumer, Convey enables Bodybuilding.com to provide shoppers a link to a branded landing page that has the same look and feel as Bodybuilding.com, including the retailer’s coloring and logo. On that page, the customer can see shipment status—such as out for delivery—as well as the day her order will arrive. The retailer sends the shopper that link the moment she places the order. The shopper also can sign up for text message notifications about her package, Dahlstrom says. Before using Convey, Bodybuilding.com sent shoppers an email with a tracking number when her package shipped. The shopper would then have to visit the carrier’s website to check delivery progress, Dahlstrom says.

Internally, Convey provides Bodybuilding.com with more information regarding the status of shipments so it can proactively take action when there are issues or delays. “We use about 10 different carriers and, from a customer service perspective, having to monitor all the carriers and spot problem shipments was too difficult,” Dahlstrom says. “So we would just wait for customers to tell us there was a problem.”

Convey provides Bodybuilding.com with access to a central hub for shipping. When a Bodybuilding.com customer service employee logs into Convey, she can see shipments with issues there, such as ones that have been returned to Bodybuilding.com, are damaged or are undeliverable. This enables Bodybuilding.com to see issues across its fleet of carriers and take action. For example, if it sees a shipment is damaged, it can automatically have a new one sent to the shopper before she opens her box to find the damaged goods. This also eliminates the need for the shoppers to take the time to contact customer service to get a new order sent out.

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“Now we can be proactive,” Dahlstrom says. “We can say, ‘Hey, we realize this shipment is damaged and we’ve already shipped you a new one.’ We want to start taking action before the customer even recognizes there is a problem. When we take action ahead of time, it shows we are concerned, and what could be a bad experience is at least a neutral or even good experience because [shoppers] are impressed with how we handled the issue.”

Convey also provides Bodybuilding.com with analytics for all the carriers the retailer works with, including the percentage of orders delivered on time, broken down by carrier. Additionally, on the branded order tracking page, consumers can leave feedback about their orders. If they leave poor feedback, they can choose from several categories, including shipping. Bodybuilding.com can see negative comments related to shipping and the carrier used for those packages. Bodybuilding.com also can view the percentage of packages with delivery exceptions—such as delays, damages and address problems—by carrier.

“Where’s my order” calls into customer service in the first two months of 2018 dropped 13% for domestic packages compared with a year earlier, Dahlstrom says, and he attributes most of that decrease to Convey. Anecdotally, customer service employees report spending less time having to monitor and resolve issues with packages, he adds. And Bodybuilding.com’s NPS, or Net Promoter Score, which measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company’s products or services, increased in 2018 over 2017—rising to 85 out of a possible 100 compared with 80 for 2017,  Dahlstrom says.

Bodybuilding.com pays an annual licensing fee for the Convey software. Setup was simple. The process took a couple months, but most of that time was spent working with carriers to get the data Convey required. The service uses an API to connect each order with carrier tracking and package data, Dahlstrom says.

Earlier this month Convey added new features to its offerings, including the ability for companies to identify shipments at risk for delays, such as shipments that weren’t picked up from a warehouse when scheduled or when a shipment’s delivery status hasn’t progressed for several days. Other updates include the ability to assign owners to shipment management tasks and collaborate across teams and carriers to share files, communicate and track activity in a single dashboard.

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“For too long, exceptions have been viewed as an inevitable part of scaling ecommerce businesses, but it doesn’t have to be that way anymore. Why is it possible to track your pizza’s progress as it’s being made, yet you can’t do anything about a pair of shoes or an elliptical trainer being shipped across the country?” says Rob Taylor, co-founder and CEO of Convey. “[Convey helps turn] exceptions into opportunities to differentiate your brand on service, before a customer ever knows there’s an issue.”

Convey’s clients include Neiman Marcus, No. 43 in the Internet Retailer Top 1000, Jet.com (owned by Walmart Inc., No. 3) and Eddie Bauer LLC (No. 93).

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