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Will the Holiday Season be Naughty or Nice for Online Business?

October 18, 2017

If you’re making a list and checking it twice, that list had better contain all of your compliance requirements with major retailers. Across the country, retailers have started alerting their suppliers of their policies and procedures regarding the 2017 holiday season. With analysts predicting yet another year of double digit growth in online sales for the holiday season, no one has imposed more stringent requirements than online retailers.

The New Normal of Compliance Requirements

A few weeks ago, Target.com, issued a memo to their drop ship suppliers that detailed compliance requirements needed to be followed by no later than September 29. They further stated that non-compliance would result in “grounds for immediate removal from Target.com.” Included in these requirements are:

  • Required EDI Documents: 846, 850, 855 (IA and IR), 856, 860, 864, 865, and 997
  • Delay in order fulfillment beyond one business day and/or any issue impacting Target.com guests
  • Performance expectations are: 95% OTS for Stand and 100% OTS for Expedited orders, 99% FR

In the never-ending effort of big box retailers trying compete with Amazon, it’s not surprising that strict policies like these are not only surfacing, but quickly becoming the new normal. A new study shows that 75% of consumers will purchase at least one holiday gift from Amazon this year, compared to just 48% that will buy from Target.

Looking Back to Simpler Times

A decade ago, suppliers to big box retailers were just talking about processing orders (850), ship notices (856), invoices (810), and functional acknowledgements (997). With an increasing need for retailers to offer expedited shipping and expand product portfolios, increased supplier visibility has become paramount. This has added a breadth of other EDI documents into the mix. No longer is simply acknowledging that you received an order enough.

Now you need to provide a detailed acknowledgement (855) not only confirming that you have received the order, but also confirming if you can ship the items both on-time and in-full. Being able to quickly process order changes (860) and acknowledging them (865) are helping suppliers of Target and others more efficiently deal with inevitable changes that occur throughout the online ordering process. Daily inventory status feeds (846) allow the retailer to know when to mark your products as being in back order status on their website or even remove it all together. Combine all this with the pressures of increased order velocity during the holiday season and this can be quite overwhelming.

Easing the Holiday Pains

To spend more time gift wrapping and less time EDI field mapping this holiday season, and to worry more about remembering the cranberry sauce rather than portal passwords, make sure a call to TrueCommerce is on your list and see how we can help make your holiday season much more painless.