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Factors Influencing Delivery Address Amendment

Sometime in 2005, I had ordered a birthday gift hamper for my friend from one of the web based retailer in US, to be delivered on her birthday, which happened to be a couple of week later. When I placed the order, my friend was staying in Chicago, so I chose Chicago as delivery location. However, during that two-week time frame she moved to New York. Learning this, I thought of delivering gift to her New York address. So when I called customer service executive of online retailer to change the delivery address of my order, I was surprised to learn that I cannot change delivery address my order. Instead, I had to cancel the existing order and place a new one, if I wanted my gift to be delivered to another address. Unaware of supply chain complexities involved in changing delivery address of customer order, I was wondering what a big deal changing delivery address is. Is it really difficult for retailer to provide option of changing delivery address? What are the various system requirements to carry out this process? Let's discuss it...

The complexity of address amendment depends on following factors -

Order Fulfillment Method
The retailer may be using different methods to fulfill orders like, drop ship fulfillment, delivery and installation and home delivery using 3rd party carriers. In case of drop ship and 3rd party carrier orders, amendment of address may not be possible after order information has been sent to drop ship suppliers or 3rd party carriers respectively.

Inventory and Capacity Visibility to Order Management System
Address amendment can be broadly classified into two types. First is the one which does not result in postcode change. This happens when customer either wants to add some landmark in the existing address or wants to correct the incorrectly filled address, due to typo errors. As, there is no postcode change in this case, there is no change in inventory sourcing warehouse and delivery van route. Hence, address can be amended without re-checking inventory and capacity.
The other type of address amendment is the one which results in postcode change. This can happen in a situation, when customer is not available at home on the day of delivery and he/she wants to receive the order at office address. This may or may not result in change in inventory sourcing warehouse and delivery van route. If, postcode change results in change in inventory sourcing warehouse and delivery van route, then inventory and capacity should be re-checked before allowing address change. Depending on their availability, system can allow address change.

Delivery time frame
Retailers provide various delivery options like same day delivery, next day delivery, express delivery in which products are generally delivered in 2-3 days and a standard delivery in which products are delivered in 5-6 days. In case of, same day and next day deliveries, the timeframe available to modify the address is very less. Because of short timeframe, possibility of customer requesting for address change is also minimal. Hence, retailer can choose to offer address amendment only when there is no postcode change or not to offer this facility at all. For express and standard delivery orders, address amendment can be done till sales order is not released for warehouse processing.

Payment Method Used on Order
Retailer may want to do a fraud check for an order, if customer has paid by credit/debit card or gift card. This is because, it is quite likely that a fraudster, would first place the order to keep billing and delivery addresses same to avoid initial fraud check. Later, he can choose a fraudulent address to get product delivered. In such case, a call to third party fraud check system would be required while amending address. Some retailers like Walmart do not ship to a new address unless it is registered with credit/debit card issuer bank. Hence, a real-time interface to validate address with issuer bank is needed before the address is amended.

So based on what exactly is being amended in address, the Order Management system would need to check capacity and/or inventory, fraud score and order status before allowing modification. Do you think of any other factor playing important role in it?

Comments

good one..

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