As Caraway Home broadens the channels through which it sells, it confronts new challenges in ensuring visibility and efficient order fulfillment, says Mark Riskowitz, vice president of operations.
Caraway Home is an omnichannel retailer of high-end kitchenware. Launched in 2019, it began life as an e-commerce seller, then moved into drop-ship marketplaces and brick-and-mortar retailing. In the last category, it currently works with Crate & Barrel, Nordstrom, Target and the Container Store.
Distribution for all channels comes from a single pipeline, supported by two warehouses operated by a third-party logistics provider. “They run both e-commerce and retailer fulfillment,” Riskowitz says.
For Caraway Home, the biggest challenge relating to fulfillment is maintaining control over the delivery process. With much of its product being handled by the big parcel carriers, “it gets to the point where you have to leave it up to them,” Riskowitz says. Yet the company strives to provide a consistent experience across all types of customers, with full visibility into the status of orders and shipments.
How does the brand stay in the loop, and respond quickly to any delivery glitch? “We’re very customer-centric,” Riskowitz says. “We like to own every interaction of that experience.” That means being highly proactive when service failures occur. “Ultimately, we always have their back. Whatever the situation, we’ll cover it.”
Central to Caraway Home’s technology stack is an enterprise resource planning system, but it’s far from a legacy tool. Rather than serve solely as a means of processing transactions internally, the ERP is a key tool for communication with supply chain partners, both from a software and physical infrastructure standpoint.
Riskowitz’s advice to other omnichannel merchandisers: “Respect the supply chain.” Otherwise, “the process might run into challenges that you’re not able to recover from.”
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