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“The critical challenge is to make promises that you can effectively support” Walter Blackwood, director of group logistics, Mothercare

In this preview of  Internet Retailing 2012 (IR 2012), to be held in London on October 9, we have the latest in a series of interviews with speakers at the conference. Walter Blackwood, director of group logistics at Mothercare, is in the hot seat.

Walter Blackwood’s presentation, Moving from the virtual world into a physical delivery, will be in stream three of Internet Retailing 2012 on October 9. His presentation starts at 11.20am.

Internet Retailing: If we asked you for one piece of advice for retailers looking to improve their logistics, what would it be?

Walter Blackwood, director of group logistics, Mothercare: I think the critical element is to define and then be able to support a clear customer proposition right through all the elements of the supply chain. I think retailers who try to give too broad a proposition struggle to deliver it. But if you are clear about what you’re trying to do then you can align your business. So if you say that my proposition is ‘I’ll have it to you in the next six hours,’ then all the elements from delivery and warehousing to after sales support have to support that.

The critical challenge is to make promises that you can effectively support and do so economically. When direct sales were 5% of people’s turnover then if it cost a bit extra to deliver it then people didn’t notice so much. But once it’s 25% or your biggest single channel to the customer then understanding the economics of supporting that proposition and doing it effectively is critical. If you don’t do that you end up losing your shirt.

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