Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My Order Shipped In 2 Hours and 21 Minutes...And Not From Amazon

My amazing girlfriend and I have been planning a trip to Thailand and it's rapidly approaching. Since we're going to be spending a good amount of time near the water, she mentioned investigating an underwater camera. The first time she mentioned it was the afternoon of 3/12, a Wednesday. On 3/13, a Thursday, she had clearly done some more research and was circling making the purchase (I'd recalled seeing similar behavior with a pair of really cute winter boots). So, during the late morning of 3/14, a Friday, on the way to the gym, I decided to surprise her with an underwater camera. But, my cleverly-orchestrated, surprise gift would only work if I could get her the camera before she bought it herself.

**It's important to note, she lives in Minneapolis and I was in California at the time (KW - clarification)**

On the way out of the locker room, I opened up the Best Buy Android app, found the Go Pro Hero 3 Silver Edition & and SanDisk 16 GB memory card and I bought it. Then, it started getting weird.

At 11:20 AM, on Friday, I got the following email:

That's nice, and while it's generally accepted that a website sends an email on confirmation immediately following an order, I was surprised that got one from Best Buy (and I work for BBY).  Now, I usually buy research online and buy in-store, so this might not be news to regular bestbuy.com online shoppers. But, it gets even weirder.

At 1:41 PM, on Friday, I got the following email:

As a customer, I'm was shocked, in the best kinda way. I did the math to discover that they processed my order and got it shipped in under three hours. From the perspective of a customer, that is a pretty amazing experience (I was delighted). But, as an employee, i got to see how an organization's hard work pays off, 1st hand.

Now that I was focused on following the bread crumbs, my investigation didn't stop there. I clicked on the tracking link, which is blacked out above, and starting following this package, slowly at first, but more fanatically on the day of delivery. The tracking table, in its entirety, is here:

After clicking on the "What's This?" link, I learned a few things:

  1. Order Processed: Ready for UPS: UPS has received the electronic transmission of the shipment details and billing information for this shipment from the sender. Once the shipment is moving within the UPS network, the tracking status will be updated.  - A 3rd party was able to verify receipt of the completion event that BBY shipped this item REALLY FAST, though the verification was done at 3:04 - 3 hours and 44 minutes after order.
  2. Origin Scan: This scan is the initial electronic record indicating UPS has possession of the shipment.  -  UPS was in possession of my package less than 9 hours after I ordered it.
  3. Delivered: The shipment has reached its destination, and the date and time of delivery have been recorded. In the U.S. and Canada, residential deliveries that do not require a signature may be left in a safe place, out of sight and out of weather. This could include the front porch, side door, back porch, or garage area. If you have instructed the driver to leave the shipment with a neighbor or leasing office, the driver will leave a UPS InfoNotice® at the delivery address.  - The next business day, after getting home from work and relaxing a bit, my incredible girlfriend had her gift in hand - SURPRISE!!!.

The day of, I was so excited that this was coming together so quickly, that I was obsessively refreshing the tracking page, starting at around 5:30, to see when the package would arrive; not to mention all the excuses I made to excuse myself and check on something (which was really checking for package delivery). And when it arrived, and I got to see her open the box, and it was pretty awesome.

Now "how we do it" is very interesting, but not nearly as important as "that we do it". For more details on our "Ship From Store" program, you can read an article here. The short of it is, we've turned all 1400+ stores into mini-distribution centers that can fulfill online orders and do it quickly. And we're just getting started...I can't wait to see how efficient the supply chain will get over time.

And because my order was for more than $25 dollars, it shipped for free. 

Now I'm a BBY employee, and the views above are my own. However, as a consumer, I was delighted and thought the experience was very cool and worth sharing.