Fall, Football, and Fulfillment
It’s fall, and that can only mean one thing, right? If you are a professional in the e-Commerce world, it probably means peak season preparations are in full swing. Your days are likely consumed by coordinating all facets of your supply chain, ramping up your marketing efforts, and ensuring that your customers are happier than ever.
For other people, fall means football. After basketball season came to an early and abrupt halt last year, and March turned into a month of mourning rather than excitement, I know plenty of people who have been crossing their fingers, praying fervently, and wishing on their lucky stars that football would exist in 2020.
But if you’re like me, fall means both. I love football, but I also love the ramp-up to the holidays, the frantic preparations, the scramble to meet customer expectations – and the exhilaration when you do. And I’m here to tell you that these two loves (okay, obsessions) aren’t mutually exclusive. They actually have a lot in common.
Stay with me here, because we’re about to explore the similarities between football and e-Commerce. At the very least, it’ll take your mind off your overflowing inbox or that huge L your team took last weekend, and at best, it’ll bring two important aspects of your life together in a way you never considered.
5 things that football and e-Commerce have in common
Quarterback – What better place to start than the face of the team. Did you know seventeen of the last twenty Heisman Trophies went to quarterbacks? This is why everyone watching the game holds their breath when the QB goes down. It is also why you get a nauseous feeling in the pit of your stomach if a second, or even the unthinkable, third-string QB has to come into the game. In e-Commerce, the brand is like the quarterback. Not the company, not the product, but the brand – first described by David Ogilvy, the “Father of Advertising,” as “the intangible sum of a product’s attributes.” The brand is like the QB in that it is the special sauce of the business that evokes loyalty, repeat customers, and needs to be protected at all costs.
Offensive Line – It may be controversial to say that the offensive line is composed of the five most underappreciated players on the field, but that’s my stance. Much like the offensive line, the supply chain is mostly unnoticed unless there is an issue, yet is responsible for setting up the play, and for protecting the quarterback. Can you imagine how Tom Brady would fare if his line crumpled under the first sign of pressure? It doesn’t matter how great your brand is, if your fulfillment partner can’t ship your orders on time, you won’t have happy repeat customers. It also doesn’t do you any good to have thousands of backorders if your manufacturer can’t keep up with production! It is nearly impossible to have a great quarterback without a solid line, just like it is nearly impossible to have a successful brand without a reliable supply chain to manufacture and distribute the right products at the right time. Ruby Has could be your Anthony Munoz. 😉
Cornerback – I like to think of the support staff as the cornerbacks or, possibly, safeties of the team. These players must react with incredible speed and are often the only thing standing in the way of an opponent scoring (that is, stealing your customer)! Typically, if your support team has been contacted, something is wrong, and the way you respond to it will dictate whether your customer comes back or not. Picture Randall Cunningham passing to Randy Moss – that is how critical a late or wrong shipment can be! You need a strong corner, and you better hope there’s a safety nearby, too! (I’m from WV, so possibly a bit biased here.) If your response isn’t impeccable, you’re losing that customer.
Defensive Coordinator – If you’ve made it this far, you probably already know that one of the primary functions of a defensive coordinator is to develop a defensive game plan and to call plays for the defense. They need to know where the competition is going and get there first to make the interception – or at least stop them from scoring! Guess who does something similar for any company? The head of marketing. They call the plays that allow your offense to have incredible field position, making it easier for your quarterback to be successful. For instance, does your website or product rank on the first page or the tenth when a would-be customer Googles your product category? A crack marketing team uses every tool at their disposal, from grassroots marketing, to events, to social media, to build your brand and keep momentum on your side. When that potential customer is ready to purchase, the competition can’t possibly score.
Coach – There are plenty of people who subscribe to the belief that a coach’s primary function is to stand around and yell at people all day, but do you know who doesn’t believe that? Great coaches! Great coaches realize that they need a deep understanding of the game. They study the competition, they have a clear vision, and a defined roadmap to victory. They also have a keen ability to recruit great players and motivate their teams. When you think about it, isn’t that exactly like every great founder you’ve ever met?
By now you’re probably thinking I’ve stretched these comparisons to the limit, but I’ve actually spared you from the more obvious ones. Yes, your customers are like fans and influencers are like cheerleaders, but I had to draw the line somewhere. I’m just happy that football is back and peak season is right around the corner. So if you’re like me and are consumed with both right now, I hope you’ll give some thought to whether your offensive line (fulfillment company) is protecting your quarterback (brand). If not, Ruby Has can help. We understand the importance of protecting a brand, the significance of customer satisfaction, and we share a love for football!
Written by Jessica Burgess, Director of Business Development, Ruby Has