A mechanical flywheel is a device that uses the conservation of angular momentum to store rotational energy. The proverbial flywheel is a circular process that uses the snowball effect to spin faster and faster over time. A portion of the flywheel in Commerce is successfully fulfilling an order leading to more future orders being placed. And a trouble-filled fulfillment of an order can bring the whole circular cycle to a halt. 


During the check-out process, the best practice is to share an estimated ship date or a delivery date so that the shopper knows when the item should arrive.

This action is critical when the item is a gift that needs to come before a special day such as a Birthday, Anniversary, or Valentine’s Day. And it allows the shopper to decide if they want to pay for more expensive shipping that will get it there faster.

In today’s age of social media, where celebrities and athletes share what they are eating, wearing or doing in real-time, shoppers expect to stay informed about shipping progress. Once the order has been placed, the shopper expects the item to arrive by the communicated date. And whether or not the order fulfillment process goes smoothly will significantly influence whether the shopper will place another order in the future.


Keep Shoppers informed with micro order updates.

Typical updates about the order include “items being prepared for shipping,” “shipping information sent to the carrier,” and “items being picked up by the carrier.” These help manage shopper anxiety and eagerness to receive the item. When there is a delay along the way, whether it is communicated and how it is communicated can make a big difference.

This Holiday Season, I had a few orders sitting in a “delayed” state for some time. When I called Customer Service, they had no better information about when they would receive inventory or if they would ever fulfill my order. They offered to cancel, but that knee-jerk solution wouldn’t satisfy why I placed the order in the first place. I want the item I ordered!

Retailers have generally been proactive in communicating that due to COVID-19, some items would be delayed in making it to their final destination. However, they still need to keep shoppers informed on an order-by-order basis to avoid shoppers calling Customer Service to find out what is happening to their order.

The best that I can hope for in these supply chain-challenged days is that the seller proactively keeps me informed. I want to know if they cannot meet the initially communicated delivery date and then keep me periodically updated so that I’d at least know that some computer program is aware that my order fulfillment is still outstanding.


When there is transparency in the process, the fulfillment experience provides additional momentum in the find-buy-get flywheel.

When it comes to sharing the micro-steps the order goes through from placement to delivery, more is better. Shoppers want to stay informed about their orders, which is an opportunity to delight.


Could your customers be unhappy about your fulfilment process? Are you missing an opportunity to wow them at this crucial point so that they keep coming back again and again?

Pivotree has developed a proprietary Friction Scoring system to help online sellers analyze their customer experience and determine where best to remove friction so that business Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will improve. Contact Pivotree today at [email protected] to see how we can help you deliver a Frictionless Commerce experience.


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