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Using Technology To Increase Service

Jones takes customer service seriously. So much so that he may soon keep one of his stores open 24 hours a day to meet customer demand. "You don't hear me say how inexpensive we are. We don't sell on price, but on quality service. That's the future of this business. The guy who calls me urgently needing to get something to New York by tomorrow night after FedEx has left, he's not worried about money; he's worried about getting this product to this place. And we can do that," he says.

But the focus on service doesn't mean technology is ignored. "We're leveraging our brick-and-mortar stores with a tech platform designed to meet the growing demands of our consumers," says Amos.

Currently, MBE has formed an alliance with Hughes Satellite Systems. The company is putting satellites on top of every MBE center in the nation so there is complete connectivity. "It's unlimited in its application in terms of data warehousing and data mining," says Amos.

MBE is also partnering with companies like eBay to further refine the retail process. With the connectivity from its satellite system, MBE can serve e-retailers as a fulfillment company, securing transactions and providing a place for product pickups as well as inspections.

Meanwhile, PostalAnnex+ is going to great lengths to increase the services it offers by way of improved technology. "We're putting together the partnerships and programs right now that will allow us to help people set up their own Web stores," says Goodell.

PostNet has an e-commerce site where customers can buy supplies without ever setting foot in a store. Each store owner is given credit for those purchases based on his or her location.

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This article was originally published in the August 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Package Deal.

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