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Satisfying the instant-gratification demands of consumers


Today’s consumers want it all. They want to buy from anywhere and have a short delivery window. Consumers expect good products and wide selection. Although COVID-19 has limited choices, prioritized products, and tempered demand, companies like Walmart and Amazon have continued to drive this model and now shoppers think every company should deliver the same experience.

Instant gratification makes consumers happy, but it is very challenging for the supply-chain side of the business. And the goal line keeps shifting as companies’ engineering and fulfillment areas refine processes and work to make near-instant delivery a reality.

For supply-chain managers around the world, meeting the needs of a consumer driven by instant gratification is challenging. Delivering what customers want when they want it requires more than a quick fix. Managers need greater visibility into the entire supply chain to figure out where to streamline and make improvements.

The demands of consumers for personalized experiences is also getting more complex. Take, for example, a customer buying a wedding dress. The salesperson assumes that the sales data from the register is updated instantly to the marketing system, impacting the email offers that shoppers receive. Meanwhile, the customer is disappointed when, the day after visiting the store and purchasing a wedding dress, she receives an email from the store with an offer related to wedding dresses.

Ideally, the systems would share information instantly and update the mailing lists at the same time. But this requires a solid data strategy that is connected with all areas of the business. This type of process, making data-driven decisions, is a work in progress for many companies.

Another example was a recent holiday craft show. A vendor couple was printing ornaments with photos on them by going to their private HTML site and uploading the photo on the spot. This kind of personalization delivers on instant-gratification and onsite-delivery promises.

A visit to a Cleveland coffee shop also showed me what ultimate customization looks like. The store snaps a photo when you order and then prints it on the cappuccino cup. That is instant customization.

The instant-gratification generation is not going to change. They are driven by getting what they want, when they want. At the same time, they are looking for great experiences and will spend money on them rather than things.

For supply chains, becoming more connected to customers is critical. Data and technology are the keys to finding the right solution to deliver on instant gratification.

Cyndi Lago is Vice President at Capgemini Invent. She advises clients on supply-chain execution strategy and digital transformation. Connect with her on operations management, e-commerce, analytics, and strategic planning at