If you’re ever having a bad day, one of the best things you can do for yourself is participate in a little “schadenfreude,” a German word meaning to get satisfaction or pleasure from the misfortune of others. Take this YouTube video, for example, where a woman is texting as she walks in the mall. Her lack of attention at what’s in front of her results in her falling into the mall fountain. If you’re really having a bad day, you should watch the remix, which pokes fun at her explanation and anger over being laughed at.

While funny YouTube videos are always a nice way to spruce up your day, in all seriousness, the mall fountain video does encourage some discussion on how prevalent our cell phone usage is these days and how we’re increasingly using them more as we shop. In one study where global consumers were asked questions about their mobile communications habits, 82 percent said they embraced connected digital services. The next time you go to a store, take a look around to see how many people are on their phones.

Shopping and mobile usage go hand-in-hand, and shoppers are using their phones for a wide variety of things: to take pictures of things they bought to put on Pinterest, air complaints on a company’s Facebook page, or look around to see whether or not they can get a particular item cheaper somewhere else. It really has become an age where the consumer has all of the power. Therefore, with that in mind, the question must be asked of how a supply chain can thrive in such an environment. Here are several things that come to mind.

A good warehouse is the key to customer satisfaction: If your warehouse is out of sorts, you’ll lose money and customers too. Your warehouse is the backbone of your supply chain and will determine inventory and order fulfillment, so treat it as such and ensure that good practices are being followed. For example, if you’re noticing more inefficiency in labor than usual, why not consider using a labor management system?  This will allow you to put the right amount of people on when they’re needed and avoid overstaffing or understaffing.

Your call center is the voice behind your business:There is nothing more frustrating than calling a call center about an issue and knowing right off the bat that the person on the other end of the line really doesn’t care about your situation at all. Prevent angry customers with proper training and an established protocol to ensure customer success. A growing number of people are taking their cases to Twitter or Facebook as well, so this is an area where good customer service can be achieved too. If customers leave comments, make sure to have someone ready to answer them in a timely matter.

Visibility is pertinent in online retail:Most brick and mortar stores have online storefronts as more customers become comfortable with e-commerce. When a customer hits checkout and submit, they expect to be aware of the order’s status throughout the process until the item reaches their door. If you aren’t able to provide tracking information and status updates, they probably won’t shop with you again.

Although mobile phones and digital communications are changing the way retail is defined, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. By adapting, you can embrace this new type of consumer and enjoy new avenues for revenue.

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Ashely is always on her phone like everyone else in the world. To see more, check out her Twitter @ashelymarie1985.

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