Near Real-time is NOT Real-time

April 6, 2020

We are all being affected by COVID-19 and there appears to be an emerging “new normal.” Part of that “new normal” is the eCommerce effect.

Best Buy is not letting you go to a store and purchase something from an associate. By requiring you to purchase on-line, the buying process is changing for companies like Best Buy.

Recently, a friend lost her smartphone and could not find it.  If you are like she is, the phone is a vital tool in your everyday life – especially now. So we went to the nearest Best Buy to purchase a new phone.

After arriving, we were told we could not enter the store and purchase one – even if we knew  what we wanted. So we went online and while we did, the rep told us they were
out of stock. But he showed the next nearest store had one.

We ordered it online since there were 2 in stock and got in the car and drove for 20 minutes to the store. En route, we got a text and an email confirming that they had the order and it was being fulfilled.

When we got to the store, the rep there did not see our order and had to go into the store and check.  Upon returning, he told us that they were out of stock and we can go to another store to get it. Frustrated to say the least, we spoke to the manager. He confirmed that the item had been sold out an
hour earlier.

We asked why the system said they were in stock when they weren’t. He said the online system has a delay in updating availability – not real-time. He said that the other rep should have called him to confirm availability before we got in the car.

After a bit of debate, the manager went in the store and found a phone like we had ordered. He said he would call the customer who ordered that one and tell him there would be a delay. And then one of the Best Buy reps would go to another store to pick one up for him. We got our phone – luckily.

What is the lesson you can learn from this? Near real-time is NOT real-time.

If your eCommerce solution is not real-time, it will cost you money and customer satisfaction at some point. With COVID-19, all errors are magnified and accentuated. Learn from companies like Best Buy and make sure that your pricing and availability are accurate and current.

To ensure real-time accuracy, make sure your eCommerce solution uses realtime APIs to query price and availability. A batch update that is scheduled is only near real-time and can be expensive when it fails you.

APIs are application programming interfaces that allow applications to read and write to your ERP system. APIs are the key to real-time and not near realtime.

About Grey Wolf Systems

Since 1992, Grey Wolf Systems has focused on integrity, responsiveness and quality.

While technology has evolved over the years, Grey Wolf has tried to be one step ahead of their customer’s needs. We have evolved from networking to data warehousing to EDI and eCommerce.

Becoming experts in eCommerce and EDI solutions allows us to specialize in our core competencies.  Partner Connect is Grey Wolf’s EDI solution and Altitude is Grey Wolf’s eCommerce solution. Both of them are based upon APIs and Web Services.

Offering consumption-based eCommerce and EDI applications sets Grey Wolf apart from the competition.