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Eric Channing Brown, VP of Corporate Marketing

Are You Ready for Your Chicken Sandwich Moment?

By Eric Channing Brown, VP of Corporate MarketingAugust 22, 2019

Popeyes sandwich shortage highlights the necessity of real-time inventory management

So, you’ve hyped your product so well that you can’t keep enough on the shelves. 

Nice work!

This is the case with the new Popeyes chicken sandwich, as reported by BuzzFeed.

Honestly, this sounds like a wonderful position to be in. What business owner wouldn’t want so many people clamoring for their products that folks are freaking out because of local shortages? 

Well, not the “freaking out” and “local shortages” part. But, otherwise, good job marketing team!

One could argue that there’s only so much chicken to go around. But in today’s I want it now environment, there’s really no tolerance for anything other than near-instant gratification. As Popeyes demonstrates, even brick-and-mortar companies need to have the correct technology to keep up with demand. 

We might not know what Popeyes’ full tech stack looks like. But what we do know is that consumers have high expectations—all the time—and that a business must have a flawless inventory management strategy to keep up. 

As such, enterprises need to build their infrastructure in such a way that makes sure they’re ready for a spike at any time. Not just on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, either. It’s every day for every business!

Otherwise, when customers come flocking to your brick-and-mortar or ecommerce store looking for a particular item that’s highly in demand, it might not be in stock. In such a scenario, the proverbial Popeyes customer might decide to get their chicken sandwich fix elsewhere. Who knows how many dollars would be left on the table?

Does your company have the underlying inventory management technology in place to make sure that—during your Popeyes chicken sandwich moment—you can continue feeding all of your customers?

If you’re not able to keep up with real-time inventory needs—or your ecommerce store can’t scale during high-traffic periods—you might be using obsolete database technology.

For example, Macy’s recently faced a significant increase in traffic for its ecommerce site and omnichannel catalog—both of which were growing rapidly. The company needed to improve its customer experience with real-time updates on store and online inventory levels by integrating website, mobile, in-store, and partner data. 

The company is one of the oldest department store chains in the United States and, as such, was understandably using a relational database to keep track of inventory. Unfortunately, the technology couldn’t keep pace and failed during high-traffic periods.

To meet customer expectations, Macy’s needed a database that could scale to accommodate increased demand and 10 times the amount of products. By moving to DataStax, Macy’s was able to reduce its catalog refresh time from three hours to less than 30 minutes while increasing sales more than 50% during the first of 2018. 

The company now sells any product—whether it’s in a store or only available online—without a hitch. They can track inventory and answer simple and complex queries in minutes. 

Macy’s has improved its omnichannel customer experience by delivering real-time updates on store and inventory data. Customers now know right away what’s in stock and what isn’t.

Add it all up, and the retailer has done what it needed to do to ensure its customers are kept well-fed, so to speak, and keep coming back for more chicken sandwiches time and time again.

The frenzy over Popeyes’ chicken sandwich just goes to show that legacy technologies were never intended to handle today’s real-time demands. Businesses must have the right technology in place so they’re ready and prepared for their unique “chicken sandwich” moment. Otherwise, they might very well end up with fewer sales and grumpier customers.

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