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Moving Online: Using Technology to Advance Marketing Fulfillment Services

This year, OnFulfillment is celebrating its Silver Anniversary—25 years of helping businesses around the world achieve their marketing and event fulfillment needs.

To mark the occasion, we’ve spent the past several months looking back at how the company has evolved over the past quarter century. We started with a general overview of the past 25 years, followed by deeper dives into the various services that have made us an indispensable partner for our customers over the years: printing, branded promotional merchandise, and event management. Today, we’re taking a closer look at perhaps the most critical development in OnFulfillment’s history: the move to providing online services.

online store for branded collateral and event material

Early Adopters

When OnFulfillment opened its doors in 1999 as a distributor of printed collateral and promotional items for local Silicon Valley companies, our customers were primarily—if not exclusively—using e-mails, faxes, and phone calls to place their orders.

At the time, the people we worked with were mainly overworked marketing professionals or managers looking for ways to reduce their workload or trim expenses. In those days, positions like fulfillment coordinator and print buyer were still common, and our customers were looking for ways to reduce their reliance on such specialized positions.

The natural response was to move our business online, where anyone with access to the account could log in, find what they were looking for—whether it was collateral or branded merchandise—and place an order with a few mouse clicks. At the time, however, the ability to conduct online transactions was still in its nascent stages. We had to figure out a way to make it happen.

25 Years of Fulfillment

Building for the Future

OnFulfillment responded by hiring an IT team to develop a platform that would allow customers to shop online. The initial effort resulted in our first “virtual” company store, where users could log in, browse existing inventory, and place their order—right from their desktop, without ever writing an e-mail, sending a fax, or even speaking to anyone.

With the success of the online store, we soon pivoted to delivering printed material via online transactions. The first groups to really embrace this technology were our customers’ training organizations, which realized their students, including partners, could leverage the platform to order printed materials for their online classes. Before long, we were shipping thousands of training manuals from 13 global print locations to countries around the world, saving our customers millions of dollars in freight costs while virtually eliminating customs delays.

click here for 7 solutions to managing your marketing collateralWithin a few years, OnFulfillment’s embrace of technology led to the creation of secure e-books that could be produced and distributed electronically. Within just a few years, we were delivering e-books around the globe, virtually eliminating the need for printed educational materials. Once again, OnFulfillment was saving customers hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars while protecting thousands of trees in the process.

Entering the Stratosphere

OnFulfillment’s online capabilities accelerated dramatically with the addition of Nopcommerce, an open-source eCommerce platform based on Microsoft's ASP.NET Core framework and MS SQL Server 2012 backend Database. 

With Nopcommerce, our in-house IT team now had a base platform upon which they could develop new, powerful, custom solutions that addressed the specific needs of our customers. Using plug-ins to enhance the host platform and enable the unique and personalized features requested by our users, OnFulfillment quickly earned a reputation within the industry as a leading provider of custom marketing fulfillment solutions.

The Nopcommerce adoption heralded a new era in OnFulfillment’s ability to deliver ever more impressive and nuanced online capabilities. Custom solutions led to the customization of the platforms themselves, allowing customers to mold their respective sites in their own image. Not only in terms of look and feel that reflects the corporate brand, but also unique catalog views, specific payment, freight, and shipping rules, minimum and maximum order restrictions, multiple user types and associated permissions, approval queues, and much more.

Adding support for single sign-on (SSO) capabilities was another milestone. Roughly 80% of our customers access their OnFulfillment software portal via some type of SSO program, whether Salesforce, OKTA, or some other platform. The OnFulfillment IT team has built in support for all the most popular SSO solutions and can accommodate unique applications with custom adjustments. With SSO support, OnFulfillment customers not only get the associated security benefits, but can also implement user-defined access based on various factors: department, cost center, geography, job title, and more.

onfulfillment company store home page

Additional Developments

Over the years, OnFulfillment has honed its online expertise and capabilities, creating a product and services offering that is unrivaled in the industry.

Today, the OnFulfillment platform can integrate with virtually any other application through the use of APIs. Whether it is a video provider or a digital asset management (DAM) platform, our IT team will work to create a seamless integration for both users and customers.Product Fulfillment vs. Marketing Fulfillment Which Offers the Ideal Level of  Reporting?

The OnFulfillment software platform also ensures a truly global experience, offering support for multiple languages and currencies. Dropdown menus allow users to quickly switch from one language or currency to another, all with a simple mouse click. Multiple locations can be easily viewed through a single interface, allowing users to take inventory in real time in warehouses around the world. Log-in rules and permissions can take users directly to the optimal warehouse for their geographical location and job title.

OnFulfillment’s software also supports one-off solutions featuring unique landing sites and special ordering pages for specific giveaways, campaigns, and other special occasions. Temporary redemption centers can be set up to thank customers, recognize partners, or reward employees with unique pre-selected gifts. Whether you are celebrating a holiday or running an ongoing partner or rewards program, OnFulfillment possesses the online expertise to make it all happen.

Celebrating 25 Years of Service

As OnFulfillment continues to celebrate its Silver Anniversary—25 years of serving the marketing, training, human resources, and channel marketing needs of customers worldwide—we’ll continue to look back at our origins and tell the story of our evolution. In addition to providing an interesting perspective on our history, it also offers a glimpse into the history of the overall marketing fulfillment industry.

Please check back next week for the next chapter in the OnFulfillment story. In the meantime, if you have any marketing or event fulfillment needs we can help with, don’t hesitate to reach out. 

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Topics: Marketing Asset Management Company Store Custom Developments & Integrations