Doing ‘Well’ with Supply Chain Management and Social Media

Michelle    February 22, 2016

Imagine it’s a bitterly cold winter day, and the weather forecast isn’t going to improve anytime soon. To make matters worse, your throat feels a little scratchy and you can feel a cold coming on. On days like that, in a country like Canada, it’s easy to want to lock yourself in the house and bury yourself under blankets. But then you quickly discover, you are out of kleenex. And Cold & Sinus Advil. And your pantry is missing chicken noodle soup. You have a few options. Brave the miserable weather and try to make it to the pharmacy. Ask a friend to be a darling and face the weather you won’t. Or as a third option, quickly go online, place an order on and have your ordered delivered right to your doorstep! calls itself ‘Canada’s online Healthy, Beauty, and Baby store’, carrying more than 50,000 products from thousands of brands, that get delivered right to your doorstep. The online retailer has a warehouse in Guelph, Ontario with a second office in downtown Toronto.

For a company that lives online, it makes sense that they have embraced social media and intertwined it with supply chain. For this has facilitated itself in a few different ways. By integrating social media into the shipping process, customers are made aware of the package’s departure, but more than that, interacts with customers requesting them to photograph and post when their shipments have arrived. From an outside perspective this helps generate excitement, but internally it allows the company to confirm delivery to proper addresses, verify the condition of the shipment and hold the shipping company accountable to their shipping promises, such as whether or not they delivered on-time. Research has shown that companies that engage with customers on social media delivered goods to customers on time 94.3% of the time compared to 92.2% of companies that do not engage in social media. also uses social media to gain knowledge of their suppliers/vendors by gauging customer reactions to products and brands as they receive them. By asking their customers to rate and review products received, as well as their service, is gathering information on their vendors and their shipping partners. As an online retailer, is simply a marketer of existing brands and products. The marriage of and social media give them a stronger understanding of how customers enjoy the products purchases, which in turn, helps direct the kinds of partnerships the company has. This also provides an opportunity for sourcing new vendors. By being active on social media can be aware of what their customer are interested in and what products they care about.

Lessons for Others

Social media and the supply chain has been slow moving in the business world. It’s intimidating to be more transparent, and requires more trust from the parties involved. But with billions of people participating online it’s undeniable that adaptability and openness to change, however unknown it may be, is what consumers are looking for. isn’t a pioneer in social media’s integration into it’s supply chain. But they are an active participant, with an apparent willingness to evolve. So that next time someone is trapped at home with a cold, they pick option 3.

Industry: Online Retail
Name of Organization Contact: Rebecca McKillican, CEO

Authored by: Michelle P

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.


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