As a retailer with multiple channels and/or physical locations, if your business is not looking at omnichannel fulfillment as a must-have strategy going forward, then you are already behind. Omnichannel is no longer just a nicety but a necessity for retailers.
What is omnichannel fulfillment?
In the simplest terms, omnichannel fulfillment, also known as omnichannel order fulfillment, is the ability to provide a seamless customer experience across all channels. Achieve this experience by interconnecting all channels and locations and treating all inventory as a whole available for all networks to access and fulfill from.
An example of this would be if you start your shoe search on Feature.com. Next, you go to the store to see and try on the shoe in person. However, they don’t have your size in the store. So the store associate looks online to check inventory, and orders the shoe to be shipped directly to your home, completing your purchase.
The goal is to enable customers to seamlessly travel through all channels during the entire journey of a single purchase.
Why should companies embrace omnichannel?
Omnichannel is now an expectation by consumers, not just an option for providing the best possible customer experience. In fact, 90 percent of customers expect consistent interactions across channels.
And customers aren’t the only ones who benefit. Companies with extremely strong omnichannel customer engagement see a 9.5 percent year-over-year increase in annual revenue compared to 3.4 percent for weak omnichannel companies.
How can companies shift to omnichannel?
Omnichannel order fulfillment requires investing in your business processes, technology, and people. To start the transformation to omnichannel:
Invest in an order management system.
In 2019, 53 percent of retailer respondents to a Statistica survey indicated that they planned to invest in order management systems technology to improve the omnichannel fulfillment services of their company. This is the number one investment mentioned in the survey. An order management system can help direct which warehouse or store to fulfill the order from. In addition to optimizing fulfillment costs, and allowing faster fulfillment for every order.
Organize inventory with a warehouse management system.
Full visibility of all inventory is required to achieving an omnichannel strategy. Because creating a seamless experience across channels is impossible without knowing the location of all inventory. A warehouse management system’s design optimizes your warehouse organization and storage. In addition to improving your picking and packing processes.
Train your team on technology.
What use is any of these great tools if your customer service team does not have access to them? The most visible step in omnichannel fulfillment is your team’s interaction with customers. Whether this is in person or online it is equally important. Empowering your team with visibility into inventory across channels allows them to provide the best experience for your customers.
Want to learn more about how your business can transform to omnichannel?
Talk with one of our experts who have helped hundreds of retail businesses like yours achieve omnichannel success.