Before COVID-19 we all thought we had multichannel figured out. Then the virus hit and now billions of dollars of inventory are stuck inside stores and warehouses. Even Amazon is facing difficulties fulfilling orders for non-essentials due to its lack of brick and mortar coverage. Retailers without diverse multichannel, ecommerce presences meanwhile are shutting down stores and furloughing workers.
We’re encouraging all our retail partners to build robust inventory networks that can access a plethora of inventory sources for fulfilling orders including DCs, FCs, 3PLS, drop ship suppliers, store inventory, etc. It’s the only way to ensure that the loss of one source or channel doesn’t prevent you from continuing to move your inventory.
Any solution for such a distributed inventory network should:
- Integrate with your current systems
- Unify all cross-channel inventory and order data
- Focus on location not ownership
A solution that integrates with your current systems will allow you to start selling frozen inventory within weeks rather than months. Unified order and inventory views will streamline cross-channel communication and automation, enabling you to accept more orders, sell more inventory, and improve your customer experience. Finally, focusing your inventory and order systems on location will save time and money by priming your systems to ship the closest items using the fastest, most cost-effective shipping rates available.
As a bonus, such a solution will also allow you to experiment with different fulfillment methods to build out options like SFS, BOPIS, and drop shipping that you can hit the gas on when one or another channel is blocked.
Good luck as you expand your ecosystems!