Without robust omnichannel programs, retailers have less assortment, sell less of their inventory, and offer much less customer choice. All of which translates into lower growth and revenue. And yet building a scalable omnichannel program is a labyrinth of financial, technical, and multi-team challenges that can quickly turn into a money-pit with little or no growth to show for it.
So what’s the best way to build a robust program?
The single most important thing retailers can do when creating their omnichannel strategy is focus money and energy on their supply chain. A well-planned supply chain will be the backbone for all cross-channel initiatives. Specifically, retailers should make sure inventory location receives more weight than ownership when making fulfillment and shipping decisions.
Focusing on location allows retailers to break down internal and external supply chain silos that might prevent items from being included in online assortments or orders from being fulfilled. This will lead to more online inventory, higher fill rates, lower cancellation rates, and faster shipping times. In short, location-based order fulfillment creates a high quality customer-centric experience that is the goal of omnichannel retail, resulting in happy customers, more sales, and higher growth.
So make your supply chain the star of the show. Your customers will love you for it!
PS: Customer communication is also extremely important for omnichannel. Setting the right fulfillment expectations, communicating each stage of an order’s journey, and quickly following up about any issues that occur will go a long way towards gaining, retaining, and delighting your customers.