Commerce Trends

by Manhattan Associates

Black Friday is fast approaching, are you ready?

Shoppers are getting excited to see what bargains they can get, retailers participating are hoping to see their sales peak…..but are they prepared for the fulfilment of those orders?

Last minute preparations are likely to be in full swing with communications to stores, call centres, web teams to ensure they are ready and the warehouse workers are getting prepared for a manic few days of picking like they have never picked before.

Girl with shopping bags

But what can retailers do to help ensure Black Friday is hitting them positively in terms of revenues and press headlines:

Visibility

Being able to join up all the data dots, allowing for a single view of stock that is available to fulfil every order is going to be crucial for retailers to ensure they aren’t making promises to customers they can’t keep.  They have the data to analyse from last year to help guide them in their preparations, but when the clock strikes midnight, having the ability to dynamically re-allocate inventory where it is needed is going to be crucial.

Expectations

One of the hardest tasks for retailers generally is managing, meeting or exceeding customer expectations, and even though shoppers know peak promotions mean extra busy retailers, it doesn’t mean they always lower their expectations for service.  Therefore, as part of their preparations for Black Friday, retailers need to also ensure that the service they provide is consistent with their brand promise.  Real-time information can be key to this, by seeing what is happening, retailers can turn the dial on their promotions to ensure they set the right expectation.  For example if a product is flying out of the door, having the ability in real-time to change the delivery constraints could maximise profit without changing the price.

Returns

It is crucial that retailers are prepared for the likely increase in returns they are set to receive in the days and weeks following Black Friday.  They need to have a plan on what they are going to do with them to maximise the re-sale potential at full price.  Therefore, should the return be suitable to be re-sold, retailers need to make this available to their entire network, regardless of where it is located, therefore, increasing the opportunity to have an order placed against it and avoiding it being marked down.

Ultimately, regardless of Black Friday, any product in stock anywhere in your network needs to be available for delivery to any channel. That requires more than just a single view of inventory – it demands total control.  A smart omni-channel Order Management solution at the centre of your business will consolidate order information and transactions into one repository, allowing for hundreds of complex calculations to be made in an instant, based on real-time stock locations, availability and delivery needs, it’s not rocket science, it’s shopping science.