Commerce Trends

by Manhattan Associates

How do I get my customers on my side?

As a retailer, from time to time it is essential to take a step back and consider the pressures on a customer. Work, family, hobbies and other commitments make it harder and harder for them to actually get out to the shops. The result is that customers demand more. Speed is essential and accuracy a must…these people don’t have time to mess around. But fear not – the solutions are actually simpler than you might think.

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Speeding up the supply chain

Recent research by Manhattan Associates found that 60 per cent of shoppers are more likely to buy from a retailer offering a two-hour click-and-collect service or 90-minute delivery dispatch. This shouldn’t be a surprise. It takes away the time-consuming aspects of getting what you need. Customers can be in-and-out, or have their goods on their doorstep right away.

 How to change

Despite the demand, only 13 per cent of retailers offer next day delivery and only 11 per cent currently ship from store. This gives a scale of the opportunity in front of many retailers. The question is, how? To implement a 2-hour click and collect service can put retailers into a state of rushed panic. And drop shipping seems like mammoth tasks. However, with the right fundamentals in place throughout the supply chain, this can be easily overcome. In actual fact, the benefits of effective multi-channel management are far greater for the retailer than they are for the customer. It all stems from a real time, single inventory pool. Visibility of all stock allows a single fulfillment strategy. This will match both supply and demand in the most profitable way. Plus speed up the whole operation.

The ability to see

Enhanced visibility allows retailers to see what stock is available where, at any specific time. Along with the single fulfillment system, retailers will be able to see the most profitable way of delivering goods to customers from the most efficient location, whether directly from store or a local warehouse. By having this one view of all stock and fulfillment options, retailers have the opportunity to make smarter decisions. The importance of meeting the demands for the customer experience is paramount. We’re seeing multiple companies changing their strategies on a grand scale – from Morrisons to HMV. The single inventory pool allow the flexibility to mix up where orders are fulfilled from. This means that capturing orders not only boost sales figures, but also profits and customer loyalty. Visibility -> availability -> sales. This is a simple flow of events. Achieveing it can seem daunting, but it all stems from a relatively simple proposition at its core: single inventory pool.

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