Anyone remember when retailers and mail order companies only had to promise to deliver within 28 days? While that mysterious mail order law still exists in many countries, we have moved on and are now promising customers’ delivery the same day, even in less than half an hour for some orders.
Delivering on that expectation can be done by Multi-channel retailers with complete visibility of global stock in real time, in every location, so retailers are able to make all their inventory visible to the customer, and therefore available to buy.
However, same day services will still not work unless retailers can not only see inventory anywhere, but fulfil it from any point within their network – and this requires processes and systems to be aligned – particularly within the store environment, where personnel and back-end solutions have to incorporate DC capabilities alongside traditional retail requirements. Something, that is still very new for traditional stores.
This need to be Ready to Execute is retail’s big challenge; as companies expand into new channels, locations and geographies, the underlying infrastructure only creaks further. There is still a large gap between what retailers want and are able to deliver. Where they are able to deliver on their customer promisethe sheer number of manual processes that have been added to make up for a lack of automation can challenge profitability. Retailers who are eliminating carrier costs by fulfilling click and collect orders from store stock experience far lower costs per order and therefore maximising profit opportunity. This is a great example of using systems to optimise Multi-channel profit opportunity.
The successful retailers are not those that will simply modify their existing back-end systems to meet these new functionality requirements, but those that build a new platform to enable fulfilment from anywhere in their network, giving them customer-centric delivery.By matching inventory to the customer, retailers will be able to fulfil on promise, maximise profitably and gain customer loyalty. Win-win all round!