Commerce Trends

by Manhattan Associates

Making sub-seasons a success

We all know that gym chains have their best month in January, following lots of well-intentioned New Year resolutions. Retailers are well prepared for Valentine’s Day, Halloween and Christmas. However, there are many more mini seasons within seasons, where inventory turns are high.

Used well, sub-seasons are powerful, they can drive profits and encourage impulse buys.  However, without an agile supply chain, retailers could be left with inventory that has to be heavily marked down to clear it and avoid it taking up prime selling space within a store or taking up space in a DC when the next merchandise is being promoted.

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Here are some top tips for removing complexity and boosting your profitability during sub-season and beyond:

1)      Make it personal

Customers love useful customer service.  Imagine the scene, a customer is looking for a Valentine’s gift for his wife.  He’s unsure what to buy, but the store associate can pull up his details and remind him what he has brought for the last 3 years. The associate can now make informed suggestions for this year’s gift based on the customers preference, the product range and product availability.  An order management system (OMS) is the tool that helps make that possible.

2)      Sprint  ahead with speed

For some customers, next day delivery is too slow.  When back-to-school season hits and school uniforms are in high demand, retailers need to find inventory from their nearest sources….and quickly.  Multi-channel agility is key for sub-season success and an OMS serves as an orchestration engine, finding the fastest – and most profitable – route to fulfil each order.

3)      Empower your people

Sub-seasons typically create a short-term demand for customers and thus increasing the number of multichannel order enquiries, and as your contact centre agents or store associates are the frontline support for many of these requests, they need to be fast and helpful.  Therefore, they need to be equipped with immediate data such as customer transactions, product availability – data an OMS can consistently provide.

For more insight in to making the store network work harder and improving the customer experience, click here.