The old retail supply chain model has become outdated and inefficient. Customers still enjoy the ritual shopping excursions and 95% of customers transactions still take place in a store. But customers are becoming more technology savvy and the next generation wants so much more. And what they want varies from store to store, even within the same industry. Omni-channel Fulfillment is creating a system that brings your product and your customer together in multiple ways within the existing business structure.
How you communicate with your customers becomes key. In an omni-channel environment, businesses communicate with their customers by phone, email, text messages, social media, websites, mobile sites, and in their stores. It may seem obvious that the older generation is more comfortable with using their computers, while 20-somethings are comfortable doing it all through their smartphone. A good Omni-channel system should be able to cater to both groups.
In a survey conducted by Kurt Salmon Consulting, it shows that different age groups have different priorities when it comes to their purchasing habits. But what all age groups can agree on is that they like savings and convenience. Customers like getting email and text message discounts but they also want to be able to see the inventory online. And all demographic groups like the idea of being able to make returns easily
A good omni-channel warehouse management system (WMS) can help you streamline your process from door to door. It tracks your inventory from the time it comes through your door to the time your customer receives it. It increases the communication between departments and, because it simplifies the process, reduces the need for extensive employee training. It compiles the data into user friendly formats so companies can see problems that need solving and identify trends. Then companies have the ability use the data to predict what their customers will want in the future.
In addition, omni-channel fulfillment is also a way to personalize the shopping experience. By utilizing technology that can capture customer preferences, you can suggest products they want, even before they know they want it. Customers can receive coupons that were chosen for them based on their preferences.
For brick-and-mortar stores, it reduces customer service complaints. Employees can look up products for customers in real time. Every employee, from the warehouse worker to the CEO, will be able to look up inventory, run reports, and communicate with other departments.
For businesses that are not tech savvy, it’s good to know that a large number of companies have paved the way. A variety of channels are open to businesses and the risk for trying them out is minimal. A good omni-channel fulfillment system is flexible and allows companies to analyze your inventory, learn, adjust, and repeat.
Omni-channel fulfillment is a way to give your customers an intuitive shopping experience while at the same time making your job easier while increasing your return on investment.