We are featuring a guest blog post from Dave Andrews, Director of Marketing and Communications at Reflexis on the Visible Value Blog! Dave's post reveals that senior retail executives rate store-level omni-channel operations as top priority, but give low ratings to current systems for operational efficiency and ability to execute.
Omni-channel processes such as Buy Online/Pickup from Store and web order fulfillment are crucial to the success of brick and mortar retail. Operations such as “Click and Ship” and “Click and Collect” enable retailers to leverage their store inventory to fulfill e-commerce sales faster and less expensively than from a Distribution Center (DC), fulfill customer instant-gratification needs, and increase conversions through “endless aisle” product availability. Leveraging store inventory to fulfill online sales can also reduce the need for price markdowns.
But in a recent survey conducted by RIS News, senior executives of mid-sized and large retail chains gave their organizations low marks in terms of omni-channel execution. Here’s how executives rated their in-store omni-channel systems in the report, which you can download here
- Just 35% say they have up-to-date technology for Buy Online/Ship from Store
- Only 26% say they have up-to-date technology for Buy Online/Pickup In Store
- 23% say they have up-to-date technology for monitoring social driven demand
- And only 23% say they have up-to-date technology for responding to weather events
Furthermore, when asked to rate the importance in terms of positive impact on their organization, retail executives gave top rating to improving omni-channel consistency.
Store-based fulfillment and other omni-channel processes enable retailers to level the playing field against online only competitors, who are continually working to reduce service delivery windows and shipping fees. But picking web orders in a store is very different than how it is done in a DC: warehouse workers do not have to help customers and perform other tasks like merchandising re-sets, price changes, promotion set-ups, and product launches.
Meanwhile back in the store, many retailers rely on inefficient solutions such as having store associates check a dedicated kiosk located in the back office for e-commerce orders. Although these types of basic pack-and-ship solutions enable the stores to “get the job done,” they suffer from many drawbacks, including inefficiency, poor visibility into execution status, and difficulty in forecasting omni-channel store workloads in addition to other traditional store activities.
The good news is an integrated platform of real-time execution and workforce management solutions such as provided by Reflexis enables retailers to accurately forecast all work that must be done in stores, assign on-line fulfillment tasks to optimal associates, and provide efficient pick-lists on mobile devices to maximize workforce productivity and provide the highest levels of customer service — while jumping ahead of on-line only competition.
About the author: Dave Andrews, Director of Marketing and Communications, Reflexis. He has written hundreds of news and feature stories and interviewed many technology pioneers.