Challenges of Omni-channel Retail

Challenges of Omni-channel Retail


Challenges of Omni-channel Retail:

  • Having a single channel presence – such as, retailers that have a physical store but no online presence are restricted in their growth by their spatial and temporal boundaries.
  • Having a presence across multiple channels that are not integrated – such as, retailers that are unable to fulfil their e-Commerce orders from their brick-and-mortar stores.
  • Having online and offline systems that are partially integrated – such as, a POS solution that is poorly integrated with the order management system.


Advantages of Omni-channel Retail:

Omni-channel retailing not only helps organizations to centralize their business operations and implement infrastructure changes but also enables them to provide a consistent experience to attract and retain customers, thus driving greater sales.

  • Improvement in consumers’ perception & satisfaction
  • Single identity for the customer across channels
  • Single customer loyalty program across channels
  • Access to inventory visibility and ATP across channels
  • Transparent pricing and promotions across channels
  • Collecting customer information for targeted marketing strategy
  • Enhanced productivity, greater sales, higher margins, and a wider presence through new income streams


Drivers of Omni-channel Retail:

  • Increase store throughput (sales/square feet – GMROF)
  • Increase inventory turns at stores (GMROI)
  • Increase revenue per employee (GMROL)
  • Increase revenue per consumer through up-selling and cross-selling
  • Improve consumer experience, expand consumer base and increase market share


Digital Transformation through Omni-channel Retail:

When shopping, whether in your store, on your website, mobile app, or kiosk, or through any other sales channel, customers want what they want, when they want it, and where they want it. As easy as that may sound, putting it into practice though is tougher than you’d imagine. Trying to meet the fulfilment needs of today’s customers may feel overwhelming. But with the right tools and strategies in place, implementing an omni-channel retail business model can be a breeze.

Following are some simple capabilities for omni-channel fulfilment success in retail today:

  1. BOPIS/ROPIS/ISPU/C&C: BOPIS stands for “Buy Online, Pickup In-Store” and ROPIS is a variation of that – “Reserve Online, Pickup In-Store.” This order fulfilment method of omni-channel retail is also at times referred to as ISPU (In-Store Pickup) or “Click and Collect”. Commonly these days, customers will go online to check in-store inventory before they will even go into a physical retail store. These strategies allow such savvy customers to be able to go online and purchase or reserve an item that is already available in-store. This can be achieved by integrating the e-commerce site directly with the retail management solution, enabling visibility of the in-store inventory online for customers to buy or reserve items for pickup. From there, the online site can communicate back to the in-store POS by creating a sales order that will reserve the item with the customer information.
  2. Endless Aisle: There are various definitions for endless aisle out there, but in short, the term refers to a retailer’s ability to sell out-of-stock or non-stocked items to customers while they are in-store and have the item shipped directly to the customer’s home. This can be made possible by installing in-store an interactive touchscreen showcasing the endless inventory options and “Dropship” as the integration allowing the items to be shipped to customers directly from the retailer’s warehouse, their vendor’s warehouse, or from the retailer’s nearby stores that are carrying the particular inventory. ‘Endless Aisle’ can be easily achieved by integrating the retail management solution with the retailer’s warehouse inventory or third-party vendor’s warehouse inventory. The solution should be equipped to capture customer shipping details, preferred shipping method, and transact in-store and non-stocked items all in one, easy transaction. When integrated, the retailer’s warehouse or the third party is notified of the order details automatically so items can then be picked, packed, and shipped directly to the customer’s preferred location.
  3. Ship From Store (SFS): “Ship from Store” is the provision for customers to buy a product online or from another location and rather than the purchase getting directly fulfilled from the warehouse or accessory distribution vendor, it gets shipped to the customer from one of the retailer’s store locations. This ensures that the retailer is using existing stock that needs to move, rather than buying additional inventory to meet their customer’s needs. This can be achieved by integrating the e-commerce site with the inventory management system, ideally the POS, so that availability is shared in real-time. The retail sales associates can also view inventory at other locations to be purchased and shipped to the customer from the store that is carrying the inventory. The trickiest part of this piece of the omni-channel fulfilment puzzle is in-store shipping logistics. The retail stores will need a way to pack up inventory and it’s likely best to make all the necessary arrangements for items to be picked up and labels provided.
  4. Direct to Customer (D2C): D2C, or “Direct to Customer” is a low barrier-to-entry e-commerce strategy wherein the manufacturers sell their products directly to consumers from their web stores. A more traditional retailer business model goes from the manufacturer to a wholesaler to a distributor to retailers, and then finally to a consumer. The D2C model quite literally cuts out the middlemen. A huge benefit of having a D2C e-commerce strategy is that manufacturers get full control of all their activities from packaging to marketing, portending that they can also create an omni-channel customer experience.
  5. BORIS: Lastly, we have BORIS or “Buy Online, Return In-Store.” This allows the customers to come back in-store to return or exchange items rather than having to go through the hassle of shipping items back to the retailer. This can often be difficult to execute if the SKU never existed in the inventory before or there is no record of that sale in-store to be returned. However, this important step to the omni-channel puzzle can again be achieved with a POS equipped to handle omni-channel scenarios. Retailers can make the decision to allow online orders to be refunded in the POS and SKUS can automatically be created if the item didn’t already exist in the in-store inventory. Other options could include restoring the item back in stock so that it can be sold again or restoring the item to a non-sellable status so that the retailers can potentially RMA it back to their vendor.

In a nutshell:

OnlineStorePickup In-StoreBOPIS / ROPIS / ISPU / Click & Collect
OnlineStoreReturn In-StoreBORIS
OnlineStoreDeliverySFS or BOSFS
OnlineWarehouse / Nearby Store / Vendor’s WarehousePickup In-Store / DeliveryEndless Aisle
OnlineManufacturer’s Warehouse / WebstoreDeliveryD2C

ETP V5 is an enterprise class, omni-channel retail solution that seamlessly integrates the Point of Sale (POS), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), merchandise and inventory management, marketing and promotions planning and Business Intelligence (BI) across channels. Thus, ETP V5 Omni-channel Retail Solutions help to unify the online and the offline customer experience.

ETP V5 Omni-channel Retail Software Solutions comprising omni-channel POS software, Mobility (mobile POS), CRM software, Marketing and Promotion Campaigns, Order Management & Supply Chain Management, Omni-channel Analytics, and Omni-channel Connect provide you with features such as Click and Collect, Click and Deliver, Endless Aisle, a holistic view of the inventory, and a single view of the customer enabling you to deliver a unified brand-customer relationship across all channels. This is done using real-time integration of ETP’s POS solution, CRM solution, and Promotions engine with web stores and marketplaces using ETP Connect’s secured web services framework, which has the ability to see and manage order flows.


Buy Online, Pickup In-Store (BOPIS) enables customers to buy items online & pick them up from a nearby store. Kerb-side Pickup allows them to buy items online & pick them up at a centralized collection point. Both processes offer an enhanced customer experience. While BOPIS or Click & Collect increases footfalls in the stores leading to additional impulse purchases, kerb-side pickup offers the customers the convenience of receiving their purchased goods at a pre-chosen location, reducing delivery/returns costs.

“Endless Aisle” enables retailers to avoid lost sales by integrating their physical and virtual merchandise for customers in the stores to select from a wide range of products that include out-of-stock goods and have their purchases shipped to store or to their homes.

Direct to Customer (D2C) order fulfilment enables retailers to sell directly to their customers without any retailer or wholesaler in the middle. With D2C, retailers gain a better understanding of their customer and more control over their preferences. D2C also allows to easily integrate retail POS with 3P ERP, financial and logistics systems for efficient direct distribution.

Retailers can transform their stores into virtual distribution hubs using the Ship From Store (SFS) fulfilment technique. It uses stock from the physical store estate to fulfil both online & offline orders by leveraging inventory held in physical stores & making it available to sell through the eCommerce channels.

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