Retail businesses across the globe are going all guns to enable themselves to constantly meet and exceed the hyper dynamic customer expectations while they are also dealing with the challenges and competition of the industry. Ultimately, it all boils to fulfilling the customers’ demands for products, services and experiences, as per their convenience, in a seamless manner. In simple words, giving the customer their desired products at the best perceived price, at the time and place they want it, without any glitches or hitches. This is the very essence of omni-channelizing the retail business. From the business point of view, for retailers, it is about achieving all of this while optimizing costs, reducing losses and risks and improving efficiency.
The best of part pf getting this right are that the benefits are multi-fold – increase in inventory turnover, reduction fulfillment costs, optimizing manpower cost, better productivity, enhance customer service, and the list goes on.
But the main challenge for many businesses today is that they are still depending upon legacy systems which may not be at pace with these demands of the market and moreover do not support the operations when it comes to handling orders coming from different channels and fulfilling them using the best channel. Here are three significant ways to handle omni-channel orders:
A centralized order management system can enable control of all orders across the business as it could hold all the information from the order management process, including details of the order, sourcing, payments, and fulfillment. Moreover, a centralized solution will also factor in all the sales channels in the business operations. Therefore every fulfillment channel will have access to all the order information allowing the organization to appropriately allocate inventory based on factors such as stock levels, location and timing. So the entire order management process can be automated and controlled centrally, and even scaled if new channels are added.
One of the foremost challenges in implementing a successful omni-channel strategy is the lack of inventory visibility that emanates from disparate and siloed systems used to manage inventory. A centralized omni-channel order management system can enable a single view of the inventory and related information across all retail sales channels. This provides the visibility that is required to make strategic decisions that can help in improving cross-channel fulfillment, reducing mark-downs, tackling over-selling and under-selling, ensuring timely replenishment of stock. In turn, customers get real-time and true inventory information across the brand channels.
Having the true picture of the inventory and stocks across channels and the related information along with the centralized control of the inventory will allow retail business owners to intelligently formulate business rules and algorithms to determine processes for inventory fulfillment. These business rules and logic can then be fed into the system that will automatically orchestrate and allocate orders across channels by routing it through the most suitable fulfillment center based on the criteria fed into the business logic.