Faster Omnichannel Order Fulfillment is the Future of Retail
  • Anuradha Kapur

  • 4 minutes

  • 20 May, 2022

Faster Omnichannel Order Fulfillment is the Future of Retail

Speed is one of the defining factors of omnichannel order fulfillment. According to a recent Mckinsey report, when delivery times are too long, almost half of the omnichannel customers will shop from elsewhere. To match growing customer expectations, brands like Amazon started off with an 8-day delivery horizon in the early 2000s, accelerated to two-day shipping by 2015, and even same-day deliveries in some markets by 2019. 

In fact, best-in-class omnichannel operations can now provide order fulfillment within two hours of purchase. Omnichannel has transformed order fulfillment by introducing dynamic routing of packages. Brands don’t just follow a linear fulfillment path from the warehouse to the customer, but even use their stores for order fulfillment.

Benefits of Omnichannel Order Management

Omnichannel order management orchestrates all orders across the enterprise and allows access to customer, order, and inventory information across channels. Here are some of the most significant benefits of omnichannel order management.

  1. Faster shipping at a lower cost: By utilizing nearby warehouses and stores, brands are able to deliver to their end customers faster and at much lower costs.
  2. Multiple purchase channels: Omnichannel offers customers endless options to choose from. Customers can buy online, in-store, or buy online and pick up in-store, as per their convenience.
  3. Personalized shopping experience:  By having a 360-degree of the customer, brands offer a uniquely personalized omnichannel experience to their customers that best suit their needs and ensures convenience.
  4. Real-time visibility: Omnichannel provides visibility of inventory across the channels and enables brands to provide updated and accurate information to customers.
  5. Empowers employees: With omnichannel OMS, employees can have information on real-time inventory, availability, and shopping history at their fingertips. This enables them to serve their customers more effectively.

Tackling the Same-Day Delivery Challenge

Same-day deliveries have become a new normal in many industries and among large urban customer groups. An ideal omnichannel strategy can help address the challenges of same-day delivery by offering a more flexible and agile supply chain support. With their dense network of stores, retailers can ensure greater proximity to their customer groups. Having the right kind of IT and automation support, brands can coordinate among channels, to offer the fastest-possible fulfillment. 

The evolving role of brick and mortar stores

Even though online shopping has made a serious leap during and since the pandemic, in-store shopping is not going away. Brands need to reimagine the role of their brick-and-mortar infrastructure, as they can act as strategic assets for same-day delivery. In doing so, they can maintain their current layouts, fully transform into dark stores or become a hybrid of the two. Stores also have a crucial role to play in building brand experience for customers and a way to give a first-hand experience of products.

Physical stores are a critical link in the process of channel integration, and keep the customer journey across channels seamless and fluid. According to a recent Mckinsey survey, senior executives from the ten largest North American retailers reported that during the pandemic, they received higher growth in e-commerce sales in areas with a physical presence as compared to those without brick-and-mortar stores.

Is Omnichannel the Future of Retail?

Customers are rapidly developing a taste for path-breaking fulfillment ideas like BOPIS (Buy Online Pick up In-Store), and the Click and Collect model that enables them to order online, and then simply walk into a nearby store to collect the product. Omnichannel commerce evidently offers ease, agility, and unprecedented levels of CX. 

By offering highly personalized communications and services, omnichannel puts each individual customer at the very center of e-commerce operations. It provides brands with a great opportunity to collect more data and track customer behavior across distribution channels. This translates into better-informed business decisions and more effective strategies.

Omnichannel offers customers a consistent and coherent shopping experience, also ensuring better customer service as the operations rely on a common and centralized database. No matter where the customer makes the purchase finally, they can research the product on numerous channels of distribution to receive the same information. This ensures seamless CX and the highest levels of customer satisfaction.

Finally, the omnichannel retail strategy helps create shorter supply chains, which significantly reduces the overall distance, costs, and emissions. Omnichannel is therefore the right step in the direction of sustainability and can bring lasting benefits to businesses, industries, and regions most sensitive to environmental impact.

Omnichannel is clearly a peek into the future of retail. As it evolves, an ecosystem of innovative solutions such as Distributed Order Management (DOM) will emerge. DOM systems are software solutions that orchestrate various processes and automate functions like order routing, splitting, shipping, forecasting, and inventory management. Solutions like these will reinforce the idea of omnichannel and drive the transformation of e-commerce further.

Author: Anuradha Kapur

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