Retailers preparing their OMS for cross-channel fulfillment over the holidays
The 2014 holiday season is slated to be a big one, with a recent report from Deloitte suggesting overall sales will increase by as much as 4.5 percent from last year. However, retailers capitalizing on a multitude of sales avenues may be poised to have the greatest success, so it is crucial they have their multichannel order management operations in place to capitalize on the increase in sales.
“While online sales continue to climb, digital customer interactions through both virtual and physical store channels present greater sales opportunities than online or mobile commerce alone,” said Alison Paul, vice chairman at Deloitte’s retail and distribution sector leader. “Our research indicates that 84 percent of shoppers use digital tools before and during their trip to a store. Additionally, those shoppers convert, or make a purchase, at a 40 percent higher rate than those who do not use such devices during their shopping journey.”
Of course, when leveraging all of these different sales channels to engage prospects, it is absolutely imperative that merchants have their multichannel order management system operating efficiently. Retailers must be able to quickly and effectively process orders regardless of which channel they come from.
Multichannel order management has become especially important during the omni channel era, when customers could opt for in-store pickup of online purchases or make purchases from in-store kiosks, a la the infinite aisle.
From a behind-the-scenes perspective, order management is also important for aiding retailers with ship-from-store initiatives. Many merchants have been using this approach to convert brick-and-mortar facilities into proxy order fulfillment centers, as this allows them to ship products to customers from nearby locations, which can cut down on delivery times and expenses.
Deploying the right tools and technology
Order management processes will be put to the test this holiday season, particularly given the increase in digital shopping.
“Retailers that better understand how consumers make purchasing decisions, then deliver tools that support that process in a way that is consistent and complementary across online, mobile and store channels – may have the advantage this holiday season,” Paul added.
With the holiday season accounting for as much as 40 percent of retailers’ annual sales, according to the National Retail Federation, merchants need to serve customers to the best of their abilities.