As I mentioned in my last blog post, today’s digital consumer expects a cohesive, seamless experience across retail channels. Taking this a step further, one of the biggest opportunities retailers can pursue as a result of a digital store strategy is having better order processing capabilities across both physical and digital channels.
To provide a superior customer experience, cross-channel order fulfillment is a critical first step. But better fulfillment processes, along with integrated order management information, can provide benefits beyond enhancing the customer experience and increasing sales. Over time, it can help you optimize your product mix, get new products to customers faster, and minimize inefficiencies in inventory positions, allocation and shipping.
However, to be credible, store associates must be able to track and fulfill orders wherever the order originated—online, mobile or while in the store—and coordinate orders across fulfillment points, like the contact center, fulfillment systems and service partners, just to name a few.
So if you’re thinking about order fulfillment as it relates to your digital strategy, here’s a snapshot of some capabilities to keep in mind:
- Access online basket from store
- Check availability across inventory (in-store, warehouse, wholesale partners)
- Look up expected replenishment dates for out-of-stock items
- Fulfill online orders with in-store inventory — other store-based fulfillment options, for example, reserve products to be picked up at nearby stores (buy online, pick up in-store) or fulfilling online orders from physical stores (ship from store)
- Add additional merchandise to a previously started web or mobile shopping experience
- Visibility into order status across fulfillment systems and contact points (e.g. point of sale, calls to contact center, fulfillment partners)
Think about how these and other capabilities benefit your business. And think about the front-end, back-end and connectivity requirements to make this successful.
Look for our upcoming guide focused on building your digital strategy to learn more about cross-channel order fulfillment.