Omnichannel supply chains are increasing in complexity and prevalence for good reason. Omnichannel customers have a tendency to spend more than their brick-and-mortar counterparts, explains Digital Commerce 360, making them an ideal way for retailers to stay competitive and reach more customers. As 2018 progresses, Warehouse Managers need to understand the risk of not going omnichannel, why demand is increasing, and a few tips to meet such demands.
Warehouse Managers Avoiding Omnichannel Supply Chain Strategies Will Lose Competitive Ground
Competitive advantage is based on the ability of companies to offer products or services at reasonable, competitive prices. Although pricing plays a big part, it also depends on the ability to offer unique services. Today, more than half of the nation’s 140 retail chains in the top 500 offer omnichannel shipping and pickup options, and 72.1 percent of retail chains offer in-store returns of merchandise purchased online. Those that do not offer these options will lose competitive ground.
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Demand for E-Commerce and Integration of Supply Chains Will Continue to Dominate 2018
As explained by Derek O’Carroll of Multichannel Merchant, some driving forces behind the demand for omnichannel supply chains include:
- The creation of social storefronts.
- Increased speed in warehouses.
- Adoption of real-time commerce technologies.
- Use of automated technologies for omnichannel supply chains.
How to Prepare for Increasing Supply Chain Demands Throughout 2018
Warehouse Managers must embrace omnichannel supply chains and their associated technologies. The easiest way to move toward an omnichannel strategy lies in following these tips:
- Re-evaluate inventory-optimization techniques and systems.
- Increase focus on returns’ management in omnichannel supply chains. According to Sender Shamiss of Forbes, processing returns remains one of the highest costs for such retailers, so aligning data and systems is key to keeping costs in-check.
- Automate warehouse and supply chain management systems.
- Make your case to consumers.
- Consider new ways to reduce shipping costs and risk, such as the new packaging suspension service Amazon is using, reports the Sustainable Packaging Coalition.
- Integrate inbound and outbound logistics and supply chain management systems.
Put Your Organization on the Path to Success With a High Focus on Omnichannel Supply Chains
The remainder of 2018 will lead to big changes in supply chain management, and the role of omnichannel supply chains will increase. The gradual encroachment of the Amazon Effect, as well as political issues, will force supply chain executives and leaders to rethink their strategies, including automating systems and implementing a strict policy of continuous improvement.