Retailers must now manage more than just a storefront to compete in major markets.Sellers must offer multichannel purchasing options for the tech-savvy consumer population that prefers to shop online and from mobile devices whenever it is convenient. In launching multichannel capabilities, retailers open up new channels of revenue as well as more complex demands when it comes to supply chain management and order oversight.
As a result, retailers are adopting supply chain management solutions with order management capabilities designed specifically for the omnichannel market. These solutions provide in-depth insight into all aspects of the supply chain, as well as interactions with clients and any disruptions to workflow. The more information provided to managers, the easier it is to track progress and adjust practices to avoid setbacks. The advanced visibility into order management in particular aids managers in reporting on performance in each selling channel, as well as changes in customer demands or market trends to stay ahead of competitors.
Why it's important
There are many reasons to adopt supply chain solutions with advanced visibility into order management. One obvious push should be the mounting evidence suggesting multichannel selling is here to stay as consumers show no signs of abandoning digital purchases.
A recent study from comScore revealed 80 percent of U.S. smartphone users, or 85.9 million residents, accessed retail content on the devices in July 2012. The consumers browsed and purchased a wide variety of products on the go, ranging from household items, technology, entertainment and travel. Furthermore, retailers are also driving consumer engagement on mobile devices by developing purchasing applications and shopper reward functionality that caters to consumers in specific locations.
All of these mobile-optimized solutions are making it easier to reach wider audiences of shoppers, while also complicating the oversight of order management from multiple channels. Ignoring the opportunities available in mobile selling would put a business at a competitive disadvantage. Therefore, multichannel management solutions must be deployed to gain the necessary visibility to optimize each channel's profitability.
Necessity in 2013
According to Retail Digital, visibility into order management is a top priority for most retailers this year. The latest supply chain management solutions available enable greater control over a multichannel selling strategy that includes advanced ship notice and increased tracking capabilities throughout a purchase lifecycle. The advanced ship notice contains invoice information as well as logistics data to ensure a smooth transition from order placement, warehouse selection and distribution to consumer.
The visibility makes it easier to monitor order fulfillment from start to finish, ensuring accurate reports to the buyer for a more satisfying experience. The visibility is only made possible, however, by the implementation of appropriate software and mastery of the functionality to optimize data streams.
When selecting a multichannel order management solution, managers must consider both the company's interaction with the technology and how it will create a seamless experience for the client. In terms of order management, increased visibility enables managers to optimize fulfillment processes from buyers across multiple channels, as well as business partners and suppliers in the business chain. Users benefit from:
- Centralized access to inventory in all locations
- Delivery data and services scheduling capabilities
- Drop ship features
- Reverse logistics to monitor performance and make necessary changes
The order management functionality can then be utilized to complement and enhance other applications such as monitoring of warehouse and transportation performance. Once order fulfillment has been optimized, the proceeding steps can also be accelerated and improved in terms of accuracy and accessibility.
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