Omni-channel retail is considered to be the biggest new trend in supply chain management today. Let’s look at the evolution of this trend:
First there was multi-channel commerce which involved a retailer who sold goods through many channels. These channels include physical shops, ecommerce, social media platforms, live chats, email, mobile apps or simply over the phone. Over time cross-channel retail immerged in which customers are able to use more than one channel to complete a purchase.
Now, there is a move towards what is known as omni-channel, where the focus is to create a truly seamless customer experience no matter what channel they choose to use. There should continuity between goods, pricing and service excellence throughout all channels.
Ecommerce is King
The omni-channel trend is driven largely by the rise in ecommerce sales which are growing exponentially year-on-year. Retailers are increasingly doing business on the web and this upward trend means fulfillment companies need to ensure they are using the most efficient channels for their supply chain. Omni-channel commerce expands both ordering and fulfillment options by allowing retail stores to also become e-commerce hubs, pickup points and even shipment centres.
The aim of omni-channel management technology is to provide seamless efficiency across all channels, giving companies the ability to link, track, and distribute stock from many locations to the consumer or store. The top technologies needed to achieve this are:
- Transport Management Software (TMS) ensures that products are moved reliably, and cost effectively to the right location.
- Distributed Order Management Software (DOM) is an emerging technology for ecommerce solutions, assisting with deciding how to best fulfill each order. Working together with the Warehouse Management Software, DOM has access to inventory databases in real-time and makes order fulfillment much more efficient.
- Demand planning and forecasting involves using data analysis software to assist with predicting future demand for products or services. An accurate demand planning process ensures faster responses to market changes, reduces excess stock and the correct inventory is always made available.
Cloud computing makes the tracking of a product throughout the supply chain a simple task. Communication between suppliers, distributors and retailers is possible anywhere, any time and quick decisions can be made should a shipment need to be rerouted. Warehouse, transport and inventory management software solutions can be implemented across various devices enabling full real-time functionality.
Today’s customers want the flexibility to be able to order the desired product when, where and how is most convenient for them. This puts pressure on companies to ensure that they have the correct technology and processes in place to best serve the customer.
Contact Dovetail for the Supply Chain Management Software Solution to keep ahead of the trend.