The present worldwide COVID-19 problem has transformed the face of retail. Everything is changing at a fast pace, from customer behavior to supply chain operations. To deal with this unique circumstance, businesses all across the world have had to change their strategy.
The requirement for businesses to offer the seamless, consistent experiences that customers want is at the forefront of all of this development. This is where omnichannel distribution comes into play. Therefore, this blog will give you a brief overview of omnichannel fulfillment, as well as its benefits and tips to maintain a well-functioning process.
What is omnichannel fulfillment?
To put it in the simplest way, omnichannel fulfillment is the process that happens:
- From the moment a customer purchases
- To the time the products are delivered to the customers
- Which happens across multiple channels (online and offline)
It entails warehousing, picking up, packing, and timely delivery to the customer. These steps are all in a synchronous manner, with data channels centralized together. As a result, customers can use omnichannel retail fulfillment to explore items, compare pricing, make purchases, in which they can choose the location that is the most convenient for them.
There are 5 basic steps of omnichannel fulfillment, including
- Product checking, storage, and inventory management in the warehouse
- Order processing and confirmation
- Picking items, printing labels, and packaging
- Payment, delivery/refund, return
- After-sales services
Benefits of omnichannel fulfillment
More productivity and accuracy
Shopping across many channels is considerably easier with omnichannel order fulfillment. If a order cannot be shipped from the nearest warehouse or retail shop, retailers can con dividing shipments among warehouses based on distance, or back-ordering to the closest warehouse if necessary. It determines the optimum approach for that specific order without the participation of an employee.
As a consequence, it can minimize the amount of time and effort spent, thus ensuring that the company’s inventory movement is optimized. In most cases when retailers automate the order fulfillment process, employees who were previously committed to order planning can now focus on higher-value responsibilities.
More brand reputation
Having omnichannel fulfillment can bring a more positive reputation for your brand. This is because customers see brands that use numerous distribution channels as being more responsive to their requirements and preferences. Omnichannel retailers provide the most convenient options in different locations. This sets your company apart from competitors that have yet to embrace omnichannel order fulfillment.
However, keep in mind that a consistent experience is crucial if you want to make omnichannel a branding activity. Because familiarity builds trust, it’s critical to maintain brand consistency across all of your marketing platforms and products. To avoid transmitting contradicting messages, everything must be in order. Logos, language, brand colors, and visuals are all part of this.
High customer satisfaction
In omnichannel sales, proper quantity and timely delivery are essential since it influences the buyer’s pleasure. In reality, a lot of buyers reject shopping at eCommerce companies that are late with their deliveries.
In these cases, omnichannel order fulfillment, as a solution, assures a higher level of customer satisfaction. The omnichannel order fulfillment model organizes and handles orders in a professional manner, so that they are delivered on time and in the correct amount to the buyer. In addition to that, there are a lot of options for customers to choose from, ranging from buy online pick up in-store to delivery-to-home. As a result, the retailer can sell items and make a profit without sacrificing processing time or delivery. Meanwhile, consumers are satisfied with their own choices.
Tips for effective omnichannel fulfillment
Now that you know the basics about omnichannel fulfillment – how to conduct it in a professional manner? Here are our top 3 tips:
Maintain supply chain transparency
As an omnichannel retailer, you should establish transparency throughout the whole supply chain process. In fact, consumers nowadays want clarity across all industries. In retail, for example, they can easily get impatient if your order is delivered slower than they expected. According to research, 51% of consumers require real-time transparency of their order status. Therefore, the best advice is to keep them updated about the shipping process.
This offers a competitive advantage to any company that can provide transparency, which is important for a good customer experience. A good example of this is Shopee, a leading eCommerce platform in South East Asia. Shopee allows customers to track their order process step-by-step while providing live chat between store employees and consumers.
Have real-time synchronization
Nobody wants to go to their local store only to discover that the item they want is out of stock. To provide better customer service, your staff should get clear and accurate in-store inventory data. This is even more important because the selling activities are now spreading across different channels. Moreover, employees and shippers should stay in touch and keep updating about the process, just in case of delays or cancellations.
You’ll need a cloud-based platform to enable real-time synchronization in your omnichannel fulfillment. Choose one that centralizes your inventory data and allows for real-time updates across all platforms. ConnectPOS, one of the leading point of sale (POS) providers on the market nowadays, can fulfill this need. If you want to experience the real-time synchronization functions, there is a 14-day free trial!
Automate order fulfillment
Both merchants and buyers can benefit from fulfillment automation since it simplifies the process and lowers expenses. This system enables store owners to distribute packages at the lowest possible delivery rate. Furthermore, it can ensure that inventory is recorded and tracked precisely. This can reduce stockouts and boost customer satisfaction. In the long run, businesses can save a lot of time and labor costs, while maintaining an error-free fulfillment process.
Because businesses are growing at such a rapid rate, it’s likely that many of them may consider building several stores or warehouses. The automated order fulfillment process is even more significant in this situation, as they provide a centralized mechanism for order fulfillment across several locations. As a retailer, you don’t want to lose control of things, which might lead to late delivery.
That’s all there is to it – this is the ultimate guide to omnichannel fulfillment to help you leverage your business. We hope that you will be able to profit from the increased efficiency and other advantages that come with this method.