Updated: Sep 14
There’s some debate on when the concept of omni-channel retail became a “thing.” Was it 2007, the year the iPhone debuted? Or perhaps as early as 2003, when some major retailers embarked on the earliest paths to customer-centricity? Regardless, omni-channel retail is no longer what it was back then. The space is changing in ways that require innovations in how shopping experiences are delivered.
It’s hard to overstate how much shopping habits and expectations are evolving. One example: today, nearly 70% of U.S. consumers have purchased online, then picked up the product at the store (also known as “BOPIS”). This experience did not exist several years ago. This trend makes it clear that today, few things matter more to consumers than convenience.
As noted in a recent report by Boston Retail Partners, “Today’s retail model has to venture beyond omni-channel by breaking down the walls between internal channel silos and leveraging a common commerce platform with a single order management system to deliver a holistic, real-time, personal customer-centric experience.”
Why great order management is the key
The non-linear way we shop today can wreak havoc upon older order management systems, particularly those that aren’t integrated with a retailer’s e-commerce platform. Why? Because it can involve manual workaround, form submissions, brittle technology, and more. This, in turn, creates the potential for botched returns, missing orders, delays, and, of course, frustrated customers.
There is a mind-boggling web of systems that govern orders and inventory, and those systems, thankfully, are getting smarter than ever. Using next-generation order management, omni-channel retail leaders are able to integrate the order capture and fulfilment of online stores with that of physical ones. The best processes are even able to integrate them directly into ecommerce systems.
In addition to BOPIS, here are two other ways that integrated order management enables the next stage of omni-channel retail:
Stores and distribution centers become one and the same
Retailers are constantly under pressure to hold down shipping costs. At the same time, customers also want their orders as quickly as possible from stores close to them. Order management systems can help solve both, by allowing all inventory in stores and warehouses to be sold online, while prioritizing shipping across short distances to save on costs.
Retailers can turn returners into shoppers
With billions in merchandise returned each year, having goods returned continues to be the bane of retailers’ existence. Still, retailers have to ensure seamless returns whether the customers send items back to a store or, through self-service tools, directly to the warehouse. Order management is the single source which retailers can use to track all this inventory movement, helping them accept returns and initiate exchanges. With tight integration into ecommerce, order management connects shoppers to their order history for a better experience in an otherwise difficult setting.
Getting to the next phase of omni-channel
So how do you make the most of these new trends? Start by bridging the online and in-store experience so that you have a single view of your customers’ preferences, purchases, and order information. Retailers can use that same information to enable BOPIS or endless aisle solutions that drive up revenue. Conversely, store associates can use this information to help provide the best customer experience.
As BRP noted in its report, “the importance of real-time visibility and access to product and customer information across channels has grown significantly over the past few years as consumers’ expectations continue to rise.”
Salesforce Order Management helps you get this done. You can deliver fast and easy shipping, transparent order status, and hassle-free returns at scale, all powered by the world’s #1 CRM. And it’s not just about Salesforce — partners such as Mad Mobile, NewStore, and PredictSpring work in concert with Salesforce Order Management, helping bridge this gap between digital and physical experiences. These partners provide sales and clienteling solutions that are built for delivering modern consumer experiences in the store, while integrating these experiences back with the digital store and order management system. Best of all, these partners all bring something different to the table, so you can choose the solution that makes sense for your business.
This is customer-centric order management. Consumers expect a personalized, channel-agnostic experience in real time. That means retailers can find a view of transaction history regardless of how the consumer shopped. With a unified commerce platform, combined with world-class order management and store partners, retailers can achieve a truly connected experience across channels.
This blog post is an adaption of an article by Salesforce. To read the original article, click here. https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2020/01/order-management-next-gen-omni-channel.html