The customer benefit is clear: the convenience of shopping from home and the instant gratification of picking up just what you wanted from a nearby store, rather than hunting around—wasting time and energy—for the right product in the right size, color, etc. And the business benefit? Happy customers are good for business—and in the digital economy, a happy customer is one whose shopping experience has been transparent, flexible and most of all, convenient.
In the recent article “In Omnichannel Retail, It’s Still About Detail,” authors Pierre Mercier, David Welch and Guillaume Crétenot discuss the strategies retail businesses need to master to successfully meet the demand for a click-and-collect retail experience. Mercier et al. suggest that a smooth click-and-collect process depends on conquering some basic supply chain capabilities (fig. 1).
While many supply chain capabilities are required to support an optimal customer experience, when it comes to click-and-collect retail, the authors boil it down to one important factor: “…it all begins with providing shoppers—and store associates—with accurate, real-time information on product availability.” To that end, the authors recommend a back to basics approach to meeting the supply chain imperatives of omni-channel retail. The basics are captured in the six golden rules of inventory management, which include reducing inventory touches while maximizing the value of each one, and limiting and managing errors.
Beyond the basics, the authors suggest that “emerging technologies will likely become a key part of the solution as well.” They go on to suggest that radiofrequency identification (RFID) is a promising inventory-accuracy solution, though one that, due to its cost, is “still several years away.” In fact, DSI has facilitated RFID for businesses in various industries, including a food supplier that implemented the technology to meet the requirements of a prominent customer. With the RFID solution in place, the company can now track its products throughout the supply chain and increase product sales with improved inventory management. And the benefits of RFID have a direct impact on the customer experience for retailers that span a brick-and-mortar and online presence.
As is often the case, to simplify the customer experience means businesses face the inverse in orchestrating complex business processes and software systems. DSI®, the Mobile Supply Chain Company, extends complete visibility and control across the supply chain. One of the major benefits of having that level of transparency is increased inventory accuracy. When both customers and the people stocking the shelves have clear access to what’s available and can take action on that information, retailers can meet, or exceed, customer expectations while reducing write-downs and back orders.
Does your business support click-and-collect retail or other new shopping methods? What has your experience been like? We’d love to hear from you.