Omnichannel fulfilment is the future of retail. But what is omnichannel fulfillment, and how can retailers get started with it?
An omnichannel fulfilment model combines digital and brick & mortar retail fulfilment channels.
The goal of omnichannel retail is to tear down the walls between online and in-store shopping in order to create a seamless customer experience. Omnichannel fulfilment refers specifically to the components of an omnichannel retail strategy that concern getting products to customers.
Common omnichannel fulfilment tactics include:
Omnichannel order fulfilment helps to fill gaps that exist in both brick & mortar and ecommerce fulfilment. Omnichannel services allow customers to determine how they want to shop and how they want to receive their goods, resulting in an optimal customer experience.
From a retailer’s point of view, omnichannel fulfilment services can also increase revenue and reduce costs while improving customer engagement and satisfaction.
Omnichannel fulfilment was already growing in popularity prior to COVID-19, and the post-lockdown ecommerce boom only accelerated this trend. In fact, 46% of retail executives said they planned to increase their investment in omnichannel retailing after COVID-19.
Implementing omnichannel fulfilment can seem daunting, and many retailers don’t know where to begin.
Click & collect can be a natural first step. Of all the omnichannel fulfilment services, click & collect requires the least overhead and upfront investment.
This service provides tangible benefits for customers. Click & collect allows them to place orders online, then pick them up in-store, avoiding delivery fees and getting their goods faster.
For retailers, click & collect can help increase revenue, reduce last-mile fulfilment costs, and improve customer satisfaction.
Unlike other omnichannel fulfilment services, click & collect doesn’t require a separate warehouse or last-mile fulfilment infrastructure. Instead, the click & collect model uses your existing store real estate and employees.
In fact, all you need to implement click & collect is technology and a shift in operations.
Of course, we’re not suggesting that implementing click & collect doesn’t come with challenges. Like all omnichannel fulfilment services, it requires technology to break down data silos between physical and digital retail.
For example, click & collect requires real-time inventory visibility between in-store and ecommerce. If a customer makes a purchase online and comes to pick it up, but that product is not in stock at that location, it will lead to negative experiences, cancelled orders, and lost revenue. That’s not trivial; nearly two thirds of customers say they would switch retailers because of a poor click & collect experience.
In addition, there are challenges associated with the click & collect handover process. Poor communication can lead to orders that aren’t ready when customers arrive, incomplete or inaccurate orders, and long queues to pick up.
Thankfully, technology can help. One reason that click & collect is a great first step toward omnichannel fulfilment is because solutions are available off-the-shelf to solve these problems and get retailers’ click & collect programs off the ground.
Click & collect is a valuable jumping-off point for retailers that want to expand their omnichannel fulfilment services.
With minimal upfront investment, retailers can start offering customers a new way to shop, one that they’re increasingly looking for from their favorite stores.
An experienced solutions provider like Localz can help get you set up and on the road to your omnichannel future.