StorePulse Provides the Secret Ingredient for Omni-Channel Success
Retailers give a high rating to the value of fast, efficient execution of omni-channel strategies such as “Buy Online, Pickup in Store” and “Buy Online, Ship from Stores.” But systemic challenges need to be addressed for retailers to deliver on their omni-channel promises to customers. Here’s how retailers can overcome the barriers to success.
Two weeks ago, Reflexis met with a customer who wants to improve upon its current omni-channel processes. The company revealed that by using “Ship from Store” strategies, it has reduced the time it takes to deliver e-commerce ordered product to a customer’s home by an entire day. That’s great news for companies that compete with e-tailers such as Amazon. But this particular company was meeting with Reflexis because it wants to improve omni-channel efficiency to accomplish two objectives: reduce the impact on store labor and provide even higher levels of customer service.
The anecdotal evidence from the customer meeting that retailers want to improve omni-channel execution is further supported by a report that the retail trade magazine RIS News will publish later this month. Reflexis was provided a sneak preview of the report, and it indicates retailers are giving high value to omni-channel strategies as a way to positively impact sales, profit, and customer loyalty.
But retailers also said their struggles to respond to last-minute issues and lack of network-wide real-time inventory visibility inhibits their ability to deliver on their omni-channel promises. When asked to rate the value of executing store processes on a timely and consistent basis, retailers gave the highest rankings to the following:
- Stock-out replenishment of fast-moving items
- Stock-out replenishment of items on promotion and new products
- Fast efficient execution of omni-channel Buy Online/Pickup in Store processes
- Re-allocating labor in response to early/late truck arrivals
- Fast efficient execution of omni-channel Buy Online/Ship from Store processes
Yet when asked about their biggest omni-channel challenges, retailers rated their chief struggles as (in order):
- Responding to last minute issues (stock-outs, last-minute customer changes)
- Lack of order management SW and network-wide visibility
- Failure to use optimized (zone-based) picking lists (e.g., department specific orders picked by associates in those departments)
- Inability to forecast and allocate labor required to perform both omni-channel and traditional store tasks (customer facing, corporate-driven, and daily/fixed)
- Manual and error-prone tools such as paper pick lists and back office terminals used for omni-channel execution (no mobile device usage)
Hmmm. So what retailers value the most highly, they also struggle to execute due to systemic challenges. My takeaway:
- Stock-outs, a traditional challenge for retail, will become an even bigger challenge with stores expected to satisfy customer demand coming from multiple channels.
- Retailers need a sophisticated Order Management System (OMS) to provide real-time visibility into exactly what products are available and where (stores, transit, and distribution centers).
- OMSes and store operations need to be tied together seamlessly so that once orders arrive at stores, associates can be ultra-efficient at fulfillment
- Retailers need to improve their ability to forecast ALL the work that needs to be done so stores have the right amount of labor to complete omni-channel processes while still meeting customer service target levels
- Store managers and associates need real-time data on mobile devices to efficiently execute their omni-channel processes
Reflexis provides a solution with its StorePulse real-time store execution software to address the above needs. Store managers and associates view the most important things they should do now and the best way to do it: engaging customers in the aisles, meeting omni-channel deadlines, and responding to sudden alerts and interruptions.
Reflexis StorePulse provides a single view on mobile devices into the most important information coming from a variety of store systems — omni-channel and traditional — even applications that are not mobility enabled. With StorePulse, store managers can handle all the things that get thrown at them on a daily basis, whether it’s helping a customer in the aisles or delivering a product to their home, without having to learn dozens of different applications.
StorePulse provides real-time alerts and just-in-time coaching to help store managers and associates meet their customer service and sales goals — without stressing out over missed deadlines and lost opportunities.