It is becoming clearer that the biggest challenge that most of our clients and other big retailers face is to get more products onto more platforms and in front of more customers while keeping the shopping experience frictionless.
Dealing with multiple selling channels
Commerce is increasingly happening in multiple online environments. Third-party selling like social and marketplaces has become a norm, and to stay competitive, retailers should be wherever their customers are.
Today, more than nine in ten shoppers start their product search on a marketplace, and 76% have made impulse purchases via social channels due to the ease of purchase.
However, serving customers across different platforms and adapting operations to sell in multiple channels is one of the key challenges facing retailers as they expand. It is complex, costly, and technically challenging.
While expanding into a multichannel selling, several complications are very likely to arise along with the growth:
- managing accurate product listings
- managing inventory and stock levels across multiple sites
- managing order fulfillment
- cross-channel marketing
To prevent all those complications, retailers require backend systems that can integrate information coming from different sources and thus manage to handle logistics efficiently and, most importantly, accurate aggregate data that will serve for forecasting and decision making.
Due to information silos, most commerce has difficulty leveraging data for decision-making. They report using four tools to manage fulfillment, inventory, and selling channels. Naturally, this limits their ability to identify new opportunities and forecast and optimize for growth.
Today consumers are increasingly influenced by convenience
76% of online shoppers say convenience is their key priority in selecting a retailer. Nine in ten prefer using a retail site that offers a seamless experience across devices.
This shift to omnichannel and convenience is a major challenge for retailers looking to expand to new platforms – marketplaces and social channels – and still meet customer expectations of a good shopping and fulfillment experience.
The solution: automation is key to business control while expanding
Let’s face it: keeping control of product optimization and inventory across multiple selling channels while maintaining good service levels through streamlined order picking, fulfillment, and warehouse management, cannot be achieved manually.
Utilizing a 3PL lowers the barriers to entry into new geographical markets, allows for quick scale-up, and eliminates the need for investment into infrastructure. In addition, having fulfillment locations close to your new customer base can give you a competitive edge in the market with fast and efficient delivery options.
Keeping inventory control is another key factor in protecting your revenue and meeting customer expectations. Key supply chain mitigation strategies include:
- Supply chain diversification
- Forecasting accurately for future demand
- Managing availability and product range across different sales channels to avoid overselling and customer service issues.
Lastly, to implement an effective supply chain strategy, retailers must have full visibility across their business by bringing together all insights and data from different functions in one place. Having all the data at a glance will allow companies to identify any issues that need immediate attention and to forecast future demand to maximize selling opportunities accurately.