Retail customers shop and their orders are fulfilled. These two processes occur whether it’s through a physical retail store, an online store, a phone order or a mail order format.
For many retailers, each of these experiences are separate, with fulfillment, merchandising, promotion and valuable customer information residing in different silos at the different locations.
Customers, however, expect a consistent and valued experience each time they engage the retailer, regardless of the channel.
In fact, the most highly prized customer is one who shops cross-channel. According to AMR Research, cross-channel consumers typically spend nearly 30 percent more than their single-channel counterparts.
Competition, customer demands for product variety and new product introductions are all shifting dynamically while merchandising space availability is not. Merchandising decisions have become more complex, requiring a diverse mixture of warehouse and drop-ship delivery and yet a single point of control.
The need for solutions that deliver merchandising speed, flexibility and scalability has never been greater. As a retailer, cross channel or otherwise, it is crucial that retailers envision the complete customer experience, tightly integrating the storefront and fulfillment experiences.
With an integrated storefront and fulfillment approach, the customer benefits significantly. Operational processes become simplified, transparent and more efficient; service levels improve and customer satisfaction grows.
A closely integrated end-to-end ecommerce platform increases visibility across the complete commerce chain, and enables more sophisticated and efficient alerting and reporting capabilities.
Retailers can anticipate and quickly resolve problems that cross into the gray areas between fulfillment and storefront and maintain one interface for managing the entire customer experience. A single interface also provides direct accountability, and accurate drill-down capabilities to resolve customer issues quickly and easily.
For customers, this means products are easy to find and easy to order, items are reliably in stock, products are delivered on time, and simple, consistent return policies ensure a high level of satisfaction. Retail, online and offline, is now radically demand driven and the customer is at the center. Predictably, opportunities abound for retailers who deliver a consistent and integrated customer experience from end-to-end.