What is omnichannel fulfillment? And how do you do it right?
Omnichannel commerce has staked its claims as the preferred strategy for retailers aiming to deliver superior customer experiences, improve customer service, and create long-term brand loyalty. Having a viable fulfillment strategy to keep up with the increased sales that ultimately result from this approach is essential-and unfortunately, an afterthought for most retailers. But omnichannel fulfillment offers a solution to help brands strive for efficiency and minimize risks in their fulfillment processes. Let’s take a closer look at what omnichannel fulfillment looks like in practice.
What is omnichannel fulfillment?
Customers today seek truly seamless eCommerce experiences, from product research to customer service and support. This has led many brands to pursue omnichannel commerce strategies aimed at aligning sales and marketing efforts across channels, like social media, marketplaces, mobile apps, and more. With the goal of increasing customer satisfaction and improving long-term brand loyalty, omnichannel commerce approaches have become commonplace.
But while omnichannel commerce has helped numerous brands create superior customer experiences, it has also placed stress on their fulfillment processes. With eCommerce businesses now having to fulfill orders from multiple different sources-and deliver those orders using different methods-things can get complicated pretty quickly. In the interest of maintaining efficiency and profitability, it’s essential that brands embrace omnichannel fulfillment strategies.
Omnichannel fulfillment refers to the processes and procedures brands use to fulfill orders from multiple different sources as seamlessly as possible. Its main goal is to ensure that inventory is readily available to all channels (eCommerce, marketplaces, in-store, etc.), so customers can easily receive items no matter what channel they used to purchase them. Omnichannel fulfillment is all about ensuring that your order fulfillment process runs as smoothly as possible, no matter what the source of your sales.
The benefits of omnichannel fulfillment
The order fulfillment process is complex, with numerous different variables at play. In an ideal scenario, these variables-both internal and customer-facing-work together to deliver a truly superior customer experience that establishes a personal connection to your brand and encourages customer loyalty. An omnichannel fulfillment approach can help these multiple different components work together in concert, resulting in a superior fulfillment process for both you and your customers. Let’s consider some of the key benefits of omnichannel fulfillment.
Improved order accuracy
By funneling multiple channels into a single process, omnichannel fulfillment enables your team to deliver the right products to the right customers, every time.
Superior customer experience
The main draw to omnichannel commerce from a consumer perspective is the flexibility to shop from your preferred channel, something customers value significantly. Omnichannel fulfillment represents the follow-through of this promise, providing for the swift and seamless delivery of products according to customer preferences.
Omnichannel fulfillment helps to consolidate your channels, enabling your team to get accurate and up-to-date metrics on how you’re performing. You can use this insight to refine processes and look for specific channels that may need improvement.
Omnichannel fulfillment implementation
Implementing an omnichannel fulfillment strategy is no walk in the park. It takes significant time, effort, and resources to stand up, but ultimately results in a more streamlined, seamless fulfillment experience. Let’s examine some key steps to ensuring your omnichannel fulfillment strategy will make maximum impact.
Break down the walls between sales channels
The last thing an omnichannel fulfillment strategy needs is a lack of communication between channels. Ensuring that your organization is running as a holistic entity is paramount. From an organizational perspective, you’ll need to guarantee that every part of your fulfillment process is coordinated and working towards a common goal.
Refine your inventory management with a warehouse management system (WMS)
Proper inventory management is fundamental to the long-term success of any omnichannel fulfillment strategy — and a crucial component of a good warehouse management system (WMS). In order to grow and scale while effectively meeting customer demand, it’s vital that eCommerce merchants understand how to effectively manage, monitor, and maintain their product inventory. Full visibility into your inventory and a solid understanding of your customers’ shopping habits is fundamental to a successful omnichannel fulfillment approach.
Warehouse management systems (WMS) are end-to-end solutions for managing your business’ warehouses and fulfillment centers. A good WMS can keep track of all your product SKU counts while providing real-time order status updates. In this sense, it acts as the brains behind your inventory management activities. In order for an omnichannel fulfillment strategy to work, you need complete visibility into your warehouse and inventory operations. That is what a good WMS provides.
A connected commerce fulfillment ecosystem
Implementing an omnichannel fulfillment strategy can ensure you get the orders out the door in a timely, streamlined manner, ensuring your customers get a superior experience even after they click “Complete order.”
Connect with Codal today to learn more about optimizing order fulfillment to boost customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Originally published at https://codal.com.