omnichannel fulfillmentWhat is omnichannel fulfillment?

The omnichannel fulfillment model developed because of the growing number of consumers who demand better shopping experiences, whenever, where ever, they want. According to a recent Pulse study, 44% of customers want the ability to buy online and pick-up at the store. 62% of customers want the ability to purchase online and make returns in-store.

So, retailers are re-thinking their fulfillment and transportation strategies. Retailers must satisfy the customer’s order from any channel and organize an easy-to-follow return procedure for each product.

How to start the omnichannel fulfillment process?

Adapting your company’s fulfillment processes to the omnichannel world isn’t an easy task. Customer demand has changed the entire supply chain environment and retailers need visibility into shipments and inventory.

3PLs can effectively utilize transportation management software to report on transportation spend, profit margins and forecasting. Through these reports, 3PLs create supply chain visibility, presenting companies with opportunities to improve transit times, supplier inventory level, lead time and customer satisfaction. These benefits are undeniable – they help shippers reach omnichannel fulfillment needs and build positive customer relations.

As omnichannel continues to challenge shippers and redefine retail, transportation companies are making great efforts to adapt, taking on more responsibility than ever before: good customer experience assurances,  guaranteed delivery options, next to or same-day delivery and real-time track and trace options.

For shippers looking to create a seamless omni-channel network, 3PLs provide experience, technology and time, which builds consistency in customer expectations.

To reach excellence in omnichannel fulfillment, companies should follow these 3 steps:

Step 1. Merge Separate Channels
For better inventory management (and customer satisfaction), retailers should offer an option to order online and pick-up in-store, and an option to order from the store and deliver to the customer. Statistics show that about a quarter of all customers make additional purchases in the store when they pick-up an online order. The website should provide information on the closest store(s) to the customer for order pick-up and the order management system should be adjusted to support both in-store fulfillment and online order inventory.

Step 2. Inventory Visibility
Inventory visibility is at the core of the omnichannel strategy. It shares inventory details among channels, which gives a strategic advantage for the “buy online – ship from store” model.  Using numerous stores as fulfillment centers allow for faster delivery and lower costs since the distance to the customer is shorter. With proper inventory visibility, it is possible to implement a successful omnichannel fulfillment strategy to provide better service to your customers, all while saving money on transportation costs.

Step 3. Customer-centric Mindset
Retailers should concentrate on data gathering and process optimization in the supply chain.  Provide your customers with inventory visibility on the website, in terms of product quantity and location, so they’ll be able to select the best option. Gather information on each customer purchase across every channel. With a customer profile, companies can offer advanced service and be competitive in the omnichannel world.

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At PLS Logistics, we offer dependable solutions for your specific shipping needs. From LTL services to specialized freight shipping, we will collaborate with you to advance your logistics and obtain cost-saving results. Our technology increases your visibility and our experts create more effective supply chain practices. Contact our experts today.