The omni channel retailer has been very fortunate in the supply chain and logistics support of the changing demands of the omni channel marketplace.  All carriers from international, intermodal to local LTL and parcel carriers have recognized and risen to the challenge of the demands placed on the logistics services by consumers and the retailers that support the purchase demands of the consumers.  The competition and the creative response to the demands has provided retailers with a dependable, flexible and most importantly cost effective means to support the consumer demands.  This is a great example where competition across a large and lucrative marketplace provides the fuel to achieve improvements in service and cost on a continuous basis.

 

These capabilities will allow retailers to expand the omni channel offerings in a manner that will eliminate the differences between the channels.  Consumers are searching for services that will improve their shopping and purchasing experience, this is the reason why mobile technology and capabilities have been embraced so quickly and wholeheartedly.  This is where the supply chain can also play a part in the experience and encourage retailers and consumers to extend the ‘any time and any where’ concept to the purchase delivery.  The retailer simply needs to open up the delivery options and allow consumers to build their own combinations to support their needs at the moment of purchase. 

 

As an example, Starbucks has embraced the concept of purchase online and pick up in the store via their mobile app to shorten or eliminate the delays in the order and pickup process.  This has opened up a host of opportunities based on the imagination and needs of the consumer.  One of the most effective options utilized by the consumer is to use the app to place and pay for their order when they see a long line at the counter.  I’ve spoken to many people that love the way they can walk up to a Starbucks and see a long line at the counter, so they simply open their mobile app, select and purchase their drinks and their order is delivered before they would have made it to the register to order.

 

The inclusion of the supply chain in the retailer’s collaboration improves the entire experience for the consumer and this is what is important.  Open up options and opportunities for the consumer to interact and collaborate with the retailer and the retailer will in turn experience an increase in retention and sales.  We are in an age now where the consumer is comfortable and demands the ability to use their imagination in shopping, purchasing and delivery and the supply chain provides the ability for consumers to meet the their needs at the time to deliver any time and any where.

 

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?