Success in the Omnichannel marketplace requires the elimination of both internal and external silos and collaboration across the entire supply chain, including, in fact, consumers. Large, legacy, retailers have spent a lot of time and money in collaboration and coordination with the suppliers and carriers in obtaining and delivering products and supplies. This collaboration network though must be expanded to support efficient movement of products across locations channels to improve the shopping and purchasing experience of consumers and especially to improve the product delivery service levels across market channels. In addition to the expansion of collaboration with external partners success is also dependent on elimination of internal retailer silos and the addition of consumers to to the collaboration model.
Large retailers must increase their efforts to eliminate their internal silos to improve and increase the speed of the smooth flow of inventory and information. This requires a culture change to support and encourage the flow of information across the entire retail organization and in order to ensure this retailers must change their KPI measurements to include the communication and flow of information, including and most especially, the accurate inventory positions and ability to locate inventory maintained within stores and distribution outlets. Inventory accuracy across all channels will allow the retailer to improve their product delivery performance and shorten the standard delivery time. In my opinion a key stumbling block to success and increases sales is the ability of large legacy retailers to guarantee standard delivery of inventory within 3 - 5 business days and a key underpinning of this ability is inventory quantity and location accuracy.
This is only one piece of the equation though and the next critical piece is the relationship with the consumer. This means the increase and focus on consumer communications and especially collaboration. Retailers already enacted a means for one way communications with consumers through rewards programs where the retailer can push communications via various methods such as email, Twitter and text messaging. These same retailers also have the ability for two way communications through Facebook and Twitter that can be used to increase the opportunities for collaboration with consumers. Retailers must expand their use of these tools in order to develop and improve the relationship with their customers.
Consumers are using technology and social networks to expand their shopping and purchasing capabilities in support of their lifestyle changes. This means that consumers are no longer limited by channel or retailer for their shopping and purchasing. The large legacy retailers must accept this change and break down their internal silos and change their culture to support and incorporate the changes demanded by their customers. You can see some of the large large retailers beginning this process now and their velocity of change must be increased in order to succeed in the changing marketplace. Retailers cannot afford to delay in decisions or enacting change because the rate of consumer demands and change is only increasing and will leave the retailers further behind as these changes increase.
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?