The Retailer - Issue 68

WHY ORDER MANAGEMENT IS THE KEY TO GREAT CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE USING TECHNOLOGY AND DATA TO REDUCE OVERSTOCKS AND PROVIDE CUSTOMERS WITH REAL-TIME INVENTORY TO ENSURE THEY RECEIVE DELIVERIES PROMPTLY.

Graham Jackson, CEO, Fluent Commerce

and trying to dispatch goods around the country is not only slow, expensive and bad for the planet, but also unnecessary when the technology exists to enable retailers to dispatch from store and route products from the customer’s local area. They need to unlock the power of their store network and turn them into mini distribution centres to reduce time, costs, and environmental impacts in the last mile delivery. Good order management software can help here and therefore improve the customer experience, reducing costs for retailers, and increasing customer loyalty. Successful retailers will need to continue to invest in order management systems that orchestrate orders for fulfillment and route products from an optimal inventory location. This system will provide real-time inventory visibility for both staff and the customer, so employees can process returns, and provide controls and feedback to management. Failure to capitalise on this has already heralded scaremongering of the retail apocalypse over the past few years, as we have seen many retailers struggling to keep up with new consumer expectations, increased global competition, and escalating expenses. Increased visibility and understanding of customer behaviour will also provide data and power better decision making for retailers. We will also be able to predict supply and demand more effectively, with the potential for auto-replenishing supplies directly to customer’s homes.

The past decade has seen the rules of the retail industry fundamentally change, with the next ten years set to take the industry even further into new territory. The one standout fundamental that has emerged and will continue to rise is that high-quality customer experience remains essential for business success with expectations rapidly evolving. Retailers will need to achieve this at increasingly efficient speeds and effectively use data to deliver a service at a hyper-personalised level, while at the same time contending with higher expectations around sustainable delivery and procurement practices. Underpinning all of this is order management. Successful retailers in this decade won’t rely on discounting; they’ll focus on their customers’ convenience. Order management software today can provide retailers with a real-time view of inventory so they can ensure products are delivered to customers most quickly and cost-effectively. Everyone has had poor experiences, particularly with online retail. An order set for Christmas or a birthday that isn’t delivered on time, or worse, is belatedly found to be out of stock, is a fast-track to an outraged customer, and a high potential for poor word-of-mouth and review. Australian retailers have a unique challenge about how to meet customer expectations for free, same day, next hour, and next day delivery affordably. Having one huge warehouse somewhere in Australia

www.retail.org.au

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