Future of Retail — Omnichannel

issue 07

“According to research by Barclaycard, three in ten shoppers deliberately over purchase from online stores with the intention of returning the unwanted items.”

volume and contracts already in place and can manage the entire process for them.

DEVELOP STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS WITH TRUSTED SUPPLIERS To keep up with increasingly complex customer demands and the rapid growth of omnichannel ecommerce, retailers will need to invest heavily in both their fulfilment strategies and supply chain operations to allow them to stay ahead of the curve. For many smaller businesses, omnichannel

transformation of their own facilities is not realistic, both for financial and operational reasons. However, partnering with an experienced third-party logistics provider can help to make omnichannel a viable option, allowing these retailers to take advantage of the provider’s shipping expertise and access to more favourable rates. Partnerships such as this can also have huge

benefits for larger and more mature retailers too. Outsourcing fulfilment to a third-party logistics provider can help to cut costs and increase operational efficiency, as well as giving retailers access to increased warehouse capacity and the latest technologies and software. In the long term, a strategic partnership

with a logistics provider can prove to be a real strength for businesses. Outsourcing fulfilment to a specialist provider often results in a more seamless shopping experience and better service to customers, allowing retailers to focus their efforts on sales.

TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF OMNICHANNEL FULFILMENT For retailers with an omnichannel fulfilment model already in place, it’s important to ensure it’s being taken full advantage of. Each channel

will have its own strengths and weaknesses, and by acknowledging this and understanding what they are, businesses can utilise the right channels at the right time to flexibly meet consumer demand. Having a single view of stock across the

entire business means retailers are able to quickly react to demand. This allows businesses to move excess stock to locations where it is most in demand, reducing the need for end of season discounts and lowering warehousing costs.

DEVELOP A STRONG RETURNS MANAGEMENT STRATEGY As online purchases increase, so will the cost of returns to businesses. This is a major concern for retailers, who must find a way to balance customer experience with business profit. To help achieve this balance, effective returns management is becoming an increasingly critical area for retailers. With a surge in customer returns due

to free shipping and free returns options, businesses are starting to understand the true extent of this challenge and the impact it can have on their bottom line. According to research by Barclaycard, three in ten shoppers deliberately over purchase from online stores with the intention of returning the unwanted items. By the time these items make it back into stores they’re often out of season or sold at a markdown price.

Being able to get returned products back into stock quickly and efficiently has huge benefits for businesses. The quicker an item is put back into circulation, the higher the profit retailers will make on it. To achieve this, retailers will need to look closely at their returns solution and outline areas in which both speed and efficiency could be improved.

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