Omni-Channel Inventory Management: How to Boost Efficiency
What is the Omnichannel eCommerce solution?
Omni channel eCommerce Solution: Continuing on innovative paths, we will continue to see technology become more and more important in our daily lives. The lines between what we do online and in real life will start to blur. And as people change their behaviours, marketers, salespeople and customer service representatives need to respond. So rather than thinking about a desktop experience, a mobile experience, a tablet experience, and an Apple Watch experience, we'll need to take a holistic approach: an omni-channel experience that customers can use whenever they want.
Definition of e-commerce / omnichannel eCommerce solution
Omnichannel eCommerce is a cross-channel approach to eCommerce selling and provides customers with a unified experience across all channels, whether in-store kiosks or other digital media. Omnichannel retailing is an approach to sales that focuses on delivering a seamless customer experience, whether the customer is shopping online on a mobile device, laptop, or physical store.
What is the difference between omnichannel and multichannel?
Let's divide the terms one by one:
Single-channel commerce means that you are selling your product through only one sales channel. This alone can work perfectly. But if you want to offer your customers a richer experience with your brand, it's a good idea to look for additional channels where you can sell your product. It could be your physical store, your online store, or an online marketplace like eBay.
Multichannel commerce sells your product to your customers through different channels, both online and offline. Interact with your customer through social media, over the phone and in your physical store. Your online presence is seamless, and your customers know where to find you. Multichannel is already a great strategy to engage people with your brand.
Omni-channel commerce also takes place across multiple channels, such as the multichannel commerce strategy. Without multichannel, there is no omnichannel. The big difference is that omnichannel eCommerce connects all channels.
What's New in Omni Channel eCommerce Solution?
Web-only brands are now investing in brick-and-mortar stores. Take Amazon, which opened its first physical store in Seattle in 2015 and has since expanded rapidly, with over 460 stores in the US, Canada and the UK. Of course, Amazon HQ knows that the future of shopping is connected. And of course, mobile apps are becoming more and more important too. Customers don't go anywhere without their cell phones. The app's powerful features enrich the omnichannel shopping experience by connecting online and offline touchpoints.
Finally, the importance of customer service as part of the omnichannel experience continues to grow. IBM proves that automated, AI-powered customer service in the future. This does not mean that human service agents are no longer needed. According to IBM, artificial intelligence and automation will provide human agents with context to understand who they are talking to. Additionally, chatbots will play an essential role in contacting your customers at any time. Over the next few years, social media will take an even bigger slice of the customer service pie.
What are the benefits of the Omni channel eCommerce solution?
One of the main benefits of having an omnichannel eCommerce is that you provide your customers with consistent messages about your brand. So no matter where the customer finds your brand, the message is always the same.
Understand the customer journey
Omnichannel eCommerce allows your business to collect and merge customer data across multiple channels. Combined, this data provides a complete picture of what types of customers are interested in your brand and their behaviour, giving you the power to personalize the customer journey.
Personalize the customer experience
Only by understanding the customer journey, you can personalize your customers' experience. Omni channel eCommerce allows you to create a customized experience. Creating a customized experience is essential for omnichannel customers as they have a 30% higher lifetime value than shoppers who shop using just one channel.
What are the challenges of omnichannel eCommerce?
In the omnichannel eCommerce solution, many companies also show the inventory they have in physical locations online. In-store stock fluctuates, and products may be out of the store when the same stock has already been sold online. This isn't always the best approach as it cannibalizes their online transactions. An excellent way to solve this problem is to reduce the availability of "bestselling" items in your online stores.
Lack of infrastructure
When a company decides to implement an omnichannel eCommerce solution, its existing technology often falls short of the standards to run an omnichannel operation smoothly.
Team up with the right partners
Having the best logistics, shipping and e-commerce partners is critical to your omnichannel success. Omnichannel inventory is nothing but the management of all inventory across all channels you sell on. This includes your physical store, online store, social media channels, etc.
Ways to Optimize Omnichannel Inventory Management in Omnichannel Ecommerce Solution:
In the omnichannel eCommerce solution, we now look at proactive ways to optimize an omnichannel inventory management strategy. People want a seamless shopping experience, seamless convenience, and excellent customer service to give them a high five along the way. So how do you get there? It uses an efficient system that effortlessly moves and maintains inventory across channels and provides a better end-user experience.
1. Integrated supply chain
Omnichannel inventory management software allows you to connect different ends of the supply chain. The software chosen must integrate with software solutions such as accounting, channel management and shipping.
When you connect multiple software into a centralized system, inventory activity and data are precise and seamless. Orders are synchronized simultaneously across your sales platforms, triggering the combined IMS, e-commerce platform, and channel management solution integrations. They work together to ensure the correct amount of items are listed in the sales channels.
2. Maintain real visibility for Omnichannel eCommerce solution
More than 30% of companies have gone through situations selling items that appeared to be available but could not find them in stock.
Inventory data must be hosted across all sales channels in an inventory management system to maintain inventory data visibility. Ad quantities are updated in real-time across placements, so you know exactly what's being sold and where. Most importantly, this feature reduces the risk of out of stock or insufficient stock.
Accurate inventory visibility is what will keep your Omnichannel eCommerce solution afloat. Don't allow inventory data to sit outside the centralized software solution. Everything needs to reside in the software to create an accurate and free flow of information between channels and enable reporting later for further optimization.
3. Improve your return policies
In an excellent omnichannel eCommerce solution, investing in a fair return policy is just as important as investing in an ideal omnichannel eCommerce solution. These types of buyers only exhibit this behaviour if they know you have a good returns policy.
A good returns policy can even guide repeat customers. Many consumers say they would spend more and shop more often with retailers that facilitate the return experience. It's up to you to satisfy these factors. Unfortunately, returns negatively affect your bottom line. However, if you publicize your policies in advance and provide a great customer experience along the way, your business can be protected.
4. Encourage in-store returns
One option to avoid bankruptcy due to lost profits in online returns is to encourage in-store returns. Write it as an option on your website on the returns page with clear instructions. After all, you're not running an omnichannel business if you don't offer a store return or BOPIS option.
5. Warehouse stock in all locations
As your omnichannel eCommerce solutions program grows, the need to open more distribution centres also increases. For example, you might start with supplier shipping items to a distribution centre. Here, complexity is low, and it's pretty easy to keep inventory activity under control. But as you add more distribution centres, the supplier can now ship to a central or regional distribution centre that goes to another warehouse.
Ultimately, the best way to support this kind of growth is with centralized software. For example, an IMS makes it easy to track inventory as it moves between different domain controllers.
6. Create an emergency plan for customer satisfaction
To alleviate customer confusion as much as possible, create a clear and concise shipping and handling policy, returns and exchanges.