An omnichannel experience is key to a successful customer journey during peak season and throughout the year. As eCommerce retailers work to differentiate their customer experience, eCommerce fulfillment plays a crucial role in keeping customers happy. It’s a fundamental part of a solid omnichannel strategy and well worth optimizing. Before you can optimize, you need to measure, and for that you need reliable real-time data. If you’re just getting started in optimizing omnichannel fulfillment, there are several pieces of the puzzle to put in place.
How do you successfully measure and optimize your omnichannel eCommerce strategy?
Here are 7 steps to get you ready for peak season.
- Start with a data strategy. Optimization depends on having trustworthy data that can easily be collected, stored, accessed, and analyzed. Your organization may already have a solid data collection process, but if not, you will need it before you can strengthen your omnichannel approach. If you’re like most retailers, you have multiple systems for store operations, point-of-sale (POS) transactions, eCommerce sales, and omnichannel store fulfillment services like buy online, pickup in-store store (BOPIS). Typically, those systems do not gather and report on data in the same way. A data strategy needs to identify all relevant data sources that will provide insights on operations, customer behavior, customer engagement, customer data, demographics, marketing campaigns, digital marketing, conversion rates, customer retention, order fulfillment, inventory status, supply chain, reverse logistics, and more.
- Talk to IT about business intelligence tools, analytics, and integrations. Part of the data strategy conversation needs to center on what business intelligence tools are available to you, available analytics tools, and how current software, applications, and systems integrate to share data. IT and your Business Intelligence (BI) units will be able to guide you, but you will need to be able to present a list of your needs and goals.
- Measure the right metrics. What data is most useful to your business during peak? Start with multichannel-specific data like store sales and eCommerce transactions. Include function-specific data such as service levels for on-time fulfillment and customer care. That will enable you to understand peak demand and performance by channel.
You’ll also want to look at your supply chain. Drill down on omnichannel services such as BOPIS, ship-to-store, and ship-from-store. This will help determine whether your teams are effectively working together and if your customers are receiving a consistent, positive experience.
Some metrics you may want to measure include:
- How is customer demand changing as you move through peak?
- Is demand rising in stores or on your eCommerce sites?
- Are overnight orders increasing as you get closer to the holidays?
- Are customers opting for BOPIS during the last days of peak?
- How’s your transaction performance?
- Is on-time fulfillment meeting goals?
- Are orders accurate?
- Do you know why orders are being canceled?
Confirm that you’re meeting customer expectations from checkout to delivery and post-customer care. Not sure which KPIs to track? Work with your BI team or a 3pl eCommerce partner like Radial.
- Track and respond to real-time data. You need a mechanism to capture data at relevant time periods. This might be weekly during slower periods and daily or hourly at busy times like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Real-time data enables you to use dashboards to track data as it happens. Harnessing all the data available to you, you can then compare peak forecasts to actual demand trends and respond accordingly.
The closer your data is to real time, the faster you can respond and make course-corrections. For example, if a warehouse is over capacity, you could shift to store fulfillment. Your data should enable you to see not only whether you’re missing or exceeding sales targets, but also why it’s occurring. Real-time data lets you quickly adjust inventory, item placement, staffing, fulfillment, and more to stay ahead of fast-changing conditions.
- Optimize each aspect of the omnichannel experience. An omnichannel strategy incorporates all the touchpoints of the brand experience. This includes customer-facing aspects like your mortar store, eCommerce sites, mobile app, instore design/layout, communication strategies, store fulfillment, as well as your back-end: eCommerce fulfillment, reverse logistics, supply chain management, etc.. Your omnichannel marketing strategy includes your social media, media channels, loyalty programs, and marketing automation campaigns.
Based on the insights generated by data, evaluate how you can optimize each aspect of the omnichannel strategy, its components, and its impact on customer experience short-term and long-term.
- Make incremental changes. Customer satisfaction is paramount when optimizing omnichannel. It may be wise to make small changes, measure the impact on CX, and then make further changes. For example, if you implement text messaging (or SMS) notifications, measure customer satisfaction and usage rates to see how small adjustments might improve the experience. Remember to invite customer feedback from different channels.
Overall, the goal is a seamless experience across channels, so that every customer interaction feels like one continuous brand experience.
- Work with an eCommerce partner. Understanding how to optimize omnichannel requires time and resources. Many eCommerce retailers benefit from partnering with an eCommerce fulfillment partner that specializes in optimizing omnichannel in ways that truly move the needle on CX. Radial offers a broad range and deep expertise in eCommerce retail operations, including B2C fulfillment, transportation management, payment solutions, omnichannel technology, and customer care.
Omnichannel is all about a consistent brand experience that meets customer needs, builds strong customer relationships, and drives customer loyalty. Measuring and optimizing your omnichannel strategy will help you build a truly customer-centric eCommerce business that attracts new customers, improves order values, delivers personalized experiences, and keeps customers happy and in love with your brand.
Learn how Radial can help you this holiday season.