The past couple of months have taught retailers some valuable lessons when it comes to their operations. Faced with unprecedented challenges, the scramble to adapt business processes to evolving customer needs has opened doors for more flexible and convenient purchasing options. Now, as society moves forward, retailers are taking the lessons learned to better prepare for the unknown.
In the latest live chat with Digital Commerce 360, Radial’s Senior Vice President, Technology Services, Prashant Bhatia, Chief Executive Officer of Dover Saddlery, Brad Wolansky, and Vice President of Planning and Allocation at Christopher & Banks, Lisa Klein, discussed one of the most important lessons they learned at the height of the pandemic: how to get omnichannel right.
Here are five key takeaways from the chat:
The Bar for Omnichannel Has Risen
With customers adapting to omnichannel as quickly as retailers could get it in place, there’s now little room for error or delay when it comes to customer satisfaction. Retailers must move much faster to meet customer needs or risk consumers going elsewhere.
Omnichannel is Now Non-Negotiable
Customer shopping preferences have been drastically altered by the pandemic causing a surge in omnichannel adoption. This shift in customer purchasing preference is here to stay, making omnichannel no longer an option for retailers. This means from a consumer perspective; retailers should be on the channels they’re visiting, engaging the way they want to engage with the brand. Continuing to find ways to be flexible and adaptable as omnichannel commerce becomes just commerce to their shoppers, is how retailers can be omnichannel ready.
Don’t Let Perfection Hinder Progress
When adopting omnichannel as a retailer, figure out where it's possible to start first. Sometimes the current situation will drive what’s possible now, so build upon the foundation rather than try to do everything at once. Give yourself time and execute what you can. And if help is needed, find a partner like Radial, who can provide structure and guidance backed by decades of experience.
Inventory Visibility is Vital
Managing supply chains and pulling inventory from stores is not an easy task. In fact, having the accuracy of inventory SKU’s is critical for retailers to plan and execute on orders. It’s crucial to have a robust order management system that allows you to reconfigure settings easily. And if possible, pull from both your store inventory and web inventory to create a bigger pot so customers won’t be deterred by long shipping times.
A Powerful Infrastructure Helps Meet Customer Expectations
When it comes to remaining nimble and agile to meet customer expectations, use the bones of what you’ve got and sell what’s available. Follow the 80/20 rule – if an issue comes up, aim to get it right 80% of the time, and figure out the other 20%. When you have the right processes and systems in place, it’ll be easier to fulfil orders or pivot to get orders filled. Work with your partner network to ensure you’ll have enough coverage and bandwidth to meet the ebbs and flows of demand and always deliver on your brand experience.
Creating a seamless experience in-store and online is going to be a journey for both you and your customers. Watch the chat for a more in-depth discussion on ways to be truly omnichannel ready.