Omnichannel is one of the biggest buzzwords of 2021 – and for good reason. For retailers who want to compete in today’s market, it’s no longer an option. As a solution, it allows retailers to merge in-store and online operations while providing customers with a seamless experience, no matter where they come into contact with your brand. Not to mention, businesses that adopt omnichannel strategies achieve 91% greater year-over-year customer retention rates compared to businesses that don't according to a recent study conducted by Aspect Software.
But not just any omnichannel solution will do. You can make some pretty critical mistakes if you run out and buy a subscription or build an OMS in-house without doing the necessary legwork first.
In this post, we’ll highlight the two biggest mistakes you can make when adopting an omnichannel order management system and give you some actionable tips to avoid them.
Going In With No Implementation Plan
If you want your new system to be effective, you need to have a plan in place to get it up and running. Otherwise, you can wind up wasting time and money on a solution you aren’t ready to use. And, if the implementation is messy, it can actually hurt your customer experience and decrease brand loyalty among your customers.
When thinking through your implementation strategy, you should consider the following stakeholders, processes, and platforms:
- Your customer service team’s system for resolving customer complaints and questions; including the channels they use and want to start using in the near future
- Your fulfillment team’s operations; including the different fulfillment options they use to get products to customers (i.e. ship-from-store, dropshipping, delivery, and curbside pickup)
- Your organization-wide procurement and inventory management processes
- Which channels you use and plan to use to sell products and accept payments
- Your returns process; and how you plan to handle returns across channels (for example: do you want to allow online purchases to be returned in-store?)
- The use of the solution across your organization by C-suite, managerial, and entry-level employees; and the amount of training required to make it run smoothly
- The devices that will need to be connected to the platform (i.e. computers, POS systems, handheld scanners, robotics technology, etc.)
- All the relevant data inputs from across your organization, such as customer preferences, order details, fraud attempts, and product purchases by physical location and channel
Given that there are so many moving parts to an omnichannel strategy, mapping out the implementation ahead of time can make the difference between the success and failure of the solution. Not sure what you need? According to a recent survey by Digital Commerce 360, 80% of retailers outsource to vendors due to lack of expertise in house. An experienced vendor like Radial can help you save time while providing the knowledge you lack.
Choosing the Wrong Omnichannel Solution
While there are lots of omnichannel solutions out there, you need to find the one that best fits your business and future goals. Not only does the wrong solution have the potential to restrict your ability to innovate and grow, but it can also impact your bottom line if it’s ill-suited to your existing processes and systems.
To find the right omnichannel solution, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- Do we need the flexibility and functionality of a cloud-based solution, or should we stick with on-prem software?
- Do we want to integrate our inventory, fulfillment, and customer care tools to deliver a seamless customer experience? Or do we only want to focus on implementing omnichannel in a specific area?
- What fulfillment methods does the solution support?
- Does the solution offer a unified view of all inventory or is it segmented by location?
- Can returns be handled at any location without extra steps or shipping?
- Does the solution offer the opportunity to grow as the company grows?
There’s no better time than right now to make the jump to omnichannel. But if you want your new strategy to be successful, you need to make sure you plan your implementation early and select the right omnichannel OMS.
To learn more about Radial’s approach to these factors, contact our team.