Technology has had a major influence on how we sell and an even bigger influence on how we purchase. With the evolution of the internet and everything digital, retailers have switched over from selling products out of conventional brick-and-mortar stores and have begun selling virtually, or via a mix of physical and virtual stores. However, this has paved the way for various supply chain problems since businesses must now find a way to accommodate two separate markets. Retail stores sell the products they currently have in stock while some (not all) online businesses depend on third-party vendors to fulfill and send out these orders. The difference between the way the two sell products is that online retailers ship out various same day orders placed by customers while retail stores sell products to customers that they physically have in stock.
The role that omnichannel supply chain strategies play in the customer shopping experience is crucial. According to an article by Veridian, “A survey of the most important parts of a shopping experience found customers’ expectations are more than meets the eye. Up to 62 percent want to purchase online and have the option of returning it in-store, and 47 percent want promotions and coupons available through their smartphone. Approximately 44 percent want to buy online and have the option of picking it up in the store. This means omnichannel supply chain success is key to at least 62 percent of shopping experiences.” Knowing this, how can marketers put omnichannel supply chain strategies into place to improve customer service? Omnichannel strategies allow businesses to create better customer experiences and offer the following benefits:
- The power to shop on any channel and pick up the product at a brick-and-mortar store, or the ability to have products delivered. Giving customers various shopping options help to create a positive customer experience and make for an efficient omnichannel supply chain strategy.
- Retailers can really focus on and cater to customers visiting retail locations. Omnichannel strategies allow customers to purchase online, reducing in-store traffic and allowing store employees to really focus their attention on the needs of the customers physically visiting the store, which in turn makes for a better customer experience.
- Omnichannel supply chain strategies function smoothly when all supply chain partners function quickly and efficiently. When this happens, prices are able to decrease, allowing customers to save money and purchase more!
The Amazon Effect has created a need for businesses to enhance their customer service. Rather than letting Amazon take over, supply chains can use omnichannel strategies to improve customer service and ensure that they always stay on top!