Skip to content
Omnichannel Supply Chain Approach

Omnichannel Supply Chain Approach Now the Standard, Not the Retail Hero of the Future

There was a time when an omnichannel supply chain approach was considered the end-all solution for retailers. Unfortunately, the evolving demands of consumers and changing needs across supply chains have changed the narrative, says Seeta Hariharan of Multichannel Merchant. Implementing an omnichannel approach alone is not enough to maintain or achieve a competitive advantage. An omnichannel experience is now the expectation of consumers. Supply chain leaders need to understand that omnichannel is now a standard, not the end goal, of effective supply chains.

What’s Wrong With the Omnichannel
Supply Chain Approach of Today?

Take a moment to think about what omnichannel is. Omnichannel refers to the blending of experiences across existing channels to create a seamless experience for customers. In other words, customers utilize a variety of shopping options, including both online and brick-and-mortar stores, throughout the journey. Customers expect an experience that transcends each boundary, starting and ending an experience across one or more channels. The advent of omnichannel was a revolution for the industry. It gave companies an ability to gain more data, track information, and further personalize customer experiences. Unfortunately, the practice has become so common that it no longer carries the same weight of yesteryear. Therefore, supply chain leaders that lack an omnichannel strategy are way behind, and those that have developed such strategies must realize the battle is not over.

Omnichannel Remains a Valuable, Just Not as a Competitive Advantage

It is easy to get lost in the conversation about the outdated use of the term omnichannel. Omnichannel is essential to successful supply chain management, and omnichannel is a valuable way for companies to understand their operations. However, offering omnichannel service does not create a competitive advantage. Even retailers that have struggled with omnichannel for years, including Macy’s and Target, have taken steps in recent years to improve supply chain technology beyond their initial omnichannel investments, attempting to eliminate issues that reduced the ability to provide a seamless omnichannel customer experience. As a result, it will grow harder for companies that do not have a robust omnichannel platform in place currently to get to the next steps of supply chain improvement.

How to Increase Competitive Advantage Through More Than Omnichannel

The final aspect of the conversation focuses on what companies are selling in terms of experience. Since an omnichannel experience is not enough, what could be more important? The answer to this question lies in customer experiences. Customers want comfort and convenience. They want free returns, hassle-free returns, and returns that may not even require a physical return of a product. Amazon offers this capability, and other retailers are working to refine the customer experience further. When Walmart launched a free grocery pickup, some companies still eyed the tactic with suspicion. However, Walmart’s influence drove most grocers to enact changes allowing for free, curbside grocery pickup. Even those without the technology and resources to make such changes can leverage third-party resources, such as Favor and Instacart, which bridge the divide for companies with limited BOPIS capabilities and scale operations to create a convenient way to improve customers’ lives.

Set Your Organization Apart With the Right Technology and Processes

The right technology and processes will make or break
success, and creating an omnichannel strategy is no longer enough to maintain
your supply chain’s competitive advantage. Instead of trying to figure out what
to do to increase advantages beyond the ability to purchase online and
in-store, supply chain leaders need to take a step back. They must think about
how to improve experiences across channels and provide Amazon-like benefits in
a traditional retail environment. Find out more about what your organization
needs to do to apply omnichannel properly and avoid unnecessary costs by
visiting Veridian