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The Current & Future State of the Omnichannel Supply Chain

Retail sales are in a state of change. While some people have argued for multichannel supply chains, the need to bring all supply chain processes into one seamless entity led to the omnichannel supply chain. Meanwhile, consumers demand greater access to information and more buying options than multichannel supply chains could provide, reports Chris H. Petersen of Customer Think. However, omnichannel has become more than just a perk of retail; it is essential to success. Moreover, you need to understand how it exists today and what it means for tomorrow.

More Companies Embrace Omnichannel, But Strategy Remains Elusive.

Most major companies have made the decision to expand operations to create an omnichannel supply chain. According to a 2016 report, up to 75 percent of businesses expect omnichannel solutions to be critical to their success. Unfortunately, more than 33 percent of those surveyed also indicated experiencing delays and problems with implementing an omnichannel sales strategy. In fact, nearly half, 49 percent, have not yet invested in a true omnichannel supply chain. So, why are companies holding out?

Reliance on Legacy Systems Provides a Safety Net.

Companies that have not yet invested into omnichannel supply chains are operating with legacy systems to manage multichannel supply chains. If you consider the history of major retailers, the concept of multichannel supply chains did not gain momentum until the late 1990s. As a result, many companies are still focusing on market research, not an omnichannel strategy. However, that is starting to change.

Increasing Mobile Shopping Opportunities Will Drive the Omnichannel Supply Chain Forward.

Regardless of opinion, the number of smartphone users is increasing exponentially with each passing year. Shopping is now available across multiple devices simultaneously, and retailers need to have the flexibility to provide a boundary-less experience to these shoppers. However, there is another factor that will push omnichannel supply chains to new heights in the coming years.

Most Retailers Have Not Successfully Executed Omnichannel Sales Solutions.

This is among the most surprising of facts involving the omnichannel supply chain. Most omnichannel retailers fall between startups and web-only shops. These companies are trying to emerge in the omnichannel space, but the true success stories continue to dominate.

For example, Target and Walmart are among the top companies that have successfully integrated their supply chains. However, even these giants still have room for improvement. This means that the future of the omnichannel supply chain will see intense price wars, battles over the fastest, free shipping and a proverbial onslaught of campaigns designed to get users engaged across all channels for each purchase.

The Big Picture.

Today, the omnichannel supply chain is important, and it holds great potential for all businesses. However, most companies continue navigating its waters to find the best way to build a seamless, integrated experience for customers. Furthermore, up to 39 percent of retailers cannot successfully integrate their existing systems into omnichannel solutions. Thus, total overhauls will be necessary if these businesses hope to survive. Ultimately, omnichannel is going to become the new gold standard in retail.