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What Retailers Forget in Omnichannel

Omnichannel is a hard-sell. According to, the biggest challenges in omnichannel supply chains derived from a simple problem. Companies overlook how customers perceive improvements and actions within blended supply chains. More importantly, as few as 33% of retailers have accurate visibility into customer experiences, which might result from an inability to track customer purchases at brick-and-mortar stores, and more. To achieve success, supply chain leaders need to know what they are overlooking as they strive towards a customer-driven future.

Brick-and-Mortar Experiences Deliver Just as Much as Online Experiences in Omnichannel

What makes a brick-and-mortar experience? Is it the amenities that are offered, or is it something else? Two customers really want to take the time to pull out their smartphones and make a shopping decision on the spot. The chances are good that customers, while they will like the capability, have likely already decided by the time they visit your store. As a result, it is essential not to push online capabilities to customers in brick-and-mortar locations. Focus on the customer when they are in your store. Be present with them. However, remember to offer online capabilities where possible. For example, Sam’s Club and Walmart got this right with allowing customers the option to pay by phone, but this option is quite subtle. It was not rolled out with pompous announcements and an endless barrage of greeters to push it in your face. Instead, the retailers made a subtle announcement, and now it is always on the pay screen in every register.

App-Based Interactions Generate Data That is Not Exploited

Another opportunity in this innovative method of blended supply chain management involves the use of app-based data. Omnichannel capabilities offer much more than just purchase history and targeted advertising. More in-depth analytics in the omnichannel process allows for supply chain leaders to understand what customers think at the moment. In a recent report by Diane Sawyer on the use of screen time in America, the simplest of actions, including whether the finger moves slightly to the top right or top left, provide immense insight into what a customer is thinking. Every action and movement within apps and e-commerce portals generate data, and not all this data is exploited to its full potential.

Accurate Visibility Into Combined Operations Is Still Out-of-Reach

Even the best-laid plans for omnichannel management are still susceptible to shortfalls with precise visibility. Supply chain leaders may have the technologies in place to track internal movements within their supply chain, but what happens when those movements go through a third-party? For example, a third-party logistics provider may ship the product for a customer, or the product may be ordered from the manufacturer and shipped directly through drop shipping, and the customer portal may not update in the most real-time window. This is another opportunity for retailers to improve.

Offering More Than What’s Seen Remains a Big Problem

One of the critical problems in omnichannel supply chains also involves the ongoing push to beat Amazon. The Amazon Effect is everywhere, and everyone wants to offer everything. That is both impractical and costly. Instead of offering the world, deliver what your customers know and want. Of course, this requires the use of analytics to understand customers in their contexts. Furthermore, this emphasizes another problem, how the value of service over function gets lost in omnichannel supply chains. Everyone is so focused on offering everything that they overlook customers as the most critical asset in their supply chains.

Supply chain leaders should also not forget that most purchases are still made in brick-and-mortar stores. While statistics vary on the exact number of e-commerce orders compared to brick-and-mortar purchases, the trend is clear. E-commerce is increasing, but retailers must not overlook the value of their brick-and-mortar stores. In addition, they should work to ensure customers understand how to use seamless services, such as via online and picked up in-store. At the same time, customers may feel guilty about skipping the proverbial line to pick up an online order. This is part of what triggered Walmart’s plan to implement in-store kiosks allowing customers to pick up orders from either a vending machine or triggering an automated notification to workers in the back.

Focus on the Right Thing—Your Customers, Not Your Ability to Offer
Everything, Everywhere

Your customers are your most valuable asset. As noted by Steve
Dennis of Forbes, customers are the only channel that matters
. Instead of trying to focus on delivering any product, at any time, at the best price possible, and regardless of where customers want products, make the customer your top focus. In other words, use the right systems and resources to learn more about your customers and connect on a personal and professional level. Doing so will enable better supply chain management and boost profitability. Tap into the real value of omnichannel, your customers. Find out how to get started with your new software and services by visiting Veridian online now.