Omnichannel Fulfilment: Integration For Better Fulfilment
Order fulfilment is one of the most crucial cogs in e-commerce machinery. With everybody working in the hybrid model, it is becoming increasingly difficult to manage the offline and online inventories. That is why e-commerce companies have decided to switch their inventories to hybrid mode with the help of the Omnichannel Fulfilment Approach.
This approach allows the brands to integrate their inventory for the offline and online channels and redistribute it over the channels according to the needs of the customers. The centralised inventory also allowed the brands to incorporate an optimised industry and warehouse management system that improved delivery speed and accuracy.
With the Omnichannel Fulfilment strategy, brands can optimize their supply chain operations and order fulfilment process with ease. The integrated inventory tracking system in the approach allows you to reallocate and redistribute inventory over other channels as required, so customers can find the product they are looking for. Along with this, the centralized inventory also allows brands to explore other sales channels without having to develop a separate order fulfilment infrastructure.
What Is Omnichannel Fulfilment?
Omnichannel fulfilment can be defined as the process of fulfilling orders across multiple sales channels through an integrated manifestation process to optimise the supply chain operations. The use of omnichannel fulfilment can prove to be very useful where the goal is to enhance the customer experience and reduce shipping costs and time.
One of the important features of the method is it allows brands to use stores as fulfilment centres. This allows the brands to use the already existing physical infrastructure to increase their online reach. On the other hand, adopting the Omnichannel approach allows brands to venture into the e-commerce space without having to establish a completely new network of physical warehouses and fulfilment centres.
The omnichannel fulfilment concept is very popular in industries like the FMCG where the number of perishable goods is involved in the operations. The fulfilment method allows them to use local resources to manage the supply chain of these perishable goods optimally and expand their reach.
Why Should You Choose Omnichannel Fulfilment?
With the increasing popularity of e-commerce, companies have to continuously enhance customer experience while keeping the operating costs down. When a company starts to grow, managing the fulfilment of orders from multiple channels can be tricky. This is where the Omnichannel Fulfilment approach creates an ideal solution to all your supply chain problems. Some of the benefits of using the approach are:
1) Better Inventory Management
Inventory management is one of the most important aspects of running the operations for an e-commerce company. As the operations begin to scale, tracking real-time inventory can be a hassle, especially if you have multiple touchpoints that need to have independent inventories.
While using the omnichannel fulfilment strategy, you choose to integrate the entire fulfilment operations for all your touchpoints. This reduces the cost of inventory and warehouse management and makes the entire fulfilment operation more efficient.
2) Elevating Customer Experience
Customer experience is one of the most important factors for any e-commerce platform. Quick order fulfilment, real-time tracking options, access to a variety of products are a few of the features that attract and retain a customer.
Using the Omnichannel Order Fulfilment strategy, you can combine the inventory for all the offline and online sales channels and bring the entire manifestation process under a single umbrella. This improves your delivery time as well as allows the customer to access the inventory across all channels.
3) Improved Supply Chain Management
As the Omnichannel Fulfilment Strategy allows you to integrate your sales channel and create a unified manifestation process, the companies have a chance to improve their supply chain management to reduce operating costs and optimise the entire procedure. The real-time warehouse management system allows for efficient inventory management and improves operational efficiency.
Along with that, optimising your supply chain also improves delivery time and enhances customer experiences. The integrated fulfilment process allows for expansion in other sales channels as well as cross-platform services like ‘buy online, return at store’ services that provide the customer with the freedom to customise their shopping experience.
These benefits make a strong case for choosing the omnichannel fulfilment approach, but some challenges can make adopting this approach a bit tricky.
Let’s discuss some of the challenges and how you can overcome them.
Challenges While Adopting Omnichannel Fulfilment
The Omnichannel Approach comes with its challenges. The best way to tackle these challenges is to identify the common challenges and find an ideal solution that suits the needs of the company.
1) Inventory Management Across Different Challenges
Even though this is also a benefit, synchronising your inventories in real-time across multiple touchpoints can be a challenge while adopting the Omnichannel fulfilment approach. Tracking the SKUs in real-time can be tricky, as there can be multiple SKUs across different platforms for the same physical product.
The inventory also has to be updated in real-time which becomes increasingly difficult when with multiple sales channels. In order to tackle this issue, a centralised fulfilment platform has to be used to track the multiple SKUs across different channels. This will allow you to keep a track of your inventory and no discrepancies arise in your inventory levels.
2) Management of 3PL Partners
The adoption of the Omnichannel Fulfilment Strategy centralises your fulfilment process. But, this can complicate your operations from a logistical standpoint, especially if your customer base is spread across different geographical locations.
In such cases, the need for better operations management software like ClickPost is felt. The software allows you to manage and integrate with different logistic partners with ease while using AI/ML to provide you with automated and optimised 3PL choices on your platform.
3) Complicated Order Tracking
Live order tracking is an important part of the online shopping experience today. With the help of live order tracking, companies can reduce the customer’s post-buy anxiety and buyer’s remorse. This not only elevates the customer experience on your platform but also reduces the instances of order cancellation.
While integrating the fulfilment across different channels, a rock-solid order tracking strategy has to be put in place. This requires the brands and marketplaces to open a transparent communication channel between the sellers and customers.
As customer experience is the centre of every retail business, companies have to adapt to the hybrid selling model that the consumers have started to prefer. In order to do so, brands have started to adopt the Omnichannel Fulfilment approach.
The digital world is constantly evolving and brands have to formulate their marketing techniques and channels according to the current trends. The omnichannel order fulfilment strategy allows you to venture into a newer space without having to create a separate fulfilment infrastructure. As a result, brands can use multiple marketing channels and strategies according to their visions without disrupting the supply chain. On the other hand, customers get a unified experience across different channels.
With this approach, brands can integrate their inventory from multiple online and offline touchpoints. This also allows brands to service the customers faster with the local storefronts in the vicinity to improve the delivery speed and accuracy. At the same time, the brands can maintain a real-time inventory for all channels, allowing them to optimise the supply chain operations by restocking the unsold inventory across multiple channels. This allows the brand to create a listing on multiple channels using a single physical unit.