Omni channel retailing is a distribution strategy where retail, wholesale and e-Commerce channels merge together to give consumers a seamless end-to-end experience from anywhere. This strategy is becoming more prevalent due to the increase in information availability online and via mobile access. Consumers are making the effort to further educate themselves before making a purchase to ensure product or service satisfaction.
Consumers now have higher expectations about the shopping experience, expecting fast and efficient delivery times while using whichever channel or combination of channels that they prefer. Recent trends have shown that mobile and online shopping is capturing a large portion of buyer activity regardless of age or demographic.
Distribution and fulfillment centers must optimize their network in a few key areas to ensure a positive experience for consumers. These areas include, but are not limited to: shipping, in-store customer pick-ups, inventory visibility, network speed and agility, and order capture across all channels. The tools that many companies are incorporating into their omni channel strategy include a robust warehouse management system (WMS), an order management system (OMS), cartonization configurators, and shipping rate shopping tools. The functionality held within these tools, typically powered by strong workflow foundation, can make any facility omni channel ready.
If warehousing and distribution facilities have any desire to effectively and efficiently manage an omni channel strategy acquiring these tools and adopting a more modern mindset should be at the top of their task list.