As omni-channel retail networks become more complex and customer’s demands advance it is important to understand both your customer’s expectations and how your supply chain business performs the functions necessary to meet those expectations. Understanding retail order fulfillment expectations is the first step to avoiding fulfillment disasters such as those seen by Best Buy in the 2014 holiday season.

Each product market will handle order fulfillment differently as customer’s expectations vary based on product type in many cases. On-time delivery and order accuracy are two factors that strongly impact customer loyalty. The study published by Supply Chain Brain – from a survey performed in December 2014, details consumer expectations for retail order fulfillment and the impact late and incorrect orders have on buyer behavior.

One mistake being made by many supply chain and logistics businesses is the lack of proper inventory management functionality within their warehouse management software. Many of these supply chain service providers are utilizing outdated software, or even performing tasks manually. Upgrading your automated data collection network and implementing a functionally robust warehouse management system (WMS) can provide your business with significant benefits not realized with manual and paper-based processes.

Automated data collection networks can be comprised of any combination of mobile devices, networking, and material handling technology. Businesses performing omni-channel order fulfillment typically integrate a combination of mobile and mounted computers and barcode scanners, automated storage and retrieval systems, wireless networking and industrial printing solutions. These devices, in combination with your WMS can provide a constant flow of data throughout your operation, increasing inventory visibility for both your team and your customers, help to pick and ship order quickly and accurately creating a better overall experience for your customers.

Having the proper technology can mean the difference between success and failure this holiday retail season. Utilize these technologies and your knowledge of your customer’s expectations to better meet customer needs and increase loyalty.

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