Today’s consumer lives in the Now Economy. That means expectations are that I can get what I want, when I want it and fast. This evolution in consumer expectations creates a big challenge for retailers as they need to rethink their approach for physical and digital storefronts. The opportunity for retailers is to create a blended, seamless path between digital and physical to better meet what consumers are expecting. Consumers don’t see the difference and retailers need to pay attention.
In fact, research from OuterBox found that 80% of shoppers used a mobile phone inside of a physical store to either look up product reviews, compare prices or find alternative product locations, and 79% of smartphone users have made a purchase online using their mobile device in the last 6 months.
But with the ongoing impacts of global economic uncertainty, retailers everywhere are dealing with inventory imbalances. Since the pandemic began, 56% of consumers said that out-of-stock items are more prevalent than in the past and 42% say in-store assortments seem more limited. And yet many other items that consumers may not be purchasing right now are overstocked.
To avoid imbalances, it is important that retailers have better data and can deliver the items their customers want quickly through their ecommerce capabilities. The ability and agility to move quickly can minimize inventory issues and capitalize on demand in real-time.
What can retailers do to better connect in-store and ecommerce?
Clearly, the in-store experience is undergoing evolution, but it’s not disappearing. Retailers are being challenged to create a true omnichannel experience to better meet customer needs and expectations. Ecommerce capabilities can help customers have an overall better experience in getting them the products they need quickly whether the purchase is made in-store or through the website or an app.
Some retailers have begun using stores as mini warehouses and ship-from-store has given retailers a fast way to fulfill online orders. To do this effectively, you need to be able to unlock inventory from across your store network and get it to where a consumer wants it. A robust inventory management tool can provide the visibility into your assortment, so you know what’s in-stock, available and local along with the insights to coordinate the fulfillment of orders and delivery from various store locations that are close to customers, including offering options like same-day delivery capabilities.
Leveraging a unified drop ship and marketplace solution, like Commerce Suite, can help expand your assortment seamlessly through a network of suppliers and help to mitigate out-of-stock issues or overstock you may be experiencing in your distribution centers. Relying on third-party suppliers who align with your brand promise can also ensure customers get their items quickly while still delivering a customer experience (CX) they’ve come to expect from your brand.
In-store and ecommerce capabilities working together can optimize the customer journey, helping to increase brand loyalty and ensure an exceptional CX. Find out how we can help make your omnichannel strategy a success. Contact us.