The holiday buying season is getting close. Is your retail business ready to deliver?
According to eMarketer, many retailers have taken major steps this year to “improve their inventory systems and fulfillment options,” bracing for in-store shoppers and, more specifically, those consumers who shop online, especially with their cell phones. That is a smart strategy, since “45% of shopping trips include some mobile shopping,” and last-minute online shoppers will expect on-time delivery of holiday orders.
Retailers using the technology of an integrated inventory management system can offer a variety of fulfillment options for the online shopper. For example, customers can choose to order online and pick up in-store, or choose next-day delivery. And retailers with multiple store locations can fulfill online orders from any store and ship anywhere.
When you consider how many days there are between Black Friday, Hanukkah and Christmas, it really is a short, and frenzied, buying season. Larger brick-and-mortar retailers that offer online shopping are bracing for it but, according to a survey by Boston Retail Partners, those retailers make up less than 42% overall. Considering how ecommerce growth is exploding, it will be interesting to see if that percentage goes up in 2017.
Chris Haines, the director of strategy at Fluid, a technology firm, says, “You have to think of [online and offline] as one store…Brands are making that investment and it really is paying off.”
Improved inventory systems and fulfillment options “has allowed for better and more varied pickup and delivery options for online purchases.” It is a must to have an inventory management and fulfillment strategy that integrates efficiently between in-store and online buying activity.
If your inventory management system can’t handle the ecommerce growth explosion, it’s time for a better system.