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GUEST COMMENT How do I get my customers on my side?

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GUEST COMMENT How do I get my customers on my side?
GUEST COMMENT How do I get my customers on my side?
As a retailer, from time to time it is essential to take a step back and consider the pressures on a customer. Work, family, hobbies and other commitments make it harder and harder for them to actually get out to the shops.

The result is that customers demand more. Speed is essential and accuracy a must – these people don’t have time to mess around. But fear not – the solutions are actually simpler than you might think.

Speeding up the supply chain

Recent research by Manhattan Associates found that 60% of shoppers are more likely to buy from a retailer offering a two-hour click-and-collect service or 90-minute delivery dispatch.

This shouldn’t be a surprise. It takes away the time-consuming aspects of getting what you need. Customers can be in-and-out, or have their goods on their doorstep right away.

How to change

Despite the demand, only 13% of retailers offer next day delivery and only 11 per cent currently ship from store. This gives an idea of the scale of the opportunity in front of many retailers. The question is, how?

To implement a two-hour click and collect service can put retailers into a state of rushed panic. And drop shipping might seem like a mammoth task. However, with the right fundamentals in place throughout the supply chain, these service options can be easily put in place.

In actual fact, the benefits of effective multi-channel management are far greater for the retailer than they are for the customer. It all stems from a real time, single inventory pool. Visibility of all stock allows a single fulfilment strategy. This will match both supply and demand in the most profitable way. Plus speed up the whole operation.

The ability to see

Enhanced visibility allows retailers to see what stock is available where, at any specific time. Along with the single fulfilment system, retailers will be able to see the most profitable way of delivering goods to customers from the most efficient location, whether directly from store, a supplier or a local warehouse.

By having this one view of all stock and fulfilment options, retailers have the opportunity to make smarter decisions.

Improving the customer experience is of paramount importance. We’re seeing multiple companies changing their strategies on a grand scale – from Morrisons to HMV.

The single inventory pool allows the flexibility to mix up where orders are fulfilled from. This means capturing orders not only boosts sales figures, but also profits and customer loyalty.

Visibility -> availability -> sales. This is a simple flow of events. Achieving it can seem daunting, but it all stems from a relatively simple proposition at its core: the single inventory pool.

Craig Sears-Black, UK managing director, Manhattan Associates

Alex MacPherson, Solutions & Account Manager, Manhattan Assoicates will be discussing Omni-Channel at the Internet Retailing jumpstart at RSA House on 23 April 2014. Register for your free place here.
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