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Holistic view of stock increases online product availability by 21%, new research reveals

By Romulus Grigoras, CEO and founder of OneStock 

Did you know that having a holistic view of stock across your entire business increases the number of products available to online shoppers by 21%?  

A study of 50 retailers we recently carried out revealed that integrating data from all touchpoints, including warehouses, stores, drop shippers and suppliers, and maintaining a single view of stock for retail teams and customers, increased the availability rate of products to more than 96%.

The retail sector is undergoing monumental changes. While the current health crisis has accelerated a shift towards online commerce, the industry is rebuilding its foundations and everything is subject to scrutiny – financial models, internal organisation, logistical flows and technology. 

There are a number of questions retailers must address to sell effectively in today’s climate. The answers will have an impact across entire supply chains and supporting systems, and help to create a business model that enables retailers to respond in an agile way to current and future trends.

How can you meet customer expectations and provide exceptional experiences while still maximising profitability? What about increasing the number of full-price sales and minimising markdowns? 

Reducing carbon footprint is now a key consideration – how can retailers modify production and distribution processes? What does the future hold for stores, and what roles will sales associates play, particularly during a pandemic? 

The single worst thing retailers can do is plan for how things were. 

Our research also looked at order management processes in brick and mortar stores, and how they were supporting new customer habits. The study showed that retailers packing and shipping items from stores – effectively turning stores in to mini warehouses – increased turnover between 25% and 30%, while those offering customers in-store appointments for a more personalised service saw average order value rise threefold. 

Adjusting stock levels in real time was found to minimise the risk of order cancellation due to a lack of available items from 5% on average to 2%. 

Co-ordinating design and manufacturing processes, distribution strategy, pricing and promotions, customer experiences and customer service will ensure cohesive operational excellence across the multiple software requirements a retail business needs to effect this transformation. 

An order management system (OMS) acts like a control tower at the heart of the business, providing a comprehensive, real-time view of inventory which in turn enables the optimisation of supporting commercial and logistics services. 

With customers making purchases across a range of sales channels and inventory flowing from vendors, through holding facilities and on to homes, offices or collection locations, an OMS provides a unified purchasing experience. It’s pivotal to ensuring product availability, maximising sales, minimising working capital, increasing margins and delivering an optimal customer shopping journey. 

If ROI and customer satisfaction are key drivers of investment decisions, then an OMS is an indispensable component of the digital landscape. 

The store is changing from where people go to buy things, to a place they visit to experience products and brands. These experiences must be engaging and create excitement, but also play an essential role in a retailer’s overall logistics strategy. And of course, careful stock management – above all avoiding overstocking – drives profitability. 

Whether we are retailers, manufacturers, logistics or technology providers, we can all collaborate to meet the expectations of customers who are increasingly demanding, tech-savvy and have a growing sense of social and environmental responsibility. 

Download the white paper here. This guide is intended to give CEOs, digital, retail and supply chain directors as well as CIOs visibility of the foundations of new retail, serving as a practical guide to the modern OMS and its application in an agile and evolving environment.

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