As manufacturers and wholesale distributors prepare to face a challenging new year, they will have to consider how best to meet growing customer demand across all channels. According to an article posted on the NetSuite blog, the growth in demand for an omnichannel experience shows no signs of subsiding.
Customers want to shop, order and return items easily both in-store and online with a seamless customer service experience. Outdated retail distribution software can prove crippling to retailers and distributors seeking to keep up with competition and satisfy their customers. According to the article, there are four principles on which distributors must focus to meet these demands.
- Seamless commerce: Retailers and distributors must realize that their customers are often doing their shopping online and then completing their transaction in the store.
“Customers are coming to the store to transact, and that means they must be able to quickly locate a nearby store with the products they choose, quickly locate the product and complete the transaction,” the article explains.
The ability of a business to provide this option relies on flexible retail distribution software that can integrate an inventory management system with a web store and a point-of-sale system.
- Order orchestration: Each distribution center, warehouse and retail location must be a part of a larger system. Once again, success in this endeavor relies on retail distribution software that can properly manage multi-location inventory, which provides not only a good experience for customers but can also reduce overstocking and fulfillment time, thereby increasing profit.
- New business models: Forward-thinking retailers and distributors may consider offering their customers physical and digital fulfillment through subscription-based services or turn to 3-D-based printing as another source of inventory.
Branden Jenkins, GM of retail for NetSuite, writes in the article that “retailers who offer access to these innovative services will win the omnichannel customer and earn loyalty over competitors whose siloed approach guarantees a disconnect between brand and buyer.”
- Future-proofing: It’s impossible for any business to predict the future, but retailers and distributors that continue to use narrow, purpose-built retail distribution software will not have the flexibility and agility required to experiment with and successfully adapt to new market trends and business opportunities.
“Those capabilities are found in cloud solutions, which also provide the architecture needed to break down data silos and provide a comprehensive view of products and customers, wherever they are and whenever your business needs the insights,” Jenkins writes.
Contact us to see how cloud retail distribution software can increase your success in 2014.
Source: NetSuite blog, January 2014