My husband and I love to renovate: he enjoys the sense of accomplishment and I delight in the opportunity to synergize product selections to create an inviting home experience. The endless aisle of online shopping is a boon when it comes to finding the ideal item. The opposite is true, however, when it comes to my need to obtain the selections on my schedule – which, my fellow renovators can appreciate, usually involves a late night selection accompanied by the need for a next-day pickup.
And so it is across nearly all retail categories today. The promise of omni-channel, particularly when shopping to “find in store” or “reserve online, pickup in store,” remains a challenging process for the shopper and thus an obstacle to revenue for retailers.
The good news is it need not be so. But before we understand how we can transform the current environment into a profitable, frictionless customer commerce experience as promised by “click & collect,” it is critical to understand the “why” behind today’s reality.
Disconnected Systems Deliver Unfortunate Experience
Not surprisingly perhaps, the problem stems primarily from the disconnect between supply chain execution systems, including customer buying systems. Traditional customer buying experience solutions – e-commerce platforms, store associate mobility, and call centers – are often disconnected in time from sourcing logic which understands inventory and makes final decisions on when and where inventory can be delivered. As a result, the customer experience is frustrated by the need to search for individual item availability by store rather than being able to input location preference and item requirements, and receive a confirmation of time and place or alternative options.
Downstream, transportation systems for online orders are separate from those which handle store replenishment, diminishing opportunities to utilize existing fleets to squeeze more efficiency from last mile transactions. Traditional store systems lack the ability to link inbound store transfers to customer orders requiring consolidation before pickup.
Frictionless Workflows Enable Profitable Customer Satisfaction
So how does a late night need for next day pickup of home renovation products maintained in both the fulfillment center and the store turn into a delightful customer experience? This is where the JDA-IBM partnership solutions are delivering on the omni-channel promise.
Beginning with visibility to inventory properly positioned to reflect the true source of demand, IBM Order Management is empowered to source orders from multiple locations to meet the new consumer’s high expectations: such as next day pickup for orders combining fast and slow moving items. Empowerment stems from IBM Order Management’s ability to execute priority customer transfers using JDA Warehouse Management and to utilize JDA Transportation’s optimization logic to blend store replenishment and customer orders on a single load and to route store delivery to meet customer commitments. The process culminates in IBM Store which completes the customer transaction after consolidating in-store item picks with inbound transfer orders.
And how does this translate into a frictionless experience for the home renovator looking for the right faucet for the bathroom or light fixture to convert the canned light in the kitchen?
She goes online to her favorite retailer and selects the local store and items, ignorant of current inventory positions. Equally unaware of background order sourcing logic execution, she is pleased to see the goods will be available for her next day in her local store at a workable time. When the warehouse ships the goods from the fulfillment center to her local store according to the transportation plan, she is notified her order is on schedule. And finally, when goods arrive in store, she is alerted that she can head down for pickup. With a sigh of relief, and likely a few other items she selected while in the store, she heads home to put the finishing touches on the house.