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omnichannel
By Sylvie Brunet
on 10 Jan 2018 5:21 PM

In retail, being able to manage a single shopping cart has become an essential part of centralizing and handling orders both on and offline. This approach allows us to better combine product flows and keep the promise of that oh-so-sought-after seamless shopping experience. How to increase efficiency throughout the buying process while guaranteeing a smooth-flowing shopping experience? How to implement a single omni-channel shopping cart? Your questions answered.

From expectations to reality

At the forefront, consumers have definitively overcome a barrier: whether they decide to interact with a company online or physically go to the shop, consumers have broken down the barriers of retail. They now expect a pleasant, smooth-flowing shopping experience anywhere, anytime.

As such, what are some of the obstacles that could get in the way of this experience? Every day, they hear how ‘modern’ technology makes miracles happen. With little empathy for subjects unknown to them, consumers in 2018 know perfectly well how to make a company pay when that company lags behind in technology!

Their impatience is tangible: if the e-commerce journey is too long, consumers are more than willing to abandon their shopping cart at any time. For 65% of consumers, excessive delivery fees will discourage them from making their purchase while 36% abandon their purchases when delivery is not free. Lastly, if the price is announced too late in the buying process, 39% will abandon their shopping carts (Temando study 2017).

In fact, consumers are in control and impose their diktat: permanent access to their previous orders; wish lists that they can easily go back to; consistent offers between e-store and in-store; saved options chosen online or in-store; access to advantages in real time; quick, reliable and (preferably free) delivery, etc. Who would have thought that this desire for freedom, ease and instantaneousness could be so difficult to achieve?

For more information: The importance of customer loyalty

Behind the scenes, retailers see things in a completely different light. Omni-channel retailing is the goal for all strategies out there; however, it remains a vain wish for many companies who are still looking for the structure that will allow them to easily implement a “seamless shopping experience based on a single shopping cart”, as promised by marketers.

In fact, the multiplication of in-store and out-store points of contact hinder the shopping experience which remains more fragmented than ever. The fluidity of the shopping process is so complex that companies remain stuck in one spot despite the efforts made.

A speedy transformation... still in progress

In fact, in very little time, the retail sector has had to transform itself more quickly than it ever has over the last decades. The explosion of e-commerce, with changing consumption habits, together with the fierce competition of Amazon, which never ceases to innovate, have shaken things up. This change forces companies to implement a more agile supply chain that is capable of processing the delivery of products within the hour of purchase and ensuring flexible returns. They also need to consider the point of sale as the point of delivery for click-and-collect processes.

Companies do not have a choice but to make changes to their services, customer experience and supply chain. In this last area, the 6th omni-channel retailing barometer by Capgemini Consulting, carried out in conjunction with LSA, provides a wealth of information. The results show that nowadays only 15% of distributors manage their inventory with a 100% omni-channel approach, in other words, with logistics sites that can supply all channels. Another noteworthy figure is that 20% of companies use shop inventory to fulfill ship-from-store orders.

In order to set up new customer experiences, you have to know exactly where your merchandise is. With regards to this point, one out of two distributors have implemented solutions to have at least a daily overview of inventory while 40% have an overview in real time. This time frame is becoming a standard in retail, together with shorter delivery times.

Down to the same problem: breaking down barriers between sales channels

Ultimately, whether we’re talking about the customer or the product, the same observation can be made: there is a critical need to break down the barriers between sales channels.

When it comes to achieving a logistic transformation, distributors consider that they are held back by their IT systems (55%) and their internal organization based on silos (30%), according to a Cap Gemini 2017 study. When managing omni-channel orders and offering a seamless customer experience, distributors always run into the same obstacle: silos.

In the past, sales channels were separated from one another with different applications and bases. Their operating modes were often written in stone. Not to mention that the competition driving the teams to maintain these silos often made cross-channel operations complicated.

A single omni-channel shopping cart for the reconciliation of products, orders and customers

What if a single omni-channel shopping cart could offer you a new way of transforming your operations? Instead of thinking in ‘channels’ and dealing with order, product and customer flows separately, this approach allows you to unify the 3 axes around a common “object”: a single shopping cart. This is precisely the approach offered by Generix.

No need for magic. Basically, a shopping cart (order) can be transferred regardless of its status (wish list, quote, order, invoice, etc.) along with the customer’s offers (customer loyalty rewards, coupons, gift cards, etc.) and embedded services related to the product (web-to-store, store-to-web). The single shopping cart crosses channels, thus breaking down the barriers.

Shopping carts are centralized and automatically synced: the sales channels are eliminated and replaced with a single hub. Even if the company uses virtual means at its points of sale to expand its catalog (interactive machines to access a marketplace, for example), the single omni-channel shopping cart adapts to ensure a hassle-free customer shopping experience, whether physical or digital.

Who delivers? Where? From what inventory? The status of a single shopping cart acts as a trigger for the flow of products. In fact, when placing an order, customers can add the options, services or products they like. Perhaps a certain sofa caught their eye on the internet. The single shopping cart can ensure stock in-store and add the decoration that goes with. The customer’s order will trigger the product flow: localization of sofa to be delivered (warehouse, in-store inventory or nearby store, etc.) and the delivery process. There is no need for reconciliation after the fact...

Further reading: Optimize your omni-channel sales performance with an OMS

Capable of breaking down the barriers between the different sales channels, the single omni-channel shopping cart is an essential tool for distribution networks concerned with reinforcing their technical and operational efficiency. Want to find out more about these solutions, especially the ones developed by Generix Group? Contact our experts by clicking the button below!

 

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  Source image à la Une : Fotolia – Kiss777