Why Is Omnichannel Fulfillment Important?
What does “important” mean?
To be important means to have “great value, have “great effect” or to be “necessary.”
Omnichannel fulfillment is an important adoption for any growing business. The benefits derived from omnichannel fulfillment aid long-term benefits that otherwise cannot be accomplished.
In this article, you will understand ways omnichannel fulfillment adds value to businesses, impacts business growth, and lays an instrumental foundation to your logistics mastery.
What are 5 reasons omnichannel fulfillment is essential? Read to find out.
Omnichannel fulfillment does the following:
1. Omnichannel fulfillment addresses evolving consumer demands
Consumer behaviours evolve on a daily basis. There is no dead end to this evolution, which summons businesses to act regularly to gratify these demands.
As a business owner, the only approach is the customer-centric approach. Ecommerce’s steadfast growth has made omnichannel fulfillment a necessity in addressing demanding business and customer expectations, such as faster and cheaper delivery.
With the ongoing pandemic, ecommerce sales have surged and consumers’ demands are increasing more than ever. This leaves businesses no choice but to revamp logistical operations to meet those needs. Amazon takes advantage of omnichannel fulfillment to provide the lowest and fastest shipping rates. With Amazon Prime, Amazon sets the bar for speed. For years, Amazon’s customers were content with 7-day shipping but the steady demand for faster shipping in recent years forged the birth of Amazon Prime. Tracing back, studies indicated 73% of Amazon customers considered 2-day shipping fast, which is a promise Amazon Prime is able to deliver on because of omnichannel fulfillment. Omnichannel fulfillment addresses consumers’ evolving expectations such as delivery demands and propels customers to continue purchasing with the same brand.
2. Omnichannel fulfillment facilitates easy returns for customers
Based on patterns on customers’ purchasing behaviour, customers are more likely to return to a company that offers return or exchange options.
However, orchestrating returns can be tricky. You have to think of collection points, shipping costs, and the messy process of going back and forth with a dissatisfied customer. This is sensitive and tricky because you are dealing with a customer that will tighten his demands more from you now than when he purchased a product from you.
Luckily, omnichannel fulfillment is a driver of innovation. In one good example, Rothy’s, a top fashion brand established in San Francisco, found an unconventional route to addressing the issue of returns. Rothy’s has only 8 retail locations and when buyers want to return products, there may not be a nearby store to accept and process the returns or exchanges. Hence, they established a third-party understanding with Happy Returns, a reverse logistics company, to enable buyers to return products for free and in a contactless way at one of over 38,000 Return Bar locations.
SnT partners with CollectCo for returns. CollectCo has 1200 touchpoints.
Moreover, Happy Returns prompts buyers to easily exchange products instead of returning them. With one-click suggestions, the rate of product exchange by Happy Returns’ customers increased by over 35%. Omnichannel fulfilment has helped Rothy’s save cost as well as retain countless sales when buyers choose to exchange an item instead of return it. Ultimately, Rothy’s customers are satisfied with the convenience afforded with Happy Returns.
3. Omnichannel fulfillment enables holistic and seamless customer experience
Another reason why omnichannel fulfillment is important?
Customers get the same amazing brand experience across offline and online channels.
With omnichannel fulfillment, businesses sync inventory and order processing for higher order efficiency and accuracy-
Streamlining multiple channels into one platform enhances efficiency and accuracy in order processing, delivery, and shipping. Furthermore, it provides warehouse operators transparency on orders. When it comes to providing the best customer experience, inventory is a major factor. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, inventory is the “single biggest capital investment a company makes.” Decisions on where to locate and fulfill orders affect customer experience, cash flow, distribution operations, transportation costs and profitability. These decisions are strongly influenced by omnichannel inventory management alone.
Therefore, a synced and real-time inventory is crucial for online and offline stores. A synced inventory avoids the possibility of losing sales such as when customers are unable to purchase an item due to that product being out of stock. With omnichannel out-of-stock management, this possibility can be inhibited.
Besides that, omnichannel fulfilment enables retailers to centralise their business data from all the sources and channels to analyse and discover optimal ways to adjust operations and provide best-in-class service to customers. The business data can then be utilised for demand forecasts and firsthand insight into customer buying trends. This helps retailers take full advantage of offering products that appeal to consumers. Through omnichannel fulfillment, customers can shop on any platform and still enjoy the same experience he/she would at a brick and mortar store or on the online store.
4. Omnichannel fulfillment nurtures sales
In modern-day retail, customers hunt for convenience, unique or diverse product offerings, and brand experience.
Businesses experience growth over time as they make shifts along the way. These shifts could be in regards to product innovation, service individualisation, ease of payment methods online, speed of shipping, cost of shipping, product availability, and more.
Yet somehow, there are time-tested fundamentals in place that cannot be overlooked. Customers consistently return to brands that offer both convenience and best product experience. If they cannot get that same desired product elsewhere for a cheaper or faster rate, they will keep coming back to your store. As a result of this hope-centred return, your brand gains the privilege of attracting a thousand other customers that approach shopping the same way, win them over, thus generating more sales for your company.
For example, there is Amazon Prime that we mentioned earlier. With omnichannel fulfillment, Amazon leverages on key factors like product offering and availability, convenience, ease of payment methods, delivery fees and options. As a result, Amazon rakes in even more profits as over 50% of Amazon Prime’s one-day and same-day delivery customers increased their average spending amount on Amazon.
This is a demonstration of the power of omnichannel fulfillment and its impacts on the end consumer.
5. Omnichannel fulfillment empowers better branding
A poor fulfillment structure can easily sabotage your brand.
Contrariwise, an established omnichannel fulfillment strategy driven by a customer-centric focus sets the foundation for branding. Branding simply means “a strong positive perception of a company.” Go to any retailer online page and you will find countless reviews like those below:
- 1-star review: “Slow shipping.”
- 1-star review: Took one week for next-day delivery, they blamed it on supply chain disruption due to Covid but I’m sure it’s just poor management and operations!”
- 1-star review: “I ordered an item and they sent me the wrong one. Apparently my item was out of stock but the website did not indicate that at time of purchase.
- 1-star review: “I tried returning a product but they are making me pay expensive fees to return it. Never coming back again!!!”
If you notice, these poor review examples are based on a company’s fulfillment strategy, yet they create major repercussions on a brand.
This example demonstrates why branding is not based on a company’s public visibility or paid marketing alone. It is first and foremost driven by the service you provide your customers. All elements in your business from operations to logistics to manpower to customer experience must harmonise with each other. Businesses practising omnichannel fulfillment are experiencing full control over all internal and external factors of their brand. The stronger the brand image, the better the customer’s response.
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About SnT Global
SnT Global Logistics is a Best In Class Omnichannel Fulfillment Partner in Southeast Asia that offers order fulfillment services for both online and offline retail businesses.
Our order fulfillment services are enabled by state-of-the-art technologies to meet the fast-changing requirements of the New Retail revolution. We offer fully integrated logistics services such as warehousing, order fulfillment with multi-channel integration, cross border management, and customer service helpdesk.
We offer flexible solutions that fit your channel strategy, meeting the demands of you and your customers. We execute our services with the highest integrity to ensure that your customers are delighted by our best-in-class fulfilment service.
With our expertise in fulfillment, we benefit brands ranging from Retail, FMCG, Consumer Electronics, Fashion and Apparel, Skin Care, Cosmetics and many more.