Many businesses are reaching new customers and increasing sales by expanding across multiple sales channels. Consider the brick-and-mortar retail store adding options to purchase products on its website and social media platforms, or eCommerce brands increasing exposure by selling through larger marketplaces and retailers — both in-store and online.
A lot goes into investing in this type of strategy, as it can reap big rewards when done well. With this expansion comes the need for an omnichannel fulfillment solution. But what is omnichannel fulfillment? And how can it help you grow your business?
What Is Omnichannel Fulfillment?
In short, omnichannel fulfillment is a strategy to distribute your products across all your selling channels. This includes:
- Direct to consumer, such as through eCommerce orders
- Direct to a retailer, where specialty retail shops and stores sell your product
- Direct to wholesale, where items are sent to retailers’ distribution centers
Omnichannel and multichannel fulfillment are often used interchangeably, but omnichannel fulfillment uses centralized order processing and inventory management to deliver to multiple channels, whereas multichannel fulfillment typically uses unique management systems for each channel.
Time savings is one of the biggest consumer benefits of the omnichannel approach. For example, a person can order a product from their closest retailer rather than a warehouse far away. Or, in some cases, they can even buy online and pick up in store (BOPIS), which again decreases turnaround time to help satisfy the growing customer expectation of fast receipt of their order.
Benefits of Omnichannel Fulfillment
In addition to time savings and having products where customers are buying them, another big benefit of omnichannel fulfillment is how much easier inventory management can become. This allows orders, for example, to be delivered:
- Store to direct customer (and vice versa for returns)
- Warehouse to store
- Store to store
- Warehouse to direct customer (and vice versa for returns)
- Warehouse to pick-up location (such as a retailer)
The ultimate benefit is that it’s smoother and easier to meet customers’ expectations and delight them with a positive experience. And this leads to future orders. In fact, when it comes to brand loyalty, up to 83% of customers say that how they’re treated is as important, if not more, than the products they’re buying1.
Successful Omnichannel Fulfillment
With omnichannel fulfillment, you can win customers with the flexibility and choice they want. You’re also saving your company time and money by investing in greater flexibility in your warehouse and logistics to support retailers and end customers.
To be successful at an omnichannel fulfillment strategy, communication is vital. That includes eliminating silos between channels and maximizing collaboration, so everyone is on the same page. It also includes advanced warehouse management and IT to track inventory and delivery in real time and ensure synchronization across multiple channels.
With so many moving parts, a great third-party logistics (3PL) partner with experience working through the complexities of omnichannel fulfillment is critical to your success.
Ready to learn more about QuickBox’s omnichannel fulfillment services and how we can help you grow? Contact us today.