Nowadays, consumers have a variety of ways to purchase their favorite products.
They can go the traditional route of visiting the storefront. But in our modern technological era, many simply opt to order goods via those same companies' websites. Meanwhile, others choose to order through a third-party marketplace such as Amazon or eBay.
However, with all of these options available, consumers usually pick the one that offers the best deal. Smart brands realize this and implement omnichannel fulfillment to counter it while also maximizing potential sales.
But, what is omnichannel fulfillment exactly?
Is it any different than the fulfillment of e-Commerce sales, or those completed at brick and mortar retail stores?
Are there special techniques applied to properly monitor and ship products through this medium?
Well, today, we are going to answer all of these questions and then some...
Defining Omnichannel Fulfillment
The omnichannel fulfillment process is simply the method of taking advantage of the ability to fulfill orders in a variety of ways.
More importantly, it ensures that all channels a company utilizes to process orders run smoothly and work well together.
Here's an example of what omnichannel fulfillment looks like in action:
A customer orders a product by visiting the company website.
The product is stored at a fulfillment center and later shipped out to the customer. Likewise, the order could be purchased online and sent to a retail location nearest the customer for them to pick up when convenient.
The entire idea of omnichannel fulfillment is that all of the retailer’s inventory is accessed to get products to the customers no matter how they wish to make the purchase.
Additionally, while the concept of omnichannel fulfillment is fairly straightforward, there are several methods through which it can be achieved.
Let's take a look at a few of these...
Shipping from the Warehouse
With this method, the product ships directly from a warehouse to the customer.
Shipping from Manufacturer
Retailers who work closely with their retailers have one giant advantage. They have the flexibility to ship directly to the consumer without any delays.
Shipping from 3PL or Fulfillment Center
Several merchants partner with 3PLs like Redwood Logistics or fulfillment centers. This is, essentially, dropshipping.
Ship from the Store
In some cases, the customer will order online then pick up at a retail location.
Shipping to 3rd Party Partner
The final omnichannel fulfillment strategy is the newest kid on the block.
With this method, the company either brokers with or creates independent pickup centers.
In most cases, this is only viable for a smaller package that can be stored in a locker. More often than not, this means a location in a public area such as a gas station, transportation depot, or parking facility.
When the order is delivered to that locker, the customer is sent pick-up details.
Benefits of Omnichannel Fulfillment
This method has a primary objective of maximizing the opportunities for consumers to receive and purchase products.
Some customers prefer to shop on third-party discount websites, like Amazon, Overstock, and more. Yet, there are others who prefer to deal directly with the manufacturer.
The primary benefits to activating an omnichannel fulfillment platform include...
Improved Customer Service
The key to customer service is providing them with solutions that cater to their wants and needs.
The omnichannel fulfillment platform gives customers the flexibility to shop where they prefer, and quickly deliver the products via the methods and locations they desire.
Improves Brand Awareness
Hosting your products on multiple websites and platforms provides multiple opportunities to introduce your brand and products to multiple demographics and consumers. The more visible the brand – the higher the brand optimization.
Obviously, when you maximize the locations and opportunities for selling a product, you’re likely going to benefit from increased sales.
Ready to Explore Omnichannel Fulfillment for Your Supply Chain?
Omnichannel fulfillment is the future of retail!
However, implementing this type of strategy takes a solid understanding of the opportunities and risks involved. Furthermore, an experienced 3PL like Redwood Logistics has the knowledge and understanding of omnichannel fulfillment and helps several clients integrate this strategy with very little hassle.