Inventory management, order fulfilment, customer data management, and staffing are key areas businesses must address to derive return on their investments in omnichannel retail
A wave of consolidation has hit Indian retail industry, and we look forward to a $2 trillion growth by 2032. Technology has played a pivotal role in powering this growth, making India the fifth-largest global destination for retail. With the industry discovering more applications for emerging trends like artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML), tech adoption has become important to accelerate retail businesses on a greater level. Indian retailers are riding this wave of tech innovations, leveraging omnichannel retail to ensure a seamless experience across consumer touchpoints.
While the path to unified retail seems like a maze, getting the technology as well as the operational playbook correct is the answer. Here are some of the critical areas that the playbook must address to deliver ROI in omnichannel retail:
- Inventory management
Omnichannel retailers face a significant challenge in managing their inventory across their brick-and-mortar establishments and e-commerce websites. They need to ensure that they have the right products in the right quantities available across all channels. Here’s where a robust inventory management system plays an important role to synchronize their inventory in real-time across all channels, making timely adjustments to stock levels, preventing stockouts, and delivering orders accurately and efficiently.
AI-powered inventory management systems have significantly transformed the way retailers handle their operations and enhance the overall consumer experience in an omnichannel retail environment. These automation-powered innovations are truly disrupting the traditional way of doing business.
- Order fulfillment
Creating a shopping experience without any hiccups requires investing in the right tools and systems. To deliver a smooth shopping experience, retailers must have efficient order processing systems in place. Quick and accurate processing of orders is crucial, and it should be possible to manage orders from various channels centrally.
Customers should receive timely updates on the status of their orders, so real-time tracking of orders is a must-have feature. Not only does it help retailers meet customer expectations, but it also reduces the likelihood of lost or delayed orders. An efficient order processing system is essential to enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty, ultimately contributing to revenue growth.
- Customer data management
Another crucial element of omnichannel retailing is collecting, storing, and analyzing customer data. Retailers must gather and store data on customers’ behaviour to offer personalized shopping experiences. With customer data management, retailers can provide tailor-made recommendations and promotions, which can increase customer engagement and drive sales.
The data will equip retailers with insights into consumer behaviour and help them make well-informed decisions. With the right data analytics tools in place, retailers can ace the consumer experience game and inspire consumer loyalty.
- Staffing and training
Cross-training is important for omnichannel retailers to deliver a seamless shopping experience to customers. Staff members must be equipped to handle customer requests across all channels and possess a thorough understanding of the unique characteristics of each channel.
By automating routine tasks, retailers can focus better on delivering personalized customer service. Additionally, cross-training staff is an essential part of building a bullet-proof omnichannel retail strategy. Creating such opportunities for the staff and investing in their development helps retailers improve operational efficiency, leading to better customer experiences. This not only increases customer satisfaction but also contributes to building brand loyalty.
Mukul Bafana is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Omuni, an omnichannel platform for retailers built by retail practitioners.