Omnichannel Fulfillment: Everything you Need to Know

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Everything to know about omnichannel fulfillment

Realigning retail fulfillment has been one of the most major shifts in the bygone decade and upgrades to the altering demands and needs of the consumer. Making a towering impact and standing out as the next giant leap for countless brands, omnichannel fulfillment opens up to a wider expanse of rethinking on customer satisfaction and accelerating brand loyalty. 

Operating in the backdrop of a digital age, consumers look up to an elevated experience that goes through a seamless journey covering product search to post-sales support. With the growing numbers in eCommerce websites, such a goal has been more difficult to achieve. Speaking in terms of efficiency and profitability which are vital here, understanding omnichannel fulfillment and the strategies associated with it becomes pivotal.

What is Omnichannel Fulfillment?

Order fulfillment takes place when a customer does a purchase. Omnichannel fulfillment meaning can be understood as the order fulfillment procedure that has been completed through various channels. It makes use of full resources to be found at the retailer’s disposal for delivering the order to the customer’s end. 

Let’s conceptualize this in a better way with the help of an example. An order which is placed and confirmed is accepted through a specific buy channel that is online and is shipped –to-store from the warehouse. At this stage, the warehouse takes up the identity of being a fulfillment center. On the other hand, it might be also considered to be picked up from in-store (brick and mortar store). 

When it comes to understanding this fulfillment model it is quite dynamic and different from other conventional models. ‘Straight ‘order in – warehouse fulfills’ process is a very common fulfillment model. It consists of having a particular business rule which is order management. 

However, this doesn’t bring in the flexibility of being optimized across various options. It won’t be restricted in getting the job done, but at the same time, it curbs the advantage of the retailer’s full resources. Comparing simple fulfillment with omnichannel fulfillment, the former might not be a profitable option for the merchant. Omnichannel fulfillment deals with making use of various order completion strategies, which highlights the sensibility and the advantage in picking for an option that is highly viable and profitable for the respective order being placed.

Benefits of Omnichannel Fulfillment

Due to its dynamic model, omnichannel fulfillment comes with an encouraging list of benefits that contributes to productively in retail fulfillment

Accelerates Retailers’ Business

With omnichannel fulfillment, a retailer gets the added advantage of optimizing cost reductions. For example, the retailer gets to choose the highly effective fulfillment process for every order that comes in. 

Additionally, the retailer also gets to decide to take care of extremely vital customer satisfaction. Through omnichannel fulfillment, a retailer can serve the satisfactory demands of a customer which either can be delivery speed or delivering consolidated orders through single delivery. Going ahead, retail management is furthermore enhanced due to successful and fitting order completions.

Improves Customer Satisfaction

To go further in explaining this advantage, let’s consider a hypothetical situation. A retailer who is environmentally responsible and focuses on ecological awareness, customers are more pulled by the noble philosophy and brand message. In such a scenario, the retailer considers turning on order consolidation. 

This means that the delivery will ensure to have all online orders to have been shipped in one single box. It might cause a delay but will stick to the retailer’s brand promise of a successful order completion in a consolidated manner. Quite evidently, this will enhance customers’ buying experience and even though slightly delayed yet for the happy and satisfactory final brand’s delivery, it retains the happy and loyal customer. 

Improves Retailer’s Operation

Omnichannel fulfillment lets retailers use multiple options when it comes it delivering goods or items to the customers. If due to some reason, one of the fulfillment routes fail, the operation can be diverted to other available options. For example, a severe snowstorm in winter months can lock out the distribution center for unprecedented days. 

A retailer having a single ship-from-DC approach will lose out massively not just only on profit but also on other lucrative options. However, a retailer using omnichannel fulfillment faces a completely different scenario; the business rules can be quickly altered as per the present situation demands. 

Enhanced Reporting

Using omnichannel brings you an effective fulfillment process and gets you access to instant reports. These reports further assist you in highlighting which are your most vital channels and where are improvements critically required. 

Stronger Brand Repute

Customers always look out for knowing the availability of product delivery and access irrespective of their geographical locations. They want more options which include home delivery, in-store pickups, or real-world store browsing. These channels demand to be consistent and flexible with your brand and if you want to elevate your brand image leverage fulfillment can be a game-changer for you. In other words, providing your customers with options of home delivery, in-store pickups or real-world store browsing builds a reliable and strong brand image and makes automatically boost your sales funnel. 

Types of Omnichannel Fulfillment Strategies

3PL fulfillment

3PL stands for third party logistics and is a great option that covers every aspect of omnichannel services. Customers will be placing their orders with you and the 3PL offers services to get those orders delivered to their respective shipping addresses. 

Quick and seamless are two most of the best standout features with 3PL fulfillment and as a process, it creates a link between the consumer and the business. Widely recommended, it has its own set of beneficial systems of outsourcing. 

Warehouse fulfillment

Warehouse fulfillment comes into the picture when a business owns or leases its warehouse facility. This means that the business ships to the customer order directly from that respective location. Quite a number of businesses use this method and operate from their facilities while there has been peaking numbers in warehouse providers who rents or leases out the space you are looking for. 

Store fulfillment

Businesses who have their physical outlets, store fulfillment defines to keep the stock within the store till the time it needed to be shipped to the respective address. Using a brick-and-mortar store as the single and central hub for fulfilling orders can be useful for small-sized businesses.

Taking your physical resources that are already available, it transforms into a distribution center or a warehouse. This becomes quite beneficial and helps the business owner in a few ways. 

Conclusion

Amidst all factors, omnichannel fulfillment is truly an opportunistic way for retailers and rewards back heavily for business brands who choose and practice it. Omnichannel sets an expectation for the consumers and gives them the hope of a better shopping experience. If your operation is not yet into an omnichannel process or operation then the current moment demarcates as the high priority time for you to implement it. 

Keep in mind that, it is not just about having an optimized routing and material handling. It is more of adapting to an enhanced way of doing the business. Don’t rush into it, learn the process, and implement it with precision. Retail fulfillment is not a small issue and should be taken very seriously and omnichannel fulfillment helps you to do it in a better way. 

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