In today’s retail landscape, customers expect to shop and receive their orders seamlessly across multiple channels, including in-store, online, and mobile. As a result, businesses must adapt their logistics operations to meet these demands through the use of omnichannel fulfilment. This blog post will explore the concept of omnichannel logistics and provide tips on how to deliver a seamless customer experience.
Table of contents
What is omnichannel fulfilment?
Omnichannel fulfilment is a logistics strategy that allows businesses to deliver products to customers across multiple channels, such as in-store, online, and mobile. It involves integrating inventory management, order fulfilment, and delivery operations across all channels to provide a consistent customer experience.
In an omnichannel logistics strategy, businesses must ensure that their customers can easily purchase products and have them delivered through any channel they choose. For example, a customer might order a product online, and then choose to pick it up in-store or have it delivered to their home. To deliver this seamless experience, businesses need to have the ability to manage inventory across all channels, track orders and shipments, and ensure the timely delivery of products.
The key to successful omnichannel fulfilment is having a flexible logistics network that can quickly adapt to changing customer demands. This might involve using 3rd party delivery services and local delivery options to offer greater convenience to customers – and leveraging real-time data to optimise delivery routes and reduce delivery times.
Overall, omnichannel fulfilment is important for businesses that want to provide a seamless and consistent customer experience across all channels. By integrating inventory management, order fulfilment, and delivery operations, businesses can increase customer loyalty and gain a competitive edge in the market.
94% of companies now use multiple channels to engage with customers
Key Challenges of Omnichannel Logistics
Achieving a successful omnichannel logistics strategy is not without its challenges. You must keep up with the ever-changing expectations of customers who demand fast, accurate, and flexible delivery options. Implementing an effective omnichannel logistics strategy can be challenging due to several factors, including:
1. Managing inventory across multiple channels: Managing inventory can be complex, especially when products are sold through different channels. Businesses need to ensure that they have the right products in the right locations to meet customer demand, which requires real-time visibility into inventory levels across all channels.
2. Fulfilling orders across multiple channels: Fulfilling orders can be complicated when customers have the option to purchase products through different channels. For example, a customer might order a product online and then choose to pick it up in-store. Businesses need to ensure that they can fulfil orders accurately and quickly across all channels.
3. Meeting changing customer demands: Customers’ expectations constantly evolve around faster delivery times, more flexible delivery options, or personalised unboxing experiences. Businesses need to be able to adapt to meet these changing demands.
4. Integrating technology: Omnichannel logistics requires the integration of various technologies, including inventory management systems, order management systems, and delivery management systems. Ensuring that these systems work together seamlessly can be a challenge – which is precisely why we created proprietary online fulfilment software for today’s busy business owners selling on multiple channels.
5. Balancing costs and profitability: Omnichannel logistics can be expensive, and businesses need to ensure that they are balancing the costs of providing a seamless customer experience with their profitability. For example, offering free shipping or same-day delivery can be costly, and businesses need to ensure that these services are generating enough revenue to be profitable. Working with a 3pl however can save you time and money by outsourcing all the time, effort, and inventory space needed for typical in-house fulfilment operations.
Overall, businesses must overcome these challenges to successfully implement an omnichannel logistics strategy. By addressing these challenges, businesses can provide a seamless customer experience across all channels and gain a competitive edge in the market.
Strategies for Delivering a Seamless Customer Experience
Here are some strategies that businesses can implement to deliver a good customer experience with omnichannel fulfilment:
Provide a consistent experience across all channels
One of the key benefits of omnichannel fulfilment is that it provides customers with multiple options for purchasing and receiving products. However, it’s important to ensure that the customer experience is consistent across all channels. This means having a unified brand identity, consistent pricing, and a seamless checkout process, regardless of how the customer chooses to shop.
Use technology to enable seamless operations
Technology plays a critical role in enabling seamless omnichannel fulfilment. For example, businesses can use inventory management software to ensure that products are available in the right locations and order management software to ensure that orders are fulfilled quickly and accurately. Businesses should use real-time data and analytics to optimise delivery routes, reduce delivery times, and offer personalised recommendations to customers.
Ensure real-time visibility and communication with customers
Providing real-time visibility into the status of orders and shipments is critical to delivering a good customer experience. Customers want to know when their orders will arrive, and businesses should be proactive in communicating any delays or issues that may arise. This includes providing customers with tracking information, sending automated updates on order status, and enabling customers to communicate directly with customer service representatives.
Optimise last-mile delivery
Last-mile delivery is the final leg of the delivery process, and it can have a significant impact on the customer experience. Businesses should consider using rapid 3pl services to offer greater convenience to customers. They can also use real-time data to optimise delivery routes and reduce delivery times, which can help to increase customer satisfaction – creating loyal lifelong customers for your online brand.
Leverage data to personalise the customer experience
Omnichannel fulfilment provides businesses with a wealth of data on customer preferences and buying behaviours. Businesses can use this data to offer personalised recommendations, and promotions, and offer bundles that are tailored to their customer’s buying choices.
Overall, these strategies can help businesses to deliver a seamless customer experience across all channels. By providing a high-quality customer experience, businesses can increase customer loyalty and gain a competitive edge in the market.
90% of retail leaders agree that a seamless omnichannel strategy is crucial for business success
Successful Omnichannel Logistic strategy with Debenhams
Debenhams is one of the largest retailers in the UK. During Covid, they went through liquidation managed by Hilco. They had no warehouse space and excess stock needed to be sold fast. A cost-effective solution was needed. Cue Selazar fulfilment.
It was our responsibility of ours to plan, manage, and deliver 264 SKUs for Debenhams during the peak season of 2020. It was the goal to set up national distribution for their online retail systems within weeks, including testing and packing slip additions. This included custom packaging, custom website integration, and branded courier accounts. They needed rapid delivery, so it was our responsibility to start processing orders quickly before peak sales windows – while also managing their returns.
This was a large undertaking obviously, requiring our staff to move swiftly for this national retailer. Some of our milestones during this period include:
- Processing 42,093 orders at an average order cost of £4.06
- Improving Debenhams dispatch speed from 48 hours to 45 minutes
- 99.9% SLA achievement
- Onboarding stock and processed in just 3 weeks
- 98,077 items needed to be picked packed & delivered
- Meet Debenhams brand standards for dispatch and delivery
- Ensure smooth operations during the peak sales season (Black Friday/Christmas)
- Onboard 264 SKUs across homewares and bedding
- The biggest peak day was 3,179 orders processed
- Same day dispatch time guaranteed 7 pm, exceeding Debenhams standard 1 pm
Selazar achieved the Debenhams setup in 21 days ensuring great service during the critical peak sales window. Traditional 3PL setup is 6 – 8 weeks. Working with Selazar provided them access to fast setup, cost-effective deliverables, and the highest SLAs.
Our tech approach to order fulfilment was fundamental to mimicking Debenhams brand standards at competitive prices. Using our consumption-based billing structure, Debenhams were able to keep costs with 1p of their original warehouses. We rapidly scaled their operations just in time to meet market demands.
Ramp up your omnichannel fulfilment with Selazar
In conclusion, businesses must adapt their logistics operations to meet the demands of the modern retail landscape. They must implement effective omnichannel fulfilment strategies. By providing a seamless customer experience across all channels, businesses can build customer loyalty and gain an advantage over their competitors in the market. Contact us today so we can learn more about your eCommerce goals and fulfilment needs.