One must imagine that in 1876 when inventor Alexander Graham Bell spoke the first words on his invention, the telephone, he never imagined what his invention would one day become. Fast forward almost 150 years and our phones are practically an extra appendage. According to Pew Research Center, 95 percent of Americans own a cell phone of some sort, 77 percent of which are smart phones. Our phones let us shop without leaving our couches, order pizza without speaking to a human being, connect with other people across the globe, and look up our old high school crushes. We use our phones for everything, least of which is to make a call.
Because of the vast accessibility that the internet and mobile technology has given us, the face of retail has changed to keep up with advances. No longer can a retailer survive just selling at a brick and mortar location. A retailer needs to be prepared to sell on their website, via third-party carts such as Amazon or eBay, or even a purchase online and pick up instore. This concept of providing a unified shopping experience whether on- or off-line is known as ominchannel (all channels) retailing.
Everywhere at Once
Ominchannel retailing—being everywhere—is achievable with the right tools in place. If you’re planning to expand your physical retail presence into a digital presence, as well, one very important concept to unify all your shopping channels for the best customer experience is inventory visibility. The best omnichannel experience allows customers to stand in your store while viewing products and deals on their mobile devices, with the option to ship purchases to a retail location, ship an in-store purchase to their home, or even return or exchange an online purchase in store.
To achieve this, your business needs to offer inventory visibility not only for customer satisfaction in purchase experience, but also for planning and fulfillment purposes. Inventory visibility is essential. In fact, one of the primary barriers to achieving a positive omnichannel experience includes poor data quality.
See What You Have in Store
Fortunately for retailers, the very technology that enables the concept of omnichannel retail also allows access to inventory visibility by connecting every single data source. IN-SYNCH by ROI Consulting is a Sage 100 application built to provide real-time data synchronization between Sage 100 ERP and any other third-party system, including carts from other online retailers.
This means that when a customer purchases via your listing on Amazon, your ERP instantly receives the customer information and order details via IN-SYNCH. But, the connection goes both ways, meaning that inventory information tracked by your ERP and other systems can funnel back out to your company’s website and other retailer carts to warn upcoming customers that there are limited quantities available and they’d better make their purchase soon.
Process Faster Returns
The benefit of IN-SYNCH inventory visibility means that returns can also be processed quickly and easily, whether in store or online, informing the system of the inventory changes and updating the appropriate systems to reflect likewise. The easier your return process is, the more likely the customer is to purchase from you again. Consider that the ability to return an online order in store may also prompt an otherwise online customer to browse in your physical location, where the chance to upsell their original purchase increases exponentially.
Omnichannel is the Future; Are You Ready?
The global market is moving quickly in the direction of omnichannel retail and businesses who want to stay competitive and relevant in today’s marketplace and into the future will need to start moving toward omnichannel retail now. Start today by creating inventory visibility and easy return processes through IN-SYNCH with ROI Consulting. Learn more about how we can help prepare you for omnichannel retail by contacting us online or calling us at 402-934-2223, ext. 1.