Omnichannel re-invention widespread at retail

The retail industry is undergoing an unprecedented omnichannel transformation with an overwhelming majority of leading retailers aggressively reconfiguring supply chains to provide shoppers a seamless experience, according to a new study from Boston Retail Partners.
The omnichannel trend has been underway for many years now, but Boston Retail Partners indicates that more than 90% of retailers are pursuing omnichannel supply chain re-invention efforts the management consulting firm describes as “unified commerce.”
“We noted an impressive change in priorities over the past year as retailers shift their focus towards enabling the seamless experience today’s customers want,” said Walter Deacon, a principal of Boston Retail Partners. “However, transforming the supply chain to meet the needs of a buy anywhere/anytime customer requires significant resources and investments. Retailers able to deliver real-time retail as part of a compelling value proposition will certainly reap the rewards.”

Key statistics that illustrate the achievements and priorities of retailers in delivering a unified commerce supply chain include:

  • Focused on unified commerce: 93% are adopting a unified commerce model with 54% in the planning stages and 39% currently implementing solutions;
  • Cross-channel inventory fulfillment: 75% of retailers can fulfill inventory across multiple channels; and
  • Corporate initiative: 63% identified “enable seamless customer experience online and in the store” as a top initiative

And while unified commerce is a top priority, BRP noted that there's still more work to be done to achieve it:

  • Organizations have silos: 22% of companies indicated that they have merged their channels into a single organization;
  • Managing supply chain with spreadsheets: 46% of respondents use static spreadsheets to manage their supply chain planning; and
  • Limited cross-channel inventory visibility: 40% provide in-store “available to promise” (ATP) visibility to customers yet only 20% have this same visibility for their internal staff.

“Just as technology has provided continuous connectivity and responsiveness to the consumer, it also provides the tools to create a robust, responsive and information-rich supply chain,” said Ken Morris, a principal of Boston Retail Partners. “With advanced networks and sophisticated software and analytics, the technology is readily available to enable unified commerce. Now is the time to align the people and processes with the technology to make real-time retail a reality!”



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