Many retailers have been slow to embrace technology in their broader operations, technology that has already changed the retail landscape forever – namely by empowering shoppers who are now more tech savvy than the retailers who are trying to catch up. What today’s retailers need to provide is what we at Manhattan Associates refer to as a “Zero Disappointment Experience.” In other words, ensuring that your brand delivers the same experience to shoppers regardless of their choice of engagement.
Let’s face it, shoppers are more demanding than ever and loyalty can be fleeting. The situation requires retailers to become more intimate with their customers in order to satisfy there needs and wants. Yet, relatively few are prepared for the technology – and change in mindset – required to do so. There is so much trepidation surrounding large technology projects, and rightfully so given the past, but retailers that are willing to take small steps can achieve and deliver a Zero Disappointment Experience across all channels while learning how valuable operational optimization technology can be to the bottom line.
Those who have embraced technology to deliver a truly omnichannel experience to their customers have received accolades for their success, but most retailers view the technology required as too daunting, both financially and operationally. Many remember the massive undertaking and millions of dollars expended during the Enterprise Resource Planning era, which often took years before any results could be realized. These days, few retailers can afford that kind of time or investment. On the other hand, employing the right operational technology can successfully address one of the most pressing issues in retailing today, “out of stock,” which costs retailers $456 billion a year, according to IHL’s 2012 Inventory Distortion Study. Any way you look at it, retailers must change the way they operate to prosper.
For most retailers today, if a product is not in the DC, they tell their customer it’s out of stock, unaware that there may be product somewhere in their network. With no visibility to the entire supply chain, “out of stock” is their only answer. To make and keep promises to customers, however they choose to shop, retailers must ha