Executive Briefings

Lack of Inventory Sharing Creates Customer Dissatisfaction, Reduced Customer Loyalty

At the heart of everything omnichannel is inventory. The customer needs to be able to get the merchandise they want, when they want it, and through their channel of choice. There has to be inventory visibility across channels, so stores, warehouses and distribution centers can see real-time inventory levels as part of the order fulfillment process. And finally, in order to actually fulfill orders in a timely and efficient manner, inventory needs to be shared across channels.

Lack of Inventory Sharing Creates Customer Dissatisfaction, Reduced Customer Loyalty

However, it is apparent that organizations have not been doing a very good job of sharing inventory. While many companies had either the business processes or enabling technology in place, they did not have the combination of the two required to actually share inventory. In fact, research shows that just over 50 percent of respondents are sharing inventory across channels. To put this in perspective, imagine if half the stores you went to could not fulfill your order both online and in-store because they only had the inventory allocated to one channel. That would leave you frustrated, and most likely, would send you to another store / brand to get the product you want. That is what is happening in today's fragmented omnichannel environment. A lack of inventory sharing is creating customer dissatisfaction and reduced customer loyalty. Sharing inventory alleviates some of the concerns about lost sales. However, it does require accurate inventory counts at all locations, and the ability to centrally manage the flow of inventory. And these are major issues facing organizations as they attempt to move to a truly omnichannel environment.

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However, it is apparent that organizations have not been doing a very good job of sharing inventory. While many companies had either the business processes or enabling technology in place, they did not have the combination of the two required to actually share inventory. In fact, research shows that just over 50 percent of respondents are sharing inventory across channels. To put this in perspective, imagine if half the stores you went to could not fulfill your order both online and in-store because they only had the inventory allocated to one channel. That would leave you frustrated, and most likely, would send you to another store / brand to get the product you want. That is what is happening in today's fragmented omnichannel environment. A lack of inventory sharing is creating customer dissatisfaction and reduced customer loyalty. Sharing inventory alleviates some of the concerns about lost sales. However, it does require accurate inventory counts at all locations, and the ability to centrally manage the flow of inventory. And these are major issues facing organizations as they attempt to move to a truly omnichannel environment.

Read Full Article

Lack of Inventory Sharing Creates Customer Dissatisfaction, Reduced Customer Loyalty