Omnichannel is a supply chain order fulfillment system that uses all of the assets in the supply chain (stores, warehouses, return-centers, trucks, drones) to fulfill your order quickly and at the lowest cost.
In an omnichannel, stores matter. Having physical retail stores is a way to increase sales… yes increase sales. Not everyone, even young people, will buy everything without touching. And since most physical retailers have inventory for sales in their stores to satisfy next-second demand (although not all do), why not use that inventory also for online orders?
But Really, What Is It?
Omnichannel is a series of decisions, and decision-support systems that companies use such as:
Do we ship-from-store (SFW), ship-from-warehouse (SFW) or integrate store and warehouse inventory (which we call ship-from-warehouse-with-store-backhaul (SFWSB)?
How do we design our warehouse to productively pick-pack-and-ship bulk orders onto pallets for our stores and also parcels for online orders?
Where do we ship from: 1) The closest point, 2) Where we have the most inventory, or 3) From farther away to save inventory for multi-item orders to reduce split-shipments?
Will customers buy online and pick-up in the store (BOPS)? How do we incentivize this? Or do we need an incentive? (Hint: you don’t… consumers see this method as reserving inventory to make sure you don’t stock-out.)
Can we make our stores convenient return locations? This is called buy-online-return-in-store (BORIS). If yes, how so we sort through this stuff, and where?
Of course, this is just a sample of the issues we address to help our Clients get ready for omnichannel. Email me at, firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how we can help.