Today’s customer has more choices than ever. Not only can they choose who they want to purchase from, but they also get to choose where their order gets filled.
Companies who realize that customers want variety in where they purchase their products understand the power of omnichannel fulfillment. Here’s what you need to know about it and how to make the most of it for your business.
What is Omnichannel Fulfillment?
Omnichannel fulfillment is the method that companies use to fulfill orders in a number of sources and channels.
Our world is more connected than ever, and omnichannel fulfillment uses various methods to give customers the ability to place their order and get it in the way that is most convenient for them. Omnichannel ensures that the product they want is found, product allocation is streamlined, and the customer gets the product in a smooth process.
Some omnichannel fulfillment strategies include:
- Manufacturer. Companies that work closely with their manufacturers have the flexibility to ship products directly to the customer. However, it might not be an option for international manufacturers because shipping to individual customers is costly.
- Distribution Center (Warehouse). Retailers can ship to the customer directly from a warehouse. Some larger companies own their warehouses, but a common practice for retailers is to rent warehouse space so that they can handle space issues and inventory management.
- Store. Retailers that own brick-and-mortar stores can give their customers more options to order directly from the store. It can be a valuable route for small businesses because they can use a physical resource they already have. Customers can also place an in-store pickup to make it easier to get a product without waiting for shipping.·
- 3PL. Third-party logistics, commonly called 3PL, is a convenient option that helps take the process of fulfillment off your hands. A customer places the order with the retailer, who then hands it onto the 3PL to fulfill. It is commonly also referred to as drop shipping.
- 3rd Party Partner. One of the newer fulfillment strategies, this one entails shipping the product to a location for pickup. One example of this type of fulfillment is Amazon Locker, where customers who do not want a product shipped to their home can have it put in a secure locker. Customers can get pickup details once the product is sent to a safe drop location, locker, pickup depot, etc.
There are new options for fulfillment strategy constantly being explored. Each one enables companies the flexibility to meet their customers’ needs in a variety of ways. Some advantages of omnichannel fulfillment include:
- Better brand images for retailers
- Increased customer satisfaction
- Better order accuracy
- More precise reporting
- Higher sales
Reach More Customers with Omnichannel Fulfillment
The bottom line is, the more options you have for fulfillment, the more likely customers will buy from you. Buyers have come to expect that they can get their product in various ways that work best for them. Companies that can deliver with a seamless process can have the edge over the competition.