Innovative Retail Strategies – Fulfilling Consumer Demand via One Source

There is no doubt that innovative technologies are rapidly shaping the retail industry, poising them for future success. It is worth mentioning that traditional brick and mortar stores haven’t totally disappeared – however, the boom in ecommerce and online sales has compelled traditional retailers to think of new ways to adapt and enhance yearly revenues.

It is also important to mention that companies that purely depend on online growth and sales are also planning on developing new marketing tactics to make shopping for the end user more simple and comfortable. A majority of these changes in strategy will greatly affect the methodologies adopted to control their inventories and supply chains.

Competition from powerful online businesses such as Amazon has forced brick and mortar stores to rethink their strategies and have helped them realize that the only way to grow is through focusing on magnifying and maximizing their online channels.

For high-end retailers and discount chains alike, things are a bit different and they have been enjoying favorable in-store sales. However, mid-level retailers and merchants have been hit hard since studies suggest that middle-tier customers prefer to shop online now, rather than going to a make an in-store purchase.
Let’s just take a look at the facts:

• According to comScore, in the beginning of 2014’s first quarters, US consumers using their PCs spent a total of $56.1 billion on online products and websites, which was a huge jump of over 12% from 2013’s first quarter

• An additional $7.3 billion was spent by consumers shopping from their smartphones

The Rise of the Omni-Channel – A Single Inventory for Every Shopper
Perhaps one of the most striking changes in retail strategies is the rise of a single channel of shopping, known as Omni-channel, where a majority of customers fail to tell the difference between shopping online and buying from a physical store.

Looking at the minimum, providing customers with a single-channel shopping experience translates into operating a highly efficient e-commerce website. This also means providing all consumers with the entire range of products regardless of the method they choose to shop for them.

Store Fulfillment
Apart from tapping the same range of products from the same inventory for both online and in-store sales, there are a lot of retailers that are thinking out of the box and out of the confinements of a warehouse. What this does is make every product available to the customer via a single source, regardless of how shoppers to choose to spend their money. And when it comes to this, Walmart has become the master of the trade. Walmart has the ability to either request the customer to come and pick his purchase from an outlet near their home and/or ship the product to online customers from either one of their stores or a warehouse.

Keeping the Back Storage De-cluttered and Free
For larger retail chains, shipping products to online customers serves as a tactical benefit. Merchants who are responsible for shipping the product can get purchases delivered much faster through utilizing those stores as fulfillment centers. This is much like how Amazon ensures timely deliveries using its vast network of distribution.

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