Joan Lim, Sr. Product Marketing Manager
There is an expression in relationships, “Happy wife, happy life.” When it comes to retail, this relationship also holds true: happy customers lead to a happy business. Customer satisfaction remains a strong metric that retailers must track and measure to understand their customers and improve their business. This does not just mean product preference and strong branding, but also includes the full customer buying experience: from product availability, ease of purchase, to delivery preferences.
For retailers to be successful, they must look into their supply chain processes, and ensure their fulfillment solution can keep up. The good news is, you don’t need to sacrifice your company’s bottom line to make your customers happy. Moving your supply chain to the Cloud and adapting a digitally connected warehouse management solution (WMS) will not only give you superior omnichannel fulfillment capabilities and inventory visibility, but it will also lower operating and inventory costs, increasing company revenues.
Changing consumer behavior and expectations
We now live in a demand-driven economy where consumers have the power to drive not just how products are designed and priced, but also when and where they expect to receive their purchases. Happy customers become repeat buyers and drive the success of your business.
In a recent Deloitte survey on the retail environment, customers now expect free shipping and over half (54%) consider two-day or less shipping to be “fast”. Only 35% of shoppers classify 3-4 day shipping as fast, down from 42% in 2016, and 63% in 2015. Almost half (43%) did plan to purchase online and pick up at stores during the upcoming holiday season, citing convenience as well as being “fast and free”. The option to return to any store location tops the list of return policy preferences, at a high 67%.
When customers decide to make a purchase, they consider not just product availability and price matching, but also the store’s retail policies. Ease of ordering, free shipping, hybrid shipping options, and hassle-free returns are now becoming strong differentiators. Consumers don’t just want free shipping, but also look into the speed of delivery. They don’t just want to be able to purchase online, but also want the option to pick-up in store, and to choose which retail location. They don’t just want to be able to return an item, but also have the option to return by mail or at the store, and be given a longer time frame to return items.
Keeping up with changing expectations
Companies must continuously evaluate shipping and return policies to stay competitive in the marketplace. Retailers must ensure availability of products, meet delivery timing expectations, and offer easy returns to meet customer demand and maintain happy customers. But at the same time, they need to keep their operating costs low, while keeping their revenues up – and must continuously seek cost-effective ways to achieve this. An end-to-end, digitally connected supply chain is essential as to be able to respond to this customer need.
To be specific, an efficient and connected transportation and fulfillment solution must be in place to ensure visibility at distribution centers and retail stores, as well as the ability to track shipments and delivery, while ensuring compliance. Customers no longer have the patience to wait for products that are out of stock, if it’s not available for pick-up at a certain store location, or if it takes longer than two days for delivery. Only a handful are willing to pay for delivery, and can choose to order somewhere else, if the competition has a better shipping and return policy.
Your supply chain must keep up with the expectations of such a demand-driven economy. In order to achieve this, you must adapt a warehouse management solution that:
- Offers omnichannel functionality, with complete warehouse and logistics fulfillment capabilities and has strong e-commerce capabilities.
- Provides real-time, global visibility into your inventory, from your distribution centers to store shelf.
- Allows for flexibility by being built in the Cloud, so you can easily scale and be able to support complex fulfillment operations.
- Maintain access to comprehensive data and end-user analytics for continuous improvements.
The Oracle Warehouse Management Cloud (WMS Cloud) is best-in-class, and is considered a Gartner Warehouse Management Solution Leader. It is omnichannel enabled, and provides inventory accuracy. Implementing Oracle WMS Cloud does not have to hurt your company revenues – and quite the opposite, it actually improves your bottom line because with better visibility, you can improve your fulfillment processes, lowering expedite costs and reducing the need for high levels of safety stock. Labor productivity goes up, and you will realize that you actually have more storage capacity as you find yourself becoming more efficient in warehouse space utilization.
But wait, it gets better. Moving to Oracle WMS Cloud lowers your total cost of ownership (TCO) and removes any dedicated IT resources that incur maintenance costs. Cloud-based solutions also provide more security with regular and on-time upgrades and updates.
Learn more about Oracle Warehouse Management Cloud so you can continue to not just make your customers happy, but also keep your business happy.