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The Issue: Omnichannel fulfillment expectations vs. omnichannel reality

Amazon has trained consumers to expect the right product at the right time at the right price with the least amount of effort. It’s no surprise then that in-store shoppers who learn a product they want is not in stock will take their business elsewhere or give up buying it altogether.

Avoiding these lost sales, as well as supporting a unified cross-channel customer experience (click and collect, accepting returns of online purchases in store, etc.), requires channel synchronization via a technology platform that delivers product, inventory, order management, and customer information across all channels. What’s more, the platform must align fulfillment reality with current (and future) consumer expectations.

To master product demand, retailers must transform inventory management from simply reacting to store demand through allocation and replenishment, to demand forecasting based on what products are bought and how they are purchased. This requires a comprehensive view of real-time inventory movement (not overnight updates) across the supply chain to feed a distributed order management (DOM) system. A DOM system continuously reconfigures and allocates inventory based on real-time customer behavior (detailed POS transactions, including quantities purchased and returned by channel, location and method) rather than historical allocation.

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The solution: Transforming stores into distribution centers

OneView’s cloud-based Inventory Management solution optimizes order fulfillment efficiency with real-time visibility into inventory across the complex omnichannel supply chain. Taking live feeds of real-time transactional data (buys, sells, returns), the system allows any application to access and update an inventory status. Both SaaS-based or on-premises models make it easy for store staff to locate and transfer items and deliver service consistent with customer expectations.

Even retailers with a mix of corporate-owned and franchise stores can now keep up with online inventory, the sales and movement of store inventory, and vendor supplies. The system tracks goods consumption and distribution within the franchise group structure to create an agile, comprehensive supply chain network.

In homogeneous or corporate/franchise retail ecosystems, Inventory Management transforms each store into a distribution center that enables the fastest, most efficient movement of products among stores, providing customers convenient options for receiving product, and retailers the ability to protect margins.

Inventory Management also delivers a number of operational efficiencies and financial improvements, including:

  • Automated low-inventory alerts and store-level orders to relieve store personnel of manual inventory tracking.
  • Items on layaway may be sold in-store until a pre-determined time when an automatic alert for replenishment is enabled.
  • Measures the impact of promotions and sales; analyzes returns data.
  • Merchandise planners can test product performance in stores by monitoring replenishment orders. This insight helps them readjust product mix, make better buying decisions, and strengthen their vendor bargaining position.
  • All stores have access to a larger inventory base and the ability to “exchange” inventory, which optimizes revenue capacity and minimizes markdowns due to seasonal fluctuations.

As another step in digital transformation, the standalone system resides on top of the OneView Digital Store Platform, sharing its common data entities from the SQL database, such as location hierarchy, products, promotions, users and roles/permissions, and devices. It also supports legacy in-store applications by easily integrating with any POS solution, ERP system, or other system that requires integration with stock balances.

Inventory Management creates a business-to-business portal that provides visibility into inventory across the omnichannel supply chain and facilitates order fulfilment and movement of inventory with advanced features including:

  • Enabling store assistants to order an item from anywhere in the supply chain
  • Third-party shipment capability
  • Custom rules-based driven replenishment
  • Customized inventory adjustments with secure user validation
  • Highly automated, device-driven counting process
  • Online audit trails for all stock adjustments
  • Allocation and order sourcing based on custom rules; regionally-based rules drive most efficient order processing
  • Dashboards that display inventory reports and statistics, current demand, and inventory location across the omnichannel enterprise

Understanding how and when inventory is consumed requires a global view of real-time (not overnight updates) inventory movement across the supply chain. This expansive, detailed view enables each store to act as a distribution center that supports efficient order fulfillment. Watch our video.

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