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Omnichannel fulfillment is a strategy where businesses use multiple selling channels to fulfill and distribute customer orders, regardless of which channel the customer places their order.
It’s important not to confuse the omnichannel approach with a multi-channel fulfillment approach. Multi-channel fulfillment means that selling channels are isolated and inventory is only used to serve customers in the channel it’s assigned. With omnichannel, channels and inventory are completely integrated to smoothen the process of fulfillment and delivery.
Omnichannel Fulfillment and Customer Expectations
Expectations continue to rise when it comes to the customer experience. As the demand increases, customers (and consumers) expect a streamlined shopping journey between multiple channels and expect brands to already have this transition put in place.
When your fulfillment strategy is flexible, it’s easier to achieve a higher level of customer satisfaction – which is something that multi-channel users often struggle with attaining because of isolated selling channels. Therefore, omnichannel fulfillment allows businesses a strong and dynamic strategy for meeting the demand of high consumer expectations, with a seamless shopping experience.
Incorporating a WMS
WMS stands for Warehouse Management System. For omnichannel fulfillment to work smoothly and successfully, retailers need to have a WMS set up – which allows for real-time inventory counts, order statuses, and managing supply chain fulfillment operations from the distribution center to a store or complete delivery to a customer.
With a WMS set up, your business can easily determine which location is best able to fulfill a customer order in the quickest and most efficient timeframe. Without real-time tracking, synchronizing your inventory across channels is incredibly difficult with can lead to out of stock situations (while still selling the product) or seeing a rise in misplaced orders.
Omnichannel has the advantage of giving each channel access to greater inventory supply with full visibility – enabling successful management and better workflows across all channels.
3PL and Omnichannel
When retailers involve an omnichannel strategy on top of all other aspects of their business, it can be stressful and a long process to completion. A true omnichannel fulfillment strategy involves many details which can prove to be complex. This is where a 3PL (third-party logistics) comes into play.
You might also like: What are the Pros & Cons of a 3PL?
Partnering with a 3PL provider who is proven and experienced with omnichannel fulfillment makes it simple for your business to operate and integrate omnichannel seamlessly while meeting consumer needs and expectations across all channels.
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