Right now, omnichannel fulfillment is the key driver of growth in the e-commerce warehousing and fulfillment industry. That’s because fulfillment strategies make life easier on the customer, and what’s good for the customer is good for your business.
In this article we’ll explore omnichannel fulfillment, its complexities and how Flowspace can help you execute an omnichannel strategy.
What is Omnichannel Fulfillment?
Omnichannel fulfillment is an order fulfillment strategy that ensures inventory is fully available to all channels (e-commerce, wholesale, in-store replenishment, etc.) and encompass the entire fulfillment process, from order placement to final delivery.
In other words, omnichannel fulfillment is a fulfillment strategy that enables a seamless experience for the customer across every channel. The need for omnichannel fulfillment is largely driven by the tremendous growth in B2C and B2B e-commerce over the last decade, sales from which are projected to surpass $1 trillion in sales by 2020.
Four Basic Processes of Omnichannel Fulfillment
Every retailer needs the ability to deliver their inventory to different channels, especially traditional brick and mortar stores and e-commerce businesses. Omnichannel fulfillment provides that ability through six basic processes.
1. Omnichannel Communication
The first process is to communicate your new capabilities to your customer base. Circulate information about the new products and services you offer for online and offline channels, otherwise no one will know how to utilize your omnichannel service.
This is where you communicate to your customers the many benefits of using your omnichannel fulfillment service. Drive home the promise of a seamless experience across a variety of platforms and services.
2. Order Processing & Confirmation
The next process is the receiving and confirming a customer order. The only difference between this step and the standard order confirmation process is that the customer can place an order on a mobile device, choose how much to pay for shipping, and know exactly when it will be delivered.
3. Warehouse Management
The third process is where orders are actually filled in real-time. This may include warehouse fulfillment, but it also may include:
- 3PL Fulfillment
- Warehouse Fulfillment
- In-Store Fulfillment
Different from traditional methods of fulfillment, these extra channels provide much needed flexibility and ensure your customers get what they want, when they want it while keeping you compliant with your vendors.
4. Shipping & Last-mile Delivery
Shipping is the fourth process but also one of the most important, as it utilizes advanced shipping software to select the optimal shipping mode to meet customer demands, such as:
Benefits of an Omnichannel Fulfillment Strategy
There are many advantages of employing this strategy but most retailers are interested because it enables you to optimize for cost reductions, increase customer satisfaction and improve the robustness of your operation.
- Higher Accuracy – Omnichannel order fulfillment makes it easier to ensure order accuracy and streamline multiple channels into a single process.
- Greater Efficiency – Higher order accuracy means great efficiency and a seamless shipping system.
- Accurate Reporting – When you use a service like Flowspace to monitor your channels, you gain instant access to accurate reporting of your most important channels and insight into possible improvements.
- Transportation Savings – Omnichannel fulfillment gives you the power to make the right shipping choices every time, which eliminates overspending on transportation.
- Happier Customers – The greatest benefit of omnichannel fulfillment is the ease and convenience it provides to your customers – it simply makes it easier to be your customer, which is great for your bottom line.
Risks of an Omnichannel Fulfillment Strategy
There are some risks to adopting an omnichannel fulfillment strategy, but fortunately it’s easy to identify and counter most of the risk by outsourcing fulfillment to an experienced 3PL.
Though it can, at times, be difficult to adopt and implement, Flowspace can negate this challenge by making greater use of established channels and existing fulfillment partners.
Visibility and communication are also cited as two of the most significant risks of implementing an omnichannel fulfillment strategy, especially for retailers that use brick-and-mortar locations. Luckily, Flowspace can help with synchronization by providing access to resources that provide real-time visibility and enable you to exercise greater control over your supply chain.
Outsource Omnichannel Fulfillment to Flowspace
Omnichannel fulfillment is more than a buzzword, it’s the first step to a customer-first approach and improving customer experience. Flowspace not only makes it easy to implement an omnichannel fulfillment strategy, we enable retailers to dynamically deploy different inventory volumes to different warehouses across the country in little to no time. With 1000+ warehouses nationwide, Flowspace is the solution for e-commerce businesses and merchants looking to gain a strategic advantage over their competition with omnichannel order fulfillment. Request more information to see how Flowspace can help you!