Let’s start off with a simple quiz: Machine-to-machine interaction. Internet of Things. Streamlined supply-chain management. Fulfillment clouds. Anticipatory logistics.
If you had a chance to select any one of the above, as a value addition that would bring in the best return for your retail business; what would it be?
The correct answer isn’t any one of the above options given above. The correct answer is all of them.
Say good-bye to multichannel logistics; and say hello to a new, all-encompassing umbrella for logistics technology: Omnichannel logistics. As you may have guessed it, it brings together all the avant-garde logistics technologie, and subsumes them into a single, seamless customer experience.
Before you think omnichannel logistics is just another technological jargon, cooked up as a marketing gimmick; know that it’s development is driven by strong customer demand. How? Let the numbers spill the beans. 96% people now equate fast shipping with delivery on the same day or within 24 hours. Accenture found that 88% people in the US browse a product before buying it in the store. Electronics retailer Easy Buy discovered that 70% of its consumers purchased a product, only after first surveying it at a physical store.
The message from the consumers is clear: we don’t want singular benefits. We want a complete enhanced experienced, and that too anytime, anywhere. And that is exactly what Omnichannel means. Anytime. Anywhere.
So how does it work? With a little help of machine-to-machine interaction, internet of things, and magic (just kidding, it’s science). The heavy lifting is done by infrared sensors, and smart data-collection devices (courtesy IoT). However, instead of employing them for just faster sorting, and better deliveries; it’s being used to create a cloud of information that helps employ the information for tasks such as: temperature monitoring, quality control, automated data entry, distance mapping, and analytics. Let’s break it down more simply.
So if a customer wants to buy a pair of shoes, the shopping interface can make intelligent suggestions, or display ads; based on previous purchases. If the customer data suggests that he/she prefers physical examination before purchasing, the system can direct them to the nearest retail outlet, which has the stock (which also doubles up as a warehouse). The customer can scan the QR code of the product for authenticity. If the customer size isn’t available, the outlet can provide swift delivery options, right to the door. All in just a day’s work.
That’s how a modern-day customer’s shopping journey would look like with Omnichannel logistics. A system that offers something much more than just the best product; but the also the best customer experience. A supply-chain system that places customer’s convenience over anything else; and that’s what makes customers came back. For logistics is no longer just about last-mile delivery; it’s about all the steps to lead up to it. It’s not just about delivering products; it’s about delivering satisfaction too.