Research authors found that omnichannel shoppers spend an average of 9% more than mainstream shoppers.
When it comes to OMNICHANNEL Logistics, we are automatically talking about something audacious and irreversible. Especially after the pandemic. Why audacious? The term itself explains. “OMNI” is a Latin word meaning “ALL”. “CHANNEL”, in English, means “CHANNEL”. That is, we are talking about multiple presence in different channels, preserving the same service language with the same visual standard. This is far from simple. Irreversible? Yes. The pandemic anticipated future trends in virtual consumption, incorporated by a significant portion of the population. In the United States, for example, 73% of consumers have already adapted to using multiple purchasing channels, according to a survey conducted by the Harvard Business Review.
The authors of the same survey also found that omnichannel customers spend an average of 9% more than conventional consumers. In other words, it is a profitable trend. But which channels are we talking about? Well, websites, social networks, WhatsApp, chatbots, call centers, virtual stores and, of course, physical stores. In fact, what makes Omnichannel Logistics different is that we are not just talking about the digital world. Physical structures play a key role in this strategy.
There are several possible options in this interaction. The customer can buy a product in the virtual store and pick up the chosen merchandise in a physical unit of the same group. He can also search the internet and complete the purchase in a physical store. Maybe even go straight to a physical store and, with the help of a salesperson or a totem, choose a product over the internet that will be redirected to that store as soon as possible. Oh! And if he doesn’t like the merchandise he bought online, or it’s defective, he can return it to a physical store. Interesting, isn’t it?
But in addition to being interesting, it presents a series of operational obstacles. According to the Intelipost website, Omnichannel Logistics presents 5 major challenges:
- “ Full Inventory Visibility — A WhatsApp sale and an in-store sale move inventory the same way. Therefore, you need to have full control of the stock. Imagine that you promise a sale with delivery for the next day, to later realize that you are without the product? The best way to solve this is through the integration between your e-commerce and your inventory. Thus, not only is the information synchronized, but also, you can plan the demand.
- Cross-Channel Integrations and Processes — Of course, this integration is a challenge in itself. Focusing on each channel independently is a trap, as your structure needs to be integrated across all your sales channels, from social networks to your own website and possible marketplaces. (We are talking about processes and operations that must be intertwined. Data from suppliers, inventory, billing, fleet, and delivery management need to be visible simultaneously).
- Speed in delivering deliveries — Possibly the biggest challenge and one of the most important. Agility in delivery has become one of the main objectives of companies, as this is what the customer expects. When shopping online, customers have expectations that businesses need to meet. Because of this, ideally, the store should be realistic for each channel while working to streamline the process. After all, there is no point in promising a very fast delivery if this is not possible, as it affects the customer experience.
- Practicality in exchanges/returns — Another important issue is to think about reverse logistics. That is, what should customers do if they need to exchange or return a product? Will the customer be able to buy online and make the exchange in the store? Exchanges are a crucial point of service, which means that this process must also be considered.
- Understanding logistics as part of the customer experience — This last challenge can help bring motivation to tackle all of the above. Delivery is a crucial factor in consumer satisfaction when shopping online. The impact of logistics on the customer experience can be positive or negative, depending on the planning, making a difference in this result, see:
- Shipping pricing: Good planning and a solid partner network help offer consumers more reasonable shipping prices;
- Delivery deadline: meeting the planned deadline is good. However, anticipating this deadline, when possible, is a great strategy;
- Precise tracking: informing the customer about the status of their purchase helps to maintain anxiety and brings more security to the end consumer perspective. Therefore, being able to rely on routing and tracking technologies can improve the information transmitted to consumers about order status.
- Exchanges and returns: Leaving exchanges and returns in the hands of the customer results in a bad experience, while facilitating the process shows care and affection even after the purchase. ”
In addition to these challenges, we can include two others: the dependence on manual processes in digital times and the lack of monitoring of the transport sector. The Transporte Rodojacto website gives some tips to overcome these problems:
- “ Hire good logistics partners — With several sales channels working simultaneously, it is necessary to have well-defined processes, very effective distribution planning and the support of quality companies. Therefore, it is very important that you select your partner carrier well, as it is responsible for the step that causes the most problems. The need for fast and quality transport requires an adequate fleet, trained drivers, route planning and cargo monitoring.
- Invest in technology — We are in the digital age and logistics need to be integrated into this reality. Abandon manual processes and invest in modern and complete logistics software. They will help you gain more visibility into activities and make more efficient decisions. (An ERP software, also known as Integrated Business Management System, in addition to another, the WMS, Warehouse Management System, to control the storage unit, can drastically help in the visualization and control of all data.)
- Change your company’s culture — As we said, the world is constantly changing and, naturally, this affects companies and gives rise to new business models. It is essential that logistics follow this movement and be aware of the trends that contribute to its day-to-day.”
When we talk about technology to better serve the customer, we cannot forget the equipment available in storage units. If you invest your own structures, try to apply resources also in Automated Systems, such as Motorized Conveyors, Free Movement, Cargo Lifting Systems, Transfer Systems, among others, all for the best management of the time of movement of a product in the stock. Águia Sistemas masters all these solutions.
Changing the company’s culture requires a certain amount of effort from the Human Resources Department. If you want Omnichannel Logistics, first of all get your team together to create a deployment plan. Its employees are fundamental in this process. Your marketing, sales, logistics, service and commercial teams need to be in tune. Remembering that being on the channels is not enough, it is necessary to create strategies on how to use each platform, preserving a common language for all. Define what services you want and can offer. After that, go to training. By the way, constantly train your team. As time goes by, build a structured knowledge base. After all, your experience must be recorded to avoid the same mistakes and repeat the successes. Finally, constantly monitor the performance of the team and processes in order to identify failures and correct them as soon as possible.
Yes, there are many challenges and it takes a lot of work. But it’s worth. For the Diavanti website, these are the main benefits for those who implement Omnichannel Logistics :
- “ It complements the purchase decision process : by ensuring that the customer does not need to look for the product at another competitor, he just changes his request for the most appropriate platform.
- Decrease in the use of physical space : with the possibility of reducing stocks to meet only what is necessary.
- Increased potential for sales and offers : after all, now consumers will be able to meet their needs both physically and virtually.
- Cost reduction : by avoiding waste or reducing stocking, costs will naturally be reduced.
- Provides comprehensive knowledge of consumer behavior : as it will be possible to better understand their decision-making through consumer platforms.
- Improvement in relation to the customer’s experience with the brand : by promoting greater ease in obtaining products, and may even retain such customers.”
( The text above was written with information from the websites esales.com.br, vuupt.com, diavanti.com.br, transporte.rodojacto.com.br and intelipost.com.br)