Omnichannel is by no means a new term in the business world. It’s the cross-channel business model companies use to elevate the customer experience.
Users of the omnichannel business model contend that customers value the ability to be in constant contact with a company through multiple avenues at any given time, even at the same time. These touch points can include physical locations, FAQ websites, social media, live web chats, mobile applications, and telephone conversations.
Omnichannel has placed supply chain firmly on the front line. With customers now expecting to browse, purchase, and return goods across a variety of channels, the supply chain must reach beyond traditional boundaries. This requires full-time, channel-agnostic visibility of inventory across the supply chain and a single view of the customer as they hop from one channel to another.
However, in order for this model to be profitable, wholesale distributors companies alike must re-engineer their supply chains. In a recent executive survey, “Know your customer: the true power of Omnichannel,” only six percent of respondents said they “think they’re managing customer relationships in a truly sophisticated” omnichannel manner.
The biggest takeaway? Omnichannel growth will dilute margins unless the supply chain changes. In order to redesign the supply chain to deliver omnichannel growth profitability, the omnichannel strategy needs to be embedded within a company’s corporate strategy. Second, agility and responsiveness are of the utmost importance in the omnichannel supply chain design. And finally, companies need to collaborate with value chain partners to enable the seamless data visibility and resulting actionable insights.
A successful omnichannel strategy must start with understanding what customers want and how their needs and expectations are constantly evolving and changing. This means making the clear distinction between what customers value and what the company itself values. One example is offering timeslots and an accurate view of expected delivery times to the customer, something they might even value more than same- or next-day delivery.
Take National DCP, for example. As its CIO shares in this video, this $2 billion supply-chain management company prides itself on delivering expertise in sourcing, purchasing and distribution, delivering holistic business solutions to more than 8,900 Dunkin Donuts franchisees in 51 countries. By moving their data to the cloud, DCP has streamlined its service calls with a 360-degree view of customer information. The result: real-time order history reports, service ticketing and customer interaction that enable quicker customer service. Dealing with different franchisees and addressing each one’s unique needs makes it easier for IT teams to run the solutions they have, simplifies the procurement process (automates what used to be a laborious task), and touches every aspect of the business – fewer interfaces and more visibility between departments.
Unifying customer and market data into a single market view will allow the supply chain partners of the future to capitalize on this information and make intelligent business decisions that directly impact ROI. The result is a supply chain-customer value lifecycle: businesses systematically monitoring structured and unstructured customer data and adjusting their operations to not only respond to changing customer behaviors, but influence them in both directions of a supply chain.
For more on this topic, see It’s Time To Start Catering To The Omnichannel Shopper.