New fulfillment models enable retailers to offer fantastic customer propositions without eating into margins. A decentralized model where picking is done in store is now widely seen as the most cost-effective and efficient model. It helps retailers deliver complete customer centricity in a more economic fashion. Click and Collect accounts for more than half of all online orders now, and retailers are increasingly using in-store collection to their advantage.

Making better use of customer data

Once a shopper has entered the store to pick up an order, the retailer has the opportunity to sell them additional items in a more personal way. Knowing the customer based on browsing and purchase history is key when proposing additional items. A waiting shop assistant could present a customer collecting a new tablet with a matching leather cover, for instance. Instead of spending money going after new potential customers, retailers can utilize information already in their customer database to devise intriguing offers that are profitable to the business. Also, additional services connected to the products can be created. These improve customer centricity, generate brand loyalty, and open up potential new revenue streams for the retailer.

Control over your inventory lowers the cost of customer centricity…

With high inventory visibility, you can make promises to customers on delivery and pick-up; this keeps customers happy as you’re either matching or exceeding their expectations. Furthermore, this limits the additional capital needed when something goes wrong. While every retailer is offering fantastic delivery options to their customers, the ones with low inventory visibility will often have to spend extra money to provide express delivery. Retailers with good visibility will be able to optimize fulfillment, keep costs down, and usually deliver items on time.

…and drives in-store and online sales

Improvements in technology, such as RFID, open up additional customer-centric possibilities. For example, RFID can be used to present customers with additional information and similar items, all on in-store consoles and when scanning the item in question. Ultimately, these new technologies can be implemented to create a more informed customer experience. Other advances include smart fitting rooms where a customer receives recommendations based on what they’re currently trying on. While this helps stores create a more relevant customer offer, inventory accuracy means you can propose items that are in the store at that moment.

Inventory accuracy also allows retailers to close the sale efficiently by presenting online shoppers with ranges ready in-store for immediate collection.

In our recent Point of View piece [Omnichannel fulfillment: Avoiding the margin squeeze], we look at customer centricity and explore transformational solutions to help reduce margin erosion when fulfilling orders online.