As retailers continue to fine tune their strategies by bringing the store to the customer on their terms, rather than forcing the customer to come into the store on the retailer’s terms, a high-stakes battle is under way. For some it’s a battle of market share, and for others a battle of survival.
Customers are able to order items online, pick them up in store or have them delivered to their home (sometimes in select markets in under an hour). In these locations, this has completely changed the way shoppers view buying online. It has brought the in-store experience, including the assortment of items, to the customer’s doorstep. Retailers have rightly enabled these “table-stakes” capabilities, and true to form have used price as the lever (e.g. Free shipping, and free returns in many cases) to try to persuade customers to buy from them and not Amazon or a traditional competitor.
Price, while important, is not the absolute driver of market share. Quality, Selection, and Service are some of the other influencing factors. These contribute to the contextual understanding of why the customer is shopping in the first place. By leveraging analytics and enabling customer feedback through chat or newer technologies, retailers can better understand the urgency and expectations of their customers. Also, they can then tune the actual fulfillment to a win-win by enabling the product to be picked up in a store, or fulfilled from a store location of the customer’s preference. This offers both speed through proximity, and reduces shipping costs for the retailer.
Additionally, if the store inventory is RFID-enabled, this is also a profit creator for retailers by opening a larger pool of shipping possibilities. This reduces the likelihood of disappointing the customer through increased visibility of in-store product, and increased precision of exactly where that last unit is, not to mention its intended transaction or destination. A win for the retailer through improved margins, and a customer experience win in parallel!
At Capgemini, we help our clients determine which fulfillment capabilities best meet the expectations of their customers. Also, we help them leverage analytics and insights to orchestrate their orders so that they win in today’s retail climate – profitably!