Customer experience standards set by e-commerce giants like Amazon and eBay necessitate the enhancement of order fulfillment processes to ensure customer satisfaction and increase loyalty. While there are reservations about omni-channel’s potential to drive profitability, intelligent omni-channel order management and fulfillment processes are proving to be worthy investments for organizations wishing to meet heightened customer expectations while containing their cost-to-serve. In fact, Aberdeen’s research shows that Best-in-Class companies are 50% more likely to be using an Omni-channel Order Management system when compared with All Others.

Most companies now have a need for omni-channel order management capabilities. Because of the pressures placed on businesses by the empowered consumer, direct-to-customer deliveries are made from all levels in the supply chain. Most fulfillment models involve multiple shipping points and channel partners that may shift as demand fluctuates across channels. Having visibility into inventory across all locations is a critical requirement to compete in the current market, and an omni-channel order management solution simplifies the challenge greatly for any organization that has more than one location and/or shipping point. It stands to improve profitability, reduce or contain cost-to-serve, increase order timeliness and accuracy for consumers, and aid in optimizing or reducing overall levels of inventory for businesses.

Visibility drives omni-channel success. While the top pressure facing all retailers is the need to improve profitability, Best-in-Class retailers approach this challenge differently. In fact, Best-in-Class companies are 10% more likely to prioritize increasing inventory visibility, and twice as likely to focus on improving direct-to-consumer replenishment and delivery. Through increased visibility, organizations can reduce stock-outs; increase inventory accuracy and turn; and minimize order fulfillment and transportation costs, while ensuring customer satisfaction through expediency in order fulfillment. Its importance is heightened for brick-and-mortar operations because of fulfillment constraints that e-commerce organizations can circumvent, so the failure to invest in such a strategy could be the nail that seals brick-and-mortar’s coffin.