Shopping in clothing storeWe all remember UPS’s epic delivery fail of 2013 Christmas. While they cite the weather, and the shortened time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, what really happened was a failure in their supply chain technology.

Eventually the mishap will be forgiven. However, it has heightened retailers’ attention around the increasingly complex supply chain they must now manage in order to stay competitive.

Traditional supply chain management solutions no longer fit the needs of retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers. The shopper is now in control; demanding customized products, a single and consistent brand experience. This puts the retailer in a very sticky situation. With these demands retailers must be prepared to offer more product choices, ship even quicker than before, all while maintaining margins.

But, it must be done. Because according to Tom Redd, also known as Mr. Retail, in the video below, “Everything has to do with, ‘How do we get the product to the shopper?…Because, if a retailer can have the experience down, but if the product is not in store, that is a lost sale.’”

How do you do this successfully?

The journey begins way before the actual doorstep delivery. In order to successfully reach the customer you must have a unified omni-channel experience with an integrated supply chain. A single platform, where everything from your customer experience management, to your order management, to your content, is the only option to survive in the future.

The single platform approach will allow retailers to keep their data in a central repository. From this they will have an end-to-end site line on everything their customer is doing. Giving them the capability to make decisions and adjustments in real-time so if anything could hurt the customer experience, there is a system in place with the means to divert disaster.

This platform should also have real time visibility. This gives retailers visibility into supply and demand and creating the opportunity to improve forecasting and production operations.

Check out this video below with blogger Jim Fields and Mr. Retail himself as they discuss how important it is for the experience to be unified on both the front and backend.