If there were ever a genuinely Herculean task facing operations and IT managers in retail today, it must be the creation and maintenance of an omnichannel environment that ticks all the necessary boxes: preservation of the highest quality customer experience, reasonable costs, high levels of reliability in fulfillment, and a reliable nurturing of the company's brand.
Tasks to provide omnichannel
In a previous article on these pages, we looked at some of the choices facing managers tasked with providing omnichannel, either from scratch or the updating of existing systems. In many cases, companies are looking at seven-figure bills to piece together an omnichannel retail strategy that would take at least twelve months to put into action. That type of commitment is largely impractical, both in terms of cost and time.
Some retailers choose to use discrete marketplaces to handle operations, but this comes with big costs: a large cut in income (up to 30 percent from some marketplace platform sites), along with the lack of control over customer experience and loss of customer data.
In an ideal world, there would be an existing worldwide distribution network that could handle every aspect of logistics and fulfillment -- one that also comes with a technology front-end, ready to both plug into the existing IT stack. This perfect solution would be ready to go, serving multiple e-commerce sites, applications and able to work with both virtual and brick-and-mortar store systems.
A complete complete with a transparent and low-cost per-item price
Imagine if such a solution was available, complete with a transparent and low-cost per-item price tag – and ready to roll worldwide in as little as eight weeks.
Battle-hardened retail professionals may be surprised to learn that such a solution exists -- with IT already in place, ready to provide the metrics and inputs companies need for their own operational needs.
The distribution and order management system from logistics company GEODIS (many of you may already be well-acquainted with the provider) does just those things that operations executives need. Its proven agility over the years in fulfillment and distribution is well chartered in all aspects of logistics right down to last-mile deliveries. GEODIS has now made its IT systems open to businesses, providing a single frame of reference for order management, integrated inventory oversight, distribution networks, and much more.
The services on offer can be entirely bespoke, and charging policies are made clear in advance, comprising a fixed monthly fee, plus a variable per-item charge. That includes packing, distribution, storage, delivery, down to the detailed needs that define a company's customer experience and brand values. GEODIS's solution works from a single dashboard right across its platform, providing the information for customer service representatives, operations staff, and marketing personnel: your brand values are cared for by experts who are 100% transparent in everything they do, thanks to the powerful IT overlay on tap.
The IT stack in retail businesses today is extensive
It represents significant investments of money and resources, so being offered a nuke-and-pave option for any new system just isn't feasible. The emphasis must be on interoperability between logistics and fulfillment, order sourcing rules, customer support, and warehousing -- in short, an open "omni-exchange" of data in standard formats and via secure methods. The GEODIS IT solution offers a wide range of API options, with connections for many common applications and services built in. Integrations can be handled in partnership with GEODIS or with any level of autonomy. There will be outlier cases requiring particular attention (when ERPs have been heavily customized, for instance), and guidance and proactive support from GEODIS tech is always available.
For operations directors, the breadth of the GEODIS network (physical and digital) creates new opportunities that would otherwise have required long project planning and development stages. With the capabilities of GEODIS worldwide ready to be leveraged in as little as a couple of months, even moving blue-sky projects forward is practical and easily attainable.
To learn more about how the GEODIS IT and fulfillment solution can be deployed to expand your retail horizons, get in touch with the company's e-Commerce experts.