The State of Omni-Channel Commerce Fulfillment

By Chris Cunnane

ARC Report Abstract

Omni-channel commerce is all about the convergence of channels to provide a unified brand experience for the customer. Each channel has its own experiences, advantages, and challenges. The key is to connect the business processes and technology to create a holistic brand experience. This requires maintaining control over the customer experience at all stages in the buying lifecycle: before, during, and after the sale.

Ensuring product availability across all channels of operation involves a lot of planning from both the technology and process standpoints, with a keen eye on integrating the "brick and mortar" and e-commerce experiences. E-commerce growth is fueling the global economy and shows no sign of slowing down. Companies that can align their channels, share inventory, and fulfill customer orders in a timely and cost-effective manner will be the ones still standing at the end of the day. Unfortunately, too many companies do not have technology or processes aligned and are in danger of becoming obsolete.

Today's customer wants one thing, and one thing only – the product. And, they want it when and how it is most convenient for them. This puts more emphasis on enabling technology to pull inventory from multiple locations to best serve the customer. It also places an increased focus on the "last mile," the customer's last experience with the brand during the buying lifecycle.

Key findings include:

  • A technology gap still exists. Too many companies are not investing in the enabling technologies that make omni-channel fulfillment a reality. Instead they are offering a disjointed experience to their customers;
  • E-commerce continues to grow. Survey respondents anticipate e-commerce revenues to grow 42 percent over the next five years. And they are making sure their distribution centers (DCs) are ready to handle the boom;
  • Inventory is still not shared across channels to the level it needs to be. In fact, only 63 percent of survey respondents indicate they are sharing inventory across channels. This means that customers are not able to get the product they want, when they want it, leading to de-creased customer loyalty and increasing customer turnover.


Table of Contents

  • Executive Overview
  • The Omni-Channel Experience
  • Research Findings
  • Omni-Channel Technology
  • Recommendations


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Keywords: Omni-Channel Fulfillment, E-Commerce, Distribution Centers (DCs), ARC Advisory Group.



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